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Bearthoven

Artists in Residence

  • Artists In Residence

  • October 2020
  • MASS MoCA

In October we welcomed the piano trio Bearthoven into our studio space to work on the piece “Happy Angry Music.” The trio — Karl Larson (piano), Pat Swoboda (bass), and Matt Evans (percussion) — have close ties to MASS MoCA having first met during one of many Bang on a Can Summer Music Festivals they were all a part of. Returning now, together once again after months of separation, the trio spent the week preparing to record “Happy Angry Music.” Composed for Bearthoven by Adam Roberts, “Happy Angry Music” had its live premiere in 2017, and will now be on an album featuring a collection of works by Roberts. Keep an eye out for its release in summer 2021 on New Focus Recordings.

About the artists
Bearthoven is a piano trio creating a new repertoire for a familiar instrumentation by commissioning works from leading young composers. Karl Larson, Pat Swoboda, and Matt Evans have combined their individual voices and diverse musical backgrounds, coming together to create a versatile trio focused on frequent and innovative commissioning of up-and-coming composers. Bearthoven is rapidly building a diverse repertoire by challenging composers to apply their own voice to an instrumentation that, while common amongst jazz and pop idioms, is currently foreign in the contemporary classical world.

Formed in 2013, Bearthoven has quickly established themselves as a forerunner in the New York City contemporary music scene. Commissioning over 30 new works in their first seven seasons, the trio has created its own diverse repertoire ranging from the driving, post-minimal voices of Michael Gordon, Ken Thomson, and Shelley Washington to the atmospheric and abstracted offerings of Sarah Hennies, Scott Wollschleger, and Anthony Vine. Bearthoven’s commitment to collaboration and innovation has garnered both critical and peer acclaim and has led to featured performances on notable series including the MATA Festival, the Bang On a Can Marathon, the Music/Sound Series at EMPAC, the Princeton Sound Kitchen, and the Ciclo de Conciertos de Música Contemporánea in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The group’s debut album Trios was released on Cantaloupe Music in May of 2017. Their second album, American Dream, features the works of Scott Wollschleger, and was released in February of 2019 on the same label. Spectral Malsconcities, an album of music by Sarah Hennies performed by Bearthoven and the Bent Duo, was released on New World Records in 2020. Bearthoven was recently selected as 1 of 24 ensembles to be a part of the inaugural New Music USA Impact Fund cohort.

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