The Renaissance Society brings experimental music to Bond Chapel.
The idea of experimental music in Bond Chapel seemed a bit incongruous. In my mind, the Gothic ivy-covered chapel called for tenors, not turntables. Yet on an overcast April Fool’s Day, I attended a Renaissance Society–sponsored concert that included an artist whose instruments were listed as “turntable, spoken word, and assorted devices.” The performers, dubbed Three the Hard Way, included Charlotte Hug on viola, Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello, and Lou Mallozzi on the aforementioned list of unusual instruments.
When the lights dimmed, bathing the chapel in a blue glow from the stained glass and the gray sky, a series of hums, crackles, and pings filled the room. For the next hour or so, the trio created music that was lyrical and soft yet jarring and staccato.
The sounds coming from the strings were often difficult to distinguish from those coming from the turntables—everything somehow blended. Part of the fascination was watching Hug work through her arsenal of bows as Lonberg-Holm used his bow on almost everything but his cello strings and Mallozzi, looking a bit like a mad scientist with gray hair bobbing, manipulated his assortment of devices packed on the black card table.
In spite of my earlier reservations, somehow this music fit in Bond Chapel. Perhaps it was the strings. Perhaps it was the exuberant musicians and the appreciative audience. Or perhaps it was just a matter of being open to something new.
Swiss violist Charlotte Hug, cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, and sound artist Lou Mallozzi perform in Bond Chapel.