Undertale -- Solo video game developer Toby Fox's indie hit Undertale has enchanted a fanbase of nearly 4 million players worldwide through its heartwarming story, quirky characters, and Fox's own trailblazing musical score. Undertale introduces players to a secret world of monsters who were sealed underground long ago with an ingenious twist in perspective: players can resolve each encounter nonviolently rather than through brute force, inviting us to empathize with those most different from ourselves. Featuring original arrangements by AWR Music Director Eric Roth, Undertale is a gathering place where participants meet and interact with their favorite Undertale characters through a musical role-playing adventure, in which their own decisions drive the story in a different direction each night.
WORLD PREMIERE - January 11, 2020, Studebaker Theater, Chicago
One of the most acclaimed video games of the past decade, solo developer Toby Fox's indie hit Undertale has enchanted a fanbase of nearly 4 million players worldwide through its heartwarming story, quirky characters, and Fox's own trailblazing musical score.
AWR Music has also produced the internationally acclaimed Distant Worlds: Music from FINAL FANTASY and A New World: intimate music from FINAL FANTASY. Fifth House Ensemble's previous video game collaboration, Journey LIVE, was lauded by VICE as "combining the best parts of video games and musical theater."
flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, violin, viola, cello, bass, piano, voice, harp, percussion, conductor
You wake alone, surrounded by miles of burning, sprawling desert, and soon discover the looming mountaintop that is your goal. Faced with rolling sand dunes, age-old ruins, caves and howling winds, your passage will not be an easy one. A cloaked avatar, you travel and explore this ancient, mysterious world alone, or with a stranger you meet along the way. While the goal is to get to the mountaintop, the experience is the discovery of who you are, the story of this place, and your purpose.
The Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble (praised by the New York Times for its “conviction, authority and finesse”) teams up with composer Austin Wintory to present an original, interactive live performance of his Grammy-nominated score to the video game Journey. Described as "the most beautiful game of its time" by IGN, critics have called Journey one of gaming's crowning achievements. It is the fastest selling game to date on the Playstation Network.
Never the same each time it is played, Journey is an interactive parable, an anonymous online adventure to experience a person’s life passage and their intersections with others. In this unprecedented collaboration, live musicians respond to the actions of game players in real time on stage.
Length of show: 90-120 minutes
flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, violin, viola, cello, bass, piano, and Alash (vocals, strings, winds, percussion)
Fifth House Ensemble and internationally acclaimed Tuvan throat singing group Alash cross oceans, borders, and musical traditions. The culmination of a cultural- and continent-spanning collaboration that brought FIfth House to Tuva and Alash to the United States, this communal concert will explore how folk music preserves sacred stories through participatory music-making--including new commissions from Grammy-nominated video game composer Austin WIntory and Fifth House’s own Fresh Inc Festival alumnus William Pearson. Join us as we delve into music both deeply familiar and deeply distant, and create brand-new music with us through guided improvisations that place the audience at the center of the action!
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Oitulaash Xeveri - Alash, arr. Eric Heidbreder
Ondar Girls - Alash, arr. Eric Heidbreder
Mezhegei - Alash, arr. Parker Nelson Penderecki
Sextet Kosh-oi and Torgalyg - Alash, arr. Eric Heidbreder
Reindeer Herder’s Song- Alash, arr. Eric Heidbreder
The Amphibian — William Pearson (commissioned for Fifth House and Alash)
New Commission for Fifth House and Alash - Austin Wintory
Sonic Meditation I: "Teach Yourself to Fly" — Pauline Oliveros
Chaghatai - Alash, arr. Parker Nelson
Blurred - Bill Ryan
Time - Hans Zimmer
About Alash Ensemble
Alash are masters of Tuvan throat singing (xöömei), a remarkable technique for singing multiple pitches at the same time. What distinguishes this gifted trio from earlier generations of Tuvan throat singers is the subtle infusion of modern influences into their traditional music. One can find complex harmonies, western instruments, and contemporary song forms in Alash’s music, but it’s their overall sound and spirit that is decidedly Tuvan.
Trained in traditional Tuvan music since childhood, the Alash musicians studied at Kyzyl Arts College just as Tuva was beginning to open up to the West. They formed a traditional ensemble and won multiple awards for traditional throat singing in international xöömei competitions, both as an ensemble and as individuals. At the same time, they paid close attention to new trends coming out of the West. They have borrowed new ideas that mesh well with the sound and feel of traditional Tuvan music, but they have never sacrificed the integrity of their own heritage in an effort to make their music more hip.
