Wooden Cities | contemporary music ensemble


Our 2016-17 Season features a collaboration with musicologist, James Currie, concert residencies at Buffalo State and Houghton Colleges, and an Improvisation workshop with the Youth Orchestra of Bucks County (Philadelphia). Check back often as more shows will be added soon. For an archive of past performances click here.

Wooden Cities
October 27, 2016
Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center
Examples of Excess
Wooden Cities collaborates with James Currie, a well-known musicologist currently teaching at the University at Buffalo, to create a performance piece around a lecture on music, philosophy, and critical theory.

Both tragic and comic at the same time, Examples of Excess explores the excesses (emotional, political, and sexual) that haunt the fringes of our seemingly normal, day-to-day professional activities. Although the piece was not composed with any particular political agenda in mind, it is nevertheless pervaded by a sense of the extraordinary instability of the world we now inhabit and the resultant fragility of the professional roles to which we must therefore strive to conform. Its drama is a seemingly quite mundane affair in which, before an on-stage audience, an academic music historian is introduced, gives a lecture, and then answers some questions. But at every moment excessive emotions, ranging from fury and euphoria to profound despair, explode into its framework. The result is an accumulating sequence of disturbing and hilarious crises in which even the distinction between the lecturer and the music he is supposedly discussing starts to collapse. Like a kid in a candy store, the piece voraciously consumes all and any available performance gestures or clichés so that at its conclusion all that is left is the pleasures that have been gained from the excesses of the performance itself. And perhaps in the world we presently live in, that is the only conclusion to be drawn.

James Currie - Examples of Excess (2006)
  1. Scena ed aria
  2. Scherzo serioso
  3. Finale in the Style of Comic Opera
341 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14202
February 10, 2017
Houghton College Center for the Arts
Cobra @ Houghton
Wooden Cities performs a concert of new and improvisatory works during a residency at Houghton College's Greatbatch School of Music. Program to include John Zorn's Cobra, as well as compositions by Buffalo-based composers.
John Zorn - Cobra (1984)
additional works TBA
April 14, 2017
Buffalo State College: Ciminelli Recital Hall
Women in the Electronic Arts
Wooden Cities caps off a two-day residency at Buffalo State College's Digital Music Production program with a concert of works emphasizing the contribution of female composers in electroacoustic music.
program TBA