Newspeak is an eight member amplified ensemble originally organized by David T. Little in 2001 in Ann Arbor, then reformed in New York in 2004 with Clarinetist Eileen Mack. Named after the though-limiting language in George Orwell’s 1984, Newspeak explores the grey area where art and politics mix. Through their programming, performances, and commissions, they seek to reconsider, redefine, and ultimately reclaim the notion of socially engaged music and its place in contemporary society. Embedding elements of a rock band into a classical new music ensemble, Newspeak confronts the boundaries between the classical and the rock traditions.
Soldier Songs is an evening-length multimedia event from composer David T. Little that combines elements of theater, opera, rock-infused-concert music, and animation to explore the perceptions versus the realities of the Soldier, the exploration of loss and exploitation of innocence, and the difficulty of expressing the truth of war. Music can be easily co-opted to serve a political or ideological message or it can equally be a vehicle for reflection, engagement, and emotional connection, as is seen in this gripping music-theatre work. Soldier Songs is a production of Beth Morrison Projects.
Based on a short story by Judy Budnitz, Dog Days is a contemporary opera that investigates the psychology of a working class American family against a not-so-distant-future wartime scenario. A collaboration with librettist Royce Vavrek, this black comedy asks: is it madness, delusion, or human / animal instinct that guides us through severely trying times? Where exactly is the line between animal and human? At what point must we give in to our animal instincts merely to survive? Scenes from Dog Days was commissioned by Carnegie Hall through The Weill Music Institute, and an expanded version was featured in New York City Opera’s 2010 VOX program. The completed work was commissioned by Peak Performances in Montclair, NJ in association with Beth Morrison Projects. It will be premiered in September 2012, in a production directed by Robert Woodruff.
Newspeak logo by Peter Wise.
New Music Bake Sale is an annual event co-sponsored by Newspeak which is designed to bring together the remarkably diverse New York new music community. It provides both a structure in which each participating group can increase knowledge about their activities, and an opportunity to raise funds through the sale of merchandise and goods, and through an silent auction, on-going throughout the evening. The New Music Bake Sale recognizes that there is a lot more new music in the city than an individual could ever possibly take in. In this it brings the new music to the audience–and thus brings a new audience to the music–in the spirit of community-building and camaraderie. Little served as project manager for this event from 2008-2010.
Soldier Songs photo by Jill Steinberg.
John Kelly and Lauren Worsham in Dog Days, photo by James Daniel
New Music Bake Sale cookie by Amy Mack.