Alash first toured the U.S. under the sponsorship of the Open World Leadership program of the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Arts. Since then they have returned many times, to the delight of American audiences. The Washington Post described their music as “utterly stunning,” quipping that after the performance “audience members picked their jaws up off the floor.”
Alash enjoys collaborating with musicians of all stripes. They appear as guest artists on Béla Fleck & the Flecktones’ holiday CD Jingle All the Way (2008), which won a Grammy. The Denver Post remarked, “As electrifying as the Flecktones’ performance was, the band was nearly upstaged by Alash Ensemble.” Alash also enjoys a longstanding musical partnership with the legendary Sun Ra Arkestra, and they have collaborated with musicians across the spectrum, from country to classical to beatboxing.
Beyond performing, Alash has a passion for teaching and promoting understanding between cultures. Their tours often include workshops that introduce Tuvan music to students from primary, middle and high schools, colleges, universities, and music conservatories. Children as young as 8 have learned to throat-sing. As one student exclaimed, “Alash opened my eyes to a whole new world!”
Alash Ensemble // Performance Video // Trailer // Tech Rider
Full Ensemble + Sound Design
At a time when the environment is more threatened than ever with pollution and our life-giving waterways at risk, Fifth House Ensemble traces the life cycle of water from its metaphorical descent from the heavens as rain, to its long journey in streams and rivers informed by conservation experts and ecologists. Featuring a new commission by Fresh Inc Festival alumnus Patrick O’Malley driven by ecological data from Friends of the Chicago River, a new commission by Shawn Okpebholo that celebrates water as a precious resource by transforming it into a musical instrument, alongside music inspired by First Peoples, this program asks what it would mean to return to a sacred conception in which humans are a part of nature rather than beings standing outside of its impact.
During the 2019-2020 season, Fifth House Ensemble will co-create public performances, events, and educational programs with its organizational partners on the project, including Friends of the Chicago River, the American Indian Center, Wild Mile, Chicago Wilderness, the Sierra Club, and the Center for Neighborhood Technology.
John Luther Adams, arr. Alex Goodin — The Wind in High Places
I. Above Sunset Pass
Alexander Miller — Glacier Blue
Brent Michael Davids — In Wisconsin Woods
Mason Bates — Red River
Shawn Okpebholo — Fractured Water (World Premiere)
Patrick O’Malley — Rivers Empyrean (World Premiere)
Austin Wintory, arr. Parker Nelson — Delphinus Delphis from ABZÛ
Kevin Puts — Seven Seascapes
Dan Visconti — Low Country Haze
Beth Bradfish — Interstitial Sound Design
VOICES FROM THE DUST BOWL
flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, violin, viola, cello, bass, piano, guitar, percussion, and Henhouse Prowlers (fiddle, mandolin, bass, banjo, guitar, vocals)
Voices From The Dust Bowl -- In a collaboration with Chicago bluegrass band Henhouse Prowlers, Fifth House Ensemble presents music by living composers that engage American folk music, and explore original arrangements of classic Woody Guthrie songs and forgotten melodies from the Alan Lomax Archive and Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. Voices From The Dust Bowl combines projected images, field recordings, interviews, and a newly composed work by Steve Snowden to create an inspiring performance, highlighting the lasting impact of a pivotal period in American history.
flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, violin, viola, cello, bass, piano
Degenerate Art -- Throughout history, art has maintained the power to threaten the social order. Delving into music that was censored, banned, and propagandized as “degenerate,” 5HE sheds new light on works by artists facing oppression under oppressive regimes including Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and the dark days of McCarthyism herein the USA. Fifth House Ensemble collaborates with the American Civil Liberties Union, Holocaust Community Services, Spertus Institute, Artists at Risk, Unsilence, the Guild Literary Complex, the University of Chicago, and street art collective CMK to share and illuminate poignant historical and present day stories of artists from around the world. New interviews and documentary-style tales from history interact with graffiti painting set to music written in concentration camps and in defiance of powerful regimes.
flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, violin, viola, cello, bass, piano, guitar, percussion
Living Language -- Fifth House Ensemble and Grammy-winning classical guitarist Jason Vieaux team up to create a sonic journey ranging from centuries-old music to modern day works. Inspired by the fact that every culture of the world has a version of the guitar, the program connects faraway times and places in over an hour of continuous music, using audio interludes to conjure vivid atmospheres that morph into each new composition. Dan Visconti’s guitar concerto, Living Language, serves as the centerpiece of the program and showcases a multitude of styles from Medieval plainchant to blues, rock, and Latin dance music. Fifth House and Jason Vieaux use the varied genres on display in Living Language as a jumping off point for a stunning program of chamber and solo works from all around the world.
flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, violin, viola, cello, bass, piano
Unchained Melodies is a new modular chamber work with a contemporary twist that evokes the contrapuntal rigor of medieval music and the crafty puzzles of J.S. Bach. The composition is a collection of ten 10-minute solo pieces that can be combined in endless permutations ranging from duos all the way up to full dectet (flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon, violin, viola, cello, bass, piano). Expanding upon the chamber version for core dectet, Unchained Melodies can also be performed with massed forces of an indeterminate number of musicians or as a concerto with orchestra in which Fifth House Ensemble soloists lead sections of instruments. The work’s extreme adaptability works especially well for educational programs and community engagement events that benefit from flexible instrumentation, and opens up myriad possibilities of side-by-side performances, educational activities, and large-scale, multi-venue performance initiatives.
A statement from composer Dan Visconti:
Such a project allows me to truly stretch my craft and imagination as a composer. My goal is to create a new system of notation that will enable a satisfying and intellectually engaging musical performance in any form—an extension of the core principle of chamber music that all voices must contribute and that all are essential in shaping a musical dialogue. Unchained Melodies is a work designed to yield performances as diverse and varied as the performers themselves, allowing the musicians to put their own expression and identity to the fore in a way that is not typical for classical music.
Luna de Cuernos
flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn
Luna de Cuernos is a modern interpretation of a Puerto Rican folktale inspired by the true stories of Chicagoans and told through music for woodwind quintet and stunning illustrations by Sarah Becan. It’s the story of a tight-knit group of friends and family under threat, and the risks they will take to defend the garden that is their community’s source of life.
Alexandre Tansman -- Suite pour Trio d'Anches
Mario Lavista -- Cinco Danzas Breves
Miguel del Aguila -- Wind Quintet No. 2 "
Alberto Ginastera -- Duo for Flute and Oboe
Bohuslav Martinů -- Four Madrigals, for Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon, H. 266, selected movements
Jörg Widmann -- Fantasie for Clarinet
Sarah Becan is a prolific comics artist, author, illustrator and designer based in Chicago.
She won a Xeric Award and a Stumptown Trophy for Outstanding Debut for her first graphic novel, The Complete Ouija Interviews, and her work has twice been nominated for the Ignatz Award. She is probably best known for “I Think You’re Sauceome”, an autobiographical webcomic about food, health, and self-image.
Her work has appeared in various publications, including Saveur Magazine, Womanthology, Ladydrawers, and most recently, Cartozia Tales.
Becan’s second and most recent graphic novel, Shuteye: Six Tales of Dreams and Dreamers, was funded with a successful Kickstarter campaign and released in early 2012.
In her spare time, Sarah plays the accordion, and also video games. She lives in Logan Square with two talkative cats and a boy named Niles. For more information about writer & illustrator Sarah Becan, visit her website.
The Association House of Chicago serves a multicultural community by providing comprehensive, collaborative and effective programs in English and Spanish. Through bilingual services for the whole family provided at no cost to participants, Association House promotes health and wellness and creates opportunities for educational and economic advancement.
Since 1899, Association House has worked with Chicagoans who seek tools to lead more productive lives. It is one of the oldest "settlement houses" in Chicago originally designed to provide relief and guidance to new immigrants. Today, Association House is a vital resource to under-served, multicultural communities, providing collaborative programs in English and Spanish. With a staff of over 200 professionals, Association House impacts the lives of nearly 20,000 children, individuals and families each year in the neighborhoods of Humboldt Park, West Town, Logan Square, Avondale, Hermosa, and beyond.
Sarah Becan // Trailer // Performance Video // Tech Rider
violin, cello, piano
Fifth House Ensemble showcases contemporary piano trios by Stacy Garrop, Dan Visconti, Donald Crockett, and Paul Schoenfield. Hear each composer’s unique aural landscape, rich with inspirations of film noir, jazz, pop, and folk songs. Explore how these American composers have captured the wildly diverse musical world of the music of our time.
Stacy Garrop —Silver Dagger
Dan Visconti —Lonesome Roads
Donald Crockett —Night Scenes
Paul Schoenfield —Café Music