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Arlene Sierra: New Music With A Buzz

Flutist Claire Chase.
Janette Beckman
/
courtesy of the artist

Over on The Record, our friend and polymathic musical thinker Lara Pellegrinelli has an account of her week spent shadowing the very busy flutist Claire Chase, who is also the founder and executive director of the exciting new-music group the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE).

ICE appears on an intriguing new album of pieces by the American-born, UK-based composer Arlene Sierra, for whom Bridge Records has just begun a multi-volume series. This piece for 14 players from 2008, Colmena, is a buzzing blur of a thing. The effect seems just right, given that the piece's title means "beehive" in Spanish. It also possesses a remarkable brilliance of color, rhythmic dexterity and playfulness, all qualities fully brought out by Chase and her colleagues. Take a listen to Colmena below--and listen to Claire Chase in prominent action.

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Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.