Before and after this performance, at tables around the space, the audience can explore ways to engage and take action with representatives of select organizations and programs working on the climate crisis. As part of this creative collective action, Longy students and faculty will perform a sound installation piece Calling From the Four Corners as the audience wanders through this climate action “science fair” of sorts before being seated for the concert program.
Waking Up! is a 2022 extended work by Eric Hofbauer for the Five Agents ensemble. It is the second suite inspired by the climate emergency for the group. In 2019 the Five Agents premiered and released the suite Book of Water (recording, video) to critical acclaim and attention. Continuing to explore the climate emergency as music narrative, Hofbauer and the group wanted to again use the intersections of composition, improvisation and activism to examine the language of climate activism and its influence on creative collective action.
Waking Up! takes its inspiration, phrase structures, and articulations from the linguistic patterns and rhythms in Greta Thunberg’s 2019 “How Dare You!” speech at the UN climate action summit. There is audible urgency, frustration, anxiety and a host of other nuanced combinations of emotions expressed in Ms. Thunberg’s speech – not just in the meaning of the words but in HOW the words are spoken. Hofbauer’s composition channels these elements into a palette of uneven phrases, unconventional groups of repeated rhythms, and tones that flow from whispers to pointed truncations. The speech patterns, now transformed into melodic narrative serve as launchpads for the Five Agent’s dynamic approach to improvisational collectivity, varied beats utilizing elements from Jazz, Rock and Hip Hop traditions, and surprising electro-acoustic textures. The eponymous “How Dare You!” moment at the conclusion of the piece is appropriately and particularly raucous.
Longy’s Jazz and Contemporary Music (JCM) program provides an open environment in which students experiment and create to find their artistic voice and gain the experience and versatility necessary for success in an ever-changing professional world. Engaging in improvisation, composition, and performance practices, untethered to any one discipline or genre, students will build off the foundations of jazz and explore beyond—to modern contemporary, global folk traditions, bluegrass, Rock, Hip Hop, as well as other popular idioms—to define the music of the now and the future.