Mixing sessions in progress on some new recordings. The transformation and development of Ultra World X-Tet is amazing. We are really looking forward to sharing these sounds with the world.
Ultra World X-Tet was featured in various configurations in concerts at On Lok Lifeways during Fall/Winter of 2015. We are proud to support this organization and the great work they do in the community.
Ultra World X-Tet had a great time performing at Moe's books as part of the Berkeley World Music Festival, June 2015. Wonderful crowd, got to see some old friends and made some new ones. The audience really dug what we were doing. The performance was in the Science Fiction section (!) Winnie was under Isaac Asimov and I was next to Ray Bradbury!
Ultra World X-tet was the featured entertainment on the main stage for the 2014 SF Chinatown AT&T Autumn Moon Festival on Sept. 6, 2014. We truly enjoyed this experience! The Autumn Moon celebration has a history that dates back over 3000 years!!!!! Thank you SF Chinatown for having us. It was an honor to be part of the festival.
And in other news...... on June 13th, 2014 Ultra World X-tet presented the World Premiere performance of our groundbreaking piece "Wise Dreams and Fables of the Sky," inspired by books IX-Xll of Homer's epic "The Odyssey".
You can see photos, video and a review about these performances here....
Wise Dreams and Fables of the Sky is my latest composition inspired by Homer's epic, The Odyssey, Made possible in part by support from the Zellerbach Family Foundation, the piece wil be premiered by Ultra World X-tet June 13, 2014 at Old First Concerts in SF.
Get tickets here: www.oldfirstconcerts.org
Project webpage: http://www.ultraworldxtet.com/wise-dreams.html
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Ultra World X-tet:
Gary Schwantes- saxophones, bamboo flutes, composer
Yangqin Zhao, yangqin (Chinese hammered dulcimer)
Winnie Wong-guzheng (Chinese zither)
Surya Prakasha-drumset, percussion
Craig Baldwin, 16mm film projections
Wise Dreams and Fables of the Sky, composed by Gary Schwantes with 16mm film projections by experimental filmmaker Craig Baldwin, is a multisensory experience that reimagines Homer's epic, The Odyssey.
The piece is inspired by The Odyssey books IX-XII. This is the section of the epic where Odysseus, as a guest of the Phaeacians, recounts the ten-year period of heroic adventures experienced on his zigzag voyage home following the Trojan War, which was fought around 1200 B.C. While not a literal sonic retelling, “Wise Dreams” is faithful to the underlying structure, sequence of actions, situations, and characters.
The unusual instrumentation provides a non-Eurocentric frame of reference, and has much in common with ancient Greek musical practice (we know from paintings and writings that wind, string, and percussion instruments were commonly used in small ensembles). Interestingly, the guzheng and yangqin lend themselves well to the role played by the kithara and the lyre in ancient Greece, and they remind us in a wonderful way that there were other advanced cultures in the world at that time, notably the late Shang Dynasty in China.
From time to time, each musician takes on a more specific role in the drama. For example, you might hear the guzheng play the bittersweet melodies of the Earthly Realm, the bass portray the wounded Cyclops, or the saxophone deliver the prophesies of Tiresias in Hades.
Working with projections is an exciting new direction for us. As the piece took shape, it seemed to call for a more immersive environment than the typical concert presentation, and we are thrilled to have Craig Baldwin handling the 16mm film projections.
Coming June 13th in SF!
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Ultra World X-tet
Wise Dreams and Fables of the Sky
Fri June 13, 2014 8pm
Old First Church
1751 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, CA 94109 | 415.474.1608
Doug Ebert, bass; Surya Prakasha, drumset, percussion; Gary Schwantes, saxophones, bamboo flutes;Winnie Wong, guzheng (Chinese zither); Yangqin Zhao, yangqin (Chinese hammered dulcimer);
Craig Baldwin, 16mm film projections
Hailed as an “extraordinary world class ensemble” by Examiner.com, Ultra World X-tet combines jazz, world, experimental and contemporary concert styles in a pioneering fusion of East and West. A highlight of the evening will be the world premiere of Wise Dreams and Fables of the Sky, composed by Gary Schwantes with 16mm film projections by experimental filmmaker Craig Baldwin. The piece is a multisensory experience that reimagines Homer's epic, The Odyssey.
Don’t miss this exciting cross-cultural experience featuring brand new material, as well as a few favorites from the X-tet repertoire!!
Ultra World X-tet's latest creation, “Wise Dreams and Fables of the Sky" will premier June 13th, 2014. It's a multisensory experience inspired by the Odyssey, composed by Gary Schwantes and featuring visual projections by experimental film icon Craig Baldwin. The Ultra World X-tet line up features Yangqin Zhao, Winnie Wong, Douglas Ebert, Surya Prakasha and Gary Schwantes. More updates soon.
I am excited to announce the release of two new Rising Star Hypnosis Audio Products available for download: "Introducing the Trance Experience" and "Preparing for Important Events".
a FREE streaming "Mini-Session Sampler." The Mini-Session Sampler provides an easy and enjoyable way to sample the audio products while receiving some powerful positive suggestions as a bonus.
For more info: Rising Star Hypnosis Audio Products
With Klezmania! in concert in SF
Wow, it's been a while since my last entry. Time sure flies when you're pursuing the muse.
The last couple of months have been great, with a lot of interesting collaborations and opportunities to meet and work with many talented and interesting people. Some of the the great musicians I've had the privilege to work with: Winnie Wong, Ben Brussell, Dmitry Greenberg, Mads Tolling, Roberto Quintana, Jerry Stucker, Steve Hanson, Rich Kuhns, Eddie Sassin, Carla Kaufman, and many more. It's also been an exciting time for my teaching activities, as I've been doing a lot of it....and loving it!
Summer will be busy and I'm looking forward to great things.
'til next time...........
Ultra World X-tet Duo: Gary Schwantes and Winnie Wong