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Leading International Composers: Andile Khumalo and Ensemble Dal Niente

Chamber Ensemble

Sunday Concert

In-Person Sold Out. Livestream Tickets Available. / Online / In-Person

Virtual Tickets
$15 virtual tickets | $10 members
dal niente andile

For the 2023/24 season of Leading International Composers, Phillips Music presents South African composer Andile Khumalo, who has curated a profile performance of his music with Chicago-based new music collective Ensemble Dal Niente. Ensemble Dal Niente returns to the Phillips following their 2020 portrait of American composer George Lewis, Khumalo’s mentor and teacher at Columbia University.

Khumalo, based in Johannesburg, is known for his immersion in the creative ideas of spectralism: the focus on the acoustic properties of sonic phenomena as a primary source of musical material, over more conventional and historically conditioned understandings of Western melody, harmony, and rhythm. Khumalo has employed the tools and relational ideas of spectralism to mine the vast history of African musics, producing works that often challenge the prevalent understanding of “African” music being driven primarily by rhythmic complexity. Ensemble Dal Niente performs Khumalo’s Beyond Her Mask (2021), Shades of Words (2004), Cry Out (2009), and Iso[R] (2004).

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition African Modernism in America, 1947-67.

Leading International Composers is presented in partnership with the Howard University Department of Music with additional support from the Washington Arts Ensemble.

This event will be broadcast live from the Music Room on Sunday, November 12 at 4 PM. To reserve a ticket, follow the link above to register. All registered ticket holders will receive a link directing them to a livestream webpage where the performance can be accessed. Ticket holders will be able to watch this performance “On Demand” for 48 hours following the broadcast time.

Durban-born composer Andile Khumalo studied composition at Columbia University under the guidance of Tristan Murail,  Fabien Lévy, and George Lewis. His former teachers include Jürgen Bräuninger, Urlich Süße, Fabio Nieder and Marco Stroppa with whom he studied in Stuttgart (Germany) where he got his Masters in Composition.

Khumalo has attended masterclasses in Darmstadt (Germany), Fondation Royaumont (France), and Stuttgart with leading composers of our time such as Salvatore Sciarrino, Stefano Gervasoni, Brian Ferneyhough, and Isabel Mundry.

His music has been performed and presented in different festivals such as New Music Indaba (South Africa), Germany, Royaumont “Voix Nouvelles” (France), International Society of Contemporary Music (Hong Kong), Switzerland, Sweden, Takefu International Music Festival (Japan) and in the United states by ensembles such as Sontonga String quartet, Ensemble Mosaik, Ensemble Baikonur, International Contemporary Ensemble (New York), members of Ensemble Vortex, and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra.

In 2014, Khumalo was featured in Carnegie Hall‘s Ubuntu Festival as part of a concert featuring a selection of new music composers. His music was also featured in the 2013 Festival d’Automne and the Cologne New Music Forum of the same year. Khumalo has been featured at festivals and competitions in South Africa as well. He was the runner-up in the 2006 SAMRO overseas scholarship competition and featured at a number of NewMusicSA‘s New Music Indabas, the Sterkfontein Composers Meeting, and the Grahamstown National Arts Festival.

Passionate about the IAM transcription project, Khumalo worked together with Bernett Mulungo in creating a publishing company, Jiwe publishers, who continue to transcribe new IAM works. Khumalo presently lectures at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

Ensemble Dal Niente is a 22-member Chicago-based contemporary music collective that presents and performs new music in ways that redefine the listening experience and advance the art form. Its programming, brought to life by a flexible repertoire-based instrumentation, creates engaging, inspiring, and immersive experiences that connect audiences with the music of today.

Described as a group of "super-musicians" and noted for its presentation of "bracing sonic adventures by some of the best new-music virtuosos around" (Chicago Tribune), Ensemble Dal Niente’s projects have exhibited an adventurous approach and an uncommon range that reflects the diversity of music in the world today. The ensemble presents a true multiplicity of experiences: large ensemble, chamber music, and solo repertoire from a range of emerging composers and established living artists to the post-World War II avant-garde generation. Dal Niente curates and presents its concert programs in ways that reflect the repertoire’s engagement with our culture and society. Recent and upcoming explorations include the ensemble’s collaboration with the indie-rock band Deerhoof and composer Marcos Balter; an extended visit to Latin America; works by noted trombonist/improviser/composer George Lewis; an East Coast tour of German music; the Hard Music, Hard Liquor concert series and its beloved annual Party. In 2012, Ensemble Dal Niente became the first-ever ensemble recipient of the coveted Kranichstein Music Prize at the Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music.

Recordings of Dal Niente’s interpretations of new and recent repertoire have been released on the New Amsterdam, New Focus, Navona, Parlour Tapes+, and Carrier labels. The ensemble also shares performance videos and discussions with its audience through YouTube and other social media. Dal Niente’s outreach includes educational activities of all kinds, exhibited most commonly in university settings with composition workshops, masterclasses, and performances. The ensemble’s residencies have included work with faculty and students at various universities including Northwestern, Chicago, Harvard, Stanford, Indiana, Illinois, and Western Michigan, among others.

The ensemble's name, Dal Niente ("from nothing" in Italian), is a tribute to Helmut Lachenmann's Dal niente (Interieur III), the revolutionary style of which serves as an inspiration for its musicians. The name also references its humble beginnings -- founded in 2004 by a group of student composers at Northwestern University, the ensemble has risen from obscurity to a position as one of North America's most prominent new music groups.

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