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Seven Limbs

ABOUT THE PROJECT

Composed by Douglas J. Cuomo

Performed by Wilco's Nels Cline (electric guitar with effects, acoustic guitar)
and the Grammy-nominated Aizuri Quartet
An evening length piece with optional projections
Touring February 1 - 14, 2021
Seven Limbs will be a virtuosic tour de force for both the quartet and the guitar, shot through with melodic beauty and rhythmic urgency, celebration and serenity, solemnity and unbridled joy. Juxtaposing Nels’ wildly inventive guitar playing and use of electronic effects with the Aizuri Quartet’s classically based but forward thinking musical outlook, Seven Limbs sets these five expert musicians in a landscape that is slightly unfamiliar - where the ground under their feet is always shifting a bit in unexpected ways. This requires a musical alertness and philosophical openness to whatever the moment brings, an outlook that has parallels to the Buddhist practice of the Seven Limbs.

Inspired by this thinking, the piece creates a world of musical ideas and settings that allow the musicians to explore ideas of meditative tranquility, subtle levels of mind, the battle with inner demons, the circle of karma, and sudden, profound bolts of insight. Nels will be playing electric guitar with effects, and acoustic guitar. His music will be partially notated but largely improvised but following specific direction and guidelines in the score. The Aizuri’s music will be entirely notated, utilizing the full range of techniques, colors and effects available to the 21st century string quartet.

Both strings and guitar are shapeshifters in that the roles of soloist and accompanist will be fluid — at times the guitar will be in front with the string quartet playing a more supportive role, at other times the guitar will conjure a multi-layered and evolving drone-like sonic environment and the strings will step to the fore. There will also be many instances of the when both will be on equal footing, intertwining in a way that make such distinctions moot.
The piece will be a ritual in seven movements, based on the Seven Limbs, which is a fundamental Tibetan Buddhist practice of purification. The limbs are: Prostration; Offering; Confession; Rejoicing; Requesting the Turning of the Wheel of Dharma; Beseeching the Buddhas not to pass away; and Dedication.

Nels Cline appears courtesy of Emcee Artist Management. The Aizuri Quartet appears courtesy of Concert Artists Guild.

PROJECT ARTISTS

Douglas J. Cuomo

Douglas J. Cuomo has composed for the concert, operatic and theatrical stage, a well as for television and film. His expressive musical language, with its arresting juxtapositions of sound and style, is a natural outgrowth of his wide-ranging background and training. A professional guitarist while still in his teens, he alternated years of college – studying jazz, world music and ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University in Connecticut and University of Miami– with years on the road playing in jazz, pop and funk bands.

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Nels Cline

Guitar explorer Nels Cline is best known these days as the lead guitarist in the band Wilco. His recording and performing career — spanning jazz, rock, punk and experimental — is well into its fourth decade, with over 200 recordings, including at least 30 for which he is leader. Cline has received many accolades including Rolling Stone anointing him as both one of 20 “new guitar gods”; and one of the top 100 guitarists of all time. Beyond Wilco, Cline performs in a duo project with guitarist Julian Lage in addition to a quartet, The Nels Cline 4 (featuring Lage plus bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Tom Rainey), collaborates with his partner Yuka Honda as the duo CUP, performs as Stretch Woven with percussionist Scott Amendola, leads The Nels Cline Singers (featuring Amendola plus bassist Trevor Dunn and percussionist Cyro Baptista) and plays with Stained Radiance (an improvisational live project with performance painter Norton Wisdom). Cline also periodically presents concerts of his concept album Lovers, which involves a 17-person ensemble and collaborates dozens of composers/improvisers.

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Aizuri String Quartet

Praised by The Washington Post for “captivating” performances that draw from its notable “meld of intellect, technique and emotions,” the Aizuri Quartet was awarded the Grand Prize and the CAG Management Prize at the 2018 M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition, along with top prizes at the 2017 Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in Japan, and the 2015 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition in London. The Quartet’s debut album, Blueprinting, featuring new works written for the Aizuri Quartet by five American composers, was released by New Amsterdam Records and nominated for a 2019 GRAMMY Award.

Through its engaging and thought-provoking programs, branded by The New York Times as “genuinely exciting” and “imaginative,” the Quartet has garnered critical acclaim for bringing “a technical bravado and emotional power” to bold new commissions, and for its “flawless” (San Diego Union-Tribune) performances of the great masterpieces of the past. In the 2019-20 season the group will tour extensively across North America giving both debut appearances at Lincoln Center and at Carnegie Hall as part of CAG Winner’s Series.

Booking Representation 
by Blu Ocean Arts