On Thursday, November 10, 2022 at 7pm, composer and instrumentalist Ben Neill will present his immersive electronic opera Fantini Futuro at Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, located at 261 Mott Street in New York. This one night only performance also acts as the premiere of the opera’s full presentation, as well as a benefit for restoring the church’s historic organs. Tickets range from $20 to 30 before processing fees, and are available at Eventbrite: http://bit.ly/fantini22

Created by Ben Neill for the Mutantrumpet (his self-designed electro-acoustic instrument), countertenor, Baroque keyboards, and interactive video projections, this fantastical piece is based on the music and life of early Baroque trumpeter/composer Girolamo Fantini. Fantini himself was responsible for bringing the trumpet indoors from the hunt and the battlefield to the realm of art music. Here, using an array of interactive technologies, Fantini is depicted as a traveler through space and time through a synthesis of early music, minimalism, and digital media performance. His translocation of the trumpet from outside to inside is mirrored and reimagined by the futuristic Mutantrumpet V4, which extends the acoustic instrument into the virtual realm.

Including Neill, this interactive performance features GRAMMY-nominated countertenor Ryland Angel, and Gwendolyn Toth, director of the early music ensemble ARTEK, and recognized as one of America’s leading performers on early keyboard instruments. Bob McGrath of Ridge Theater directs. Technical support for the performance has been provided by Eastern Connecticut State University and Ramapo College of New Jersey.
Co-produced with ARTEK, Fantini Futuro was awarded a New York State Council on the Arts grant in Film and New Media in 2022. A 2020 demonstration video of the Mutantrumpet V4, which made its debut in Fantini Futuro, received over 800,000 views on social media and was shared thousands of times.

Composer/performer BEN NEILL (benneill.com) is the inventor of the Mutantrumpet, a hybrid electro-acoustic instrument, and is widely recognized as a musical innovator through his recordings, performances and installations. Neill’s music blends influences from electronic, jazz, and minimalist music, blurring the lines between digital media and acoustic instrument performance.

Neill has recorded twelve albums of his music on labels including Universal/Verve, Thirsty Ear, Astralwerks, and Six Degrees. Performances include BAM Next Wave Festival, Big Ears Festival, Lincoln Center, Whitney Museum of American Art, Bing Concert Hall at Stanford, Getty Museum, Cite de la Musique Paris, Moogfest, Spoleto Festival, Umbria Jazz, Bang On A Can Festival, ICA London, Istanbul Jazz Festival, Vienna Jazz Festival, and the Edinburgh Festival, among many others. Neill has worked closely with many musical innovators including La Monte Young, John Cage, John Cale, Pauline Oliveros, Rhys Chatham, DJ Spooky, David Berhman, Mimi Goese, King Britt, and Nicolas Collins. A long time associate of minimalist pioneer La Monte Young, Neill leads concerts of La Monte Young’s The Second Dream of the High Tension Stepdown Line Transformer with an international brass ensemble and performs with Young in the Theater of Eternal Music Ensemble.
Neill began developing the Mutantrumpet in the early 1980s. Initially an acoustic instrument (a combination of 3 trumpets and a trombone combined into one), he collaborated with synthesizer Robert Moog to integrate electronics. In 1992, while in residency at the STEIM research and development lab for new instruments in Amsterdam, Neill made the Mutantrumpet fully computer interactive. In 2008 he created a new version of his instrument at STEIM, and returned there in 2016-17 to design Version 4.0 which made its debut 2019 with Fantini Futuro. “Ben Neill is using a schizophrenic trumpet to create art music for the people.” -Wired Magazine

Countertenor RYLAND ANGEL (rylandangel.com) is a GRAMMY-nominated artist with over 70 recordings of works by composers ranging from Bach, Händel, Monteverdi and Purcell to contemporary composers such as Gregory Spears and Tarik O’Regan to his credit. Angel is also in demand by opera companies and orchestras worldwide. From the English National Opera, Opéra National de Paris and the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona to the New York City Opera and Opera Theatre of St. Louis, he has received acclaim for his “gleaming countertenor” and “aching sensitivity.” Angel has also created roles in many world premieres including Spears’ Wolf in Skins (Philadelphia), the title role in Tesla in New York written by Phil Kline and the film director Jim Jarmusch at Hopkins Center, Dartmouth. Angel composed the score and sang the title track of the Warner Bros documentary film The Mystery of Dante. He also features on the film soundtracks of Le Petit Prince, La Peau, Henry 4th, Machete, and the PBS TV special Heavenly Voices.

GWENDOLYN TOTH (artekearlymusic.org/about/artists) is one of only a few American conductors of historical performance ensembles and orchestras. Currently, she is the director and founder of New York City’s virtuoso period instrument ensemble ARTEK. Ms. Toth has also conducted at Sadler’s Wells Theater inLondon with the Mark Morris Dance Group; the Skylight Theater in Milwaukee; Kaye Playhouse, Merkin Hall, and BAM in New York City, and for the German Radio Broadcasting system. She is recognized as an outstanding performer on early keyboard instruments, performing in early music festivals in Boston, Utrecht, Holland; and the Czech Republic and on radio networks in Holland, Germany, France, and America’s National Public Radio. Her discography includes a CD of Bach’s Goldberg Variations on the lautenwerk, and a CD of organ works by Heinrich Scheidemann on the meantone organ in Zeerijp, Holland. In contemporary music, Ms. Toth has worked and recorded with eminent composer/performers such as John Cage, Rhys Chatham, Petr Kotik, Dave Soldier, Louis Andriessen, and Elliott Sharp at BAM Next Wave Festival, The Kitchen, Bang on a Can Festival, Cage Nachttage in Koln, and others.

Director BOB McGRATH (ridgetheater.org) is Co-Founder and Director of Ridge Theater. Mr. McGrath has directed theater, opera and ballet at venues including BAM, LA Opera, Lincoln Center, American Repertory Theater, Carnegie Hall, BRIC, Kimmel Center-Verizon Hall with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Krannert Center, Vineyard Theater, Arts at St. Ann’s, La MaMa E.T.C. and The Kitchen. His direction abroad includes Queen Elizabeth Hall (London), Cite de la Musique (Paris), Muziekebow (Amsterdam), Oi Casa Grande Theater (Rio de Janeiro) and De Singel (Antwerp). Bob has collaborated with composers, writers and conductors including John Adams, Gavin Bryars, Joseph Budenholzer, Mark Dion, Ben Katchor, Philip Glass, Michael Gordon, Neil LaBute, David Lang, Warren Leight, Mark Mulcahy, Ben Neill, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR), Susan Sontag, Robert Spano, DJ Spooky, Mac Wellman, and Julia Wolfe. McGrath has been awarded three OBIE awards for Direction, Best Production, and Sustained Achievement.
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