Charlemagne Palestine – Tickets – Constellation – Chicago, IL – March 15th, 2014
Charlemagne Palestine

Frequency Series Presents

Charlemagne Palestine

Sat, March 15, 2014

9:30 pm


Chicago, IL

Sold Out

This event is 21 and over

Charlemagne Palestine
Charlemagne Palestine
The Frequency Series is delighted to present the first Chicago performance by the legendary Charlemagne Palestine in 32 years. His last visit to Chicago came at the invitation of John Cage for New Music America in 1982. Based in Brussels, Belgium, the singular composer, performer, and artist will present a work for piano, voice, and electronics.

In his own words:

"In the sixties I began creating sounds for bells, the voice, pipe organ but most especially for early electronics,,,especially already long sonorities with oscillators and filters (Buchla synthesizers at NYU at the time). Then I was invited to work at the then just beginning California Institute of the Arts and came upon in an empty concrete cube space that would eventually become the Modular Theatre,,,,,a long mosttt beautiful piano with 9 notes lower than any other i had ever seen,,,,,named Bösendorfer of Vienna,,,,!!! When I played it in that room the notes and their overtones created sonorities when I kept down the sustain pedal that were as intricate in their spectral timbre as my electronic investigations on a Buchla but warmer and more seductive and physical like an oscillator could never be,,,,so I fell in love with this instrument and began playing it at Cal Arts while i was there and invented a piece called Spectral Continuum for Bösendorfer that lasted 5 hours and investigated more with arpeggios the amazing resonance and sonorousnesss of this mosttt beautiful instrument,,,then I moved to Nyc and the Kitchen asked me to do this Spectral piece that had become a little legend already in the “scene”,,,,,,,sooo they got me a Steinwayy concert grandd in January 1974 and I started to play the work and after a short hour I stopped and said that I couldn’t continue because the piano had no resonance for the work,,,,,there was a big article the next morning in the New York Times called "Aborted Recital” by John Rockwell that explained that the piece was made for a Bösendorfer Imperial (with the 9 notes extra) and that that Steinway just didn’t resonate!!! Several hours later Steinway telephoned me to say they would never again supply me with one of their pianoss,,,,,,,,2 hours after that a Mr Habig of Kimball International in Indiana and president of Bösendorfer pianos told me that wherever I played in the world from that time on they would supply me with a Bösendorfer,,,,,, which they did for 8 years,,,,during that time I invented another style of playing not “arpeggiated" but “Strummed” by alternating tones back and forth with the fingers of each hand,,,,,,,,and developed about a dozen different permutation and combination pieces using that technique until the beginning of the eighties when I gave up performing to only create Animal Toy sculptures in Europe,,,,, i only again began to perform on the piano at the invitation of several European festivals in the early nineties in Holland, UK, France and Germany!! This time I began to use the "“Strumming”” technique in a different way,,,,,,looser,,,,more lyrical sometimes,,,not rigidly minimal,,,,and began a period of new creations with voice and electronicss and bellls and organsss and pianosss,,,,,but Bösendorfer was no longer sponsoring or following artists as they had done in the seventies and finally sold the company to a Austrian bank that quickly went Bankrupt and then they sold the company several years ago to Yamaha!! Now it’s become almost impossible to get Bösendorfers to play,,,,,at the same time now i’ve begun to amplify the piano in a special way with DPA mini microphones that attach with magnets to the internal metal body of a piano and instead of just electrifying the sound in a metallic rockyrolly artificial way,,,,,,they more Viagrafffy the sound,,,,giving it more presence and an “”erect”" sound than unamplified and bigger and fuller than just acoustic!!! For my Constellation Concert,,,,,i’ll present a piano in the “"Strumming”” technique now “”Viagraffied””” customeddd for the space and place that i’ll be performing innnn,,,,,, and also present a "sound palette” electronic Continuuum choosing from 50 years of my electronic sonorities and soundscape favourites to create a ,,,,,,Charlemagne remixed by Charlemagne,,,,,,,,,and present a vocal ceremonial chant à la Charlemagne in CharleWorld!!!"

Palestine’s performance is part of a series of events during a week-long visit to Chicago, organized by the Frequency Series. On Friday, March 14 he’ll appear at University of Chicago’s Film Studies Center for a screening of his video work programmed by Michelle Puetz. On Sunday, March 16 he’ll be present at the opening reception for an installation at Experimental Sound Studio’s Audible Gallery curated by Amelia Ishmael. And on Monday, March 17 he’ll perform his organ work Schlingen-Blängen at Rockefeller Chapel in a concert presented by the Renaissance Society.


Charlemagne Palestine (born Charles Martin or Chaim Moshe Tzadik Palestine August 15, 1945, or 1947, in Brooklyn, New York) is an American composer, performer, and visual artist. Palestine has studied at New York University, Columbia University, Mannes College of Music, and the California Institute of the Arts.

A contemporary of Philip Glass, Terry Riley, Phill Niblock, and Steve Reich, Palestine wrote intense, ritualistic music in the 1970s, intended by the composer to rub against Western audiences’ expectations of what is beautiful and meaningful in music. A composer-performer originally trained to be a cantor, he always performed his own works as soloist. His earliest works were compositions for carillon and electronic drones, and he is perhaps best known for his intensely performed piano works. He also performs as a vocalist: in Karenina he sings in the countertenor register and in other works he sings long tones with gradually shifting vowels and overtones while moving through the performance space or performing repeated actions such as throwing himself onto his hands.

Palestine's Strumming Music (1974) remains his best-known work. It features over 45 minutes of Palestine forcefully playing two notes in rapid alternation that slowly expand into clusters. He performed this on a nine-foot Bösendorfer grand piano with the sustain pedal depressed for the entire length of the work. As the music swells (and the piano gradually detunes), the overtones build and the listener can hear a variety of timbres rarely produced by the piano. A recording of Strumming Music was also Palestine's second vinyl album in the 1970s, reissued on CD in 1991. Since then, several additional recordings (featuring Palestine on piano, organ, harmonium, and voice) from the 1970s—including new recordings of more recent works such as Schlingen-Blängen—have become available.
Palestine's performance style is ritualistic: he generally surrounds himself (and his piano) with stuffed animals, smokes large numbers of kretek (Indonesian clove cigarettes), and drinks cognac.

Music critic and scholar Kyle Gann named Palestine composer of the month in June 2005
Venue Information:
3111 N. Western
Chicago, IL, 60618