Hudson Valley Quintet (2010)
Hudson Valley Quintet is a multi-media piece for live acoustic woodwind quintet, a CDTape of sound design and music including natural sounds from the ocean, NY Harbor and Hudson River Valley environment. Mr. Kaufman also created the visual images: scenes from both natural images and the art of Ken-Cro-Ken and Alice Cotton. To compose the work, Chris assembled hundreds of natural sounds, many from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Macaulay Library – the world’s largest archive of animal sounds and video.
Quintet of the Americas planned a very special program for it’s 30th anniversary season in New York, 2009-2010. The Quintet’s anniversary coincided with the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s first sail up the Hudson River and a program of new commissions and works by composers who lived in the Hudson Valley were asked to connect music to nature and to the 400 years of change in the Valley. The Quintet’s project was called the Mannahatta Project and was inspired by the Mannahatta project of Dr. Eric Sanderson and the Wildlife Conservation Society. Not limited to Manhattan, the music the Quinte commissioned celebrated the whole Hudson Valley. For this special celebration, Quintet of the Americas is commissioned three works: Christopher Kaufman’s Hudson Valley Quintet, Robert Deemer’s Manhattan Windows, and a programmatic work by Mark Dancigers.
Mr. Kaufman wrote:
Hudson Valley Quintet would be the third and most notable example of my ‘Naturemusic series’ in which human politics, nature, eastern and western music and philosophy, classical form and improvisation, live music and electronic synthesis are combined. This music is inspired by the work of environmental leaders who I admire. It is a celebration of the beauty of our planet and states a message concerning environmental preservation.
Hudson Valley Quintet was scored for woodwind quintet and tape (CD) of Western/Eastern orchestra, electronic and natural sounds and films of natural imagery. Duration of work: approx. 15’- 17’. The music incorporates sounds drawn from wildlife which presently live in the Hudson Valley ecosystem and creatures now extinct from the area.
The video performance may be viewed here:
Information on the Mannahatta Project which provided inspiration to the composers and was a source for showing the change of the Valley as well as details of Manhattan. Dr. Sanderson mapped the ecology of Manhattan Island as it would have been in 1609. Using maps, diaries, other original source materials from early Hudson River explorers and military, and the Muir Web ( a computer program,) Dr. Sanderson created and reconstructed the environment Henry Hudson and his men would have seen. The natural environment of the land surrounding the river of that day (plants, animals, geology and native peoples) and its change to today was our theme for the composers. More information on the WCS Mannahatta Project is at this site:
Chris Kaufman collaborated with artist Ken-Cro-Ken for some of the visuals in Hudson Valley Quintet. Ken Cro-Ken is known internationally as an environmental artist and lecturer. A graduate of San Diego State where he was greatly influenced by the conceptual artist Robert Morris, and British abstractionist Robert Bradford. Ken received a Masters of Artdegree from New York University where he studied with sculptor, John Torreano and art historian Saul Ostrow. He received The Centennial Award for scholastic achievement while at NYU. He has had exhibitions in Auckland and Christ Church, New Zealand; Linz, Austria; Budapest, Hungary; Boston, Massachusetts; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Long Island, Manhattan & D.U.M.B.O./Brooklyn, New York; Santa Barbara, San Diego, San Francisco, California; Washington D.C.; Chatham, New Jersey and St. Petersburg, Florida. He lectured at the Heckscher Museum in June, 2008 in connection with his solo exhibition “Reactive Improvisations – A Balance Between the Inner and Outer Self.” He has also presented time released performances with the electro/acoustic trio FirstAVEnue with both live and pre-recorded KC-K Videos projected with the Space/Time music of FirstAVEnue. Based in Manhattan for over twenty years, Mr. Cro-Ken passed in 2021. He often worked at his outdoor studio in the East Village and painted in all weather conditions. He wrote “Soon after finding my unconventional palette it wasn’t long before I realized that there was no need to go to nature because nature is all around us. When I am working indoors I am no less an environmental painter because a hot, cold, wet and dry day effect a paint experiment. Personally, lineI love summer but professionally I am most excited with below freezing paintings that suspends an experiment over greater periods of time. The same paints, ingredients andmovements will produce very different visual results if painted in different places and seasons. If it’s snowing in Manhattan and I’m in town, I am bundled up in many layers and on the roof, setting below freezing paint experiments into motion and video documenting the ‘paint happening’.” More information on his work may be viewed at www.kencroken.com .
More on Chris at: