inti figgis-vizueta: new cosmologies (2020, Copland House CULTIVATE commission)

Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 5pm EDT

Performed by Music from Copland House
(Pala Garcia, violin; Alexis Pia Gerlach, cello; Margaret Kampmeier, piano)


Notes from the composer

I see fundamental connections between the improvisatory and interpretative processes in my music and the formation of new, imagined histories of Indigenous peoples. I think violence lives in our bones and our blood, and we still feel remnants from the first settlers to murder and poison our ancestors. Imagining a future for us means imagining a past separate from the settler-colonialism that killed so many of our mythologies and stories. When I think about Steve Mackey’s piece Indigenous Instruments, I think about the power of a white man’s imagination, the power of being able to conjure into being a New Indigenous peoples, not ravaged by genocide. I imagine the power of being celebrated, featured, and written about for it. Perhaps it’s just a small piece in the scheme of things, but I can’t shake how much that piece radicalized me to tell my own stories, to imagine new pasts and futures, and to fundamentally understand that white people gain their power from stealing our traditions and knowledges, our proximity to the divine, the cosmological, and the truth.


About inti figgis-vizueta

The music of New York-based inti figgis-vizueta focuses on various notational schemata, disparate and overlaid sonic plans, and collaborative unlearning of dominant vernaculars. She often creates through the lens of personal identities, braiding a childhood of overlapping immigrant communities and Black-founded Freedom schools (in Chocolate City, DC) with Andean heritage and a deep connection to land(s). One of JACK Quartet’s inaugural Studio artists, and a winner of National Sawdust’s Hildegard Competition, she has been featured in the American Composers Orchestra’s Underwood New Music Readings, and participated in the Mizzou International Composer’s Festival. She loves reading poetry, particularly Danez Smith and Joy Harjo, and honors her Quechua grandmother, who was the only woman butcher on the whole “plaza central” and used to fight men with a machete.


About Music from Copland House

Hailed by The New Yorker as “bold,” “adventurous,” and “superb,” MUSIC FROM COPLAND HOUSE offers ear-opening, mind-expanding experiences gathered from its journeys across 150 years of America’s vast musical landscape. Whether celebrating classic or forgotten voices from the nation’s past, or reveling in established or rising artists from the present, this wide-ranging American repertory ensemble creates memorable and richly diverse narratives in sound, linking music to the wider worlds from which these works emerged. “Illuminating essential truths about the music” (The New York Times), MCH has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR, Euro-Radio, and other major media; and engaged by Tanglewood, the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Smithsonian Institution’s Freer Gallery of Art, Library of Congress, University of Chicago, Monday Evening Concerts in Los Angeles, and the Caramoor, Bard, Ecstatic, Bowdoin, and SONiC Festivals. It also records for the Arabesque, Koch International, and COPLAND HOUSE BLEND labels. Called “one of the leading champions of contemporary music” (Louisville Weekly), the ensemble presents two mainstage concert series in Westchester County, NY (now in its 12th season), and at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (in its 2nd season). Inspired by Copland’s peerless, lifelong advocacy of American composers, MCH presents a wide variety of educational and community outreach activities. Launched in 1999 by flutist Paul Lustig Dunkel, clarinetist Derek Bermel, violinist Nicholas Kitchen, cellist Wilhelmina Smith, and pianist Michael Boriskin, MCH boasts a stellar roster of Founding, Principal, and Guest Artists, of whom, The Chicago Tribune raved, “Copland would have been proud of all of them.”


About Cultivate

CULTIVATE, now in its 10th season, is Copland House’s flagship annual emerging composers institute, directed by Grammy-nominated composer-clarinetist Derek Bermel. Embracing exploration, process, and community, this weeklong, all-scholarship creative workshop and mentoring program is an important destination on the early-career paths of gifted young composers of all artistic and personal backgrounds and identities. Linking creation, performance, and education, Copland House commissions six CULTIVATE Fellows to compose a short new chamber piece that is the heart of their work during an intensive week of rehearsals, workshops, discussions, and other individual and collective sessions with Bermel, the Music from Copland House ensemble, and prominent, visionary arts leaders. The institute concludes with public concerts where all the new works are premiered and filmed for delayed telecast. CULTIVATE is also a portal for additional performance, recording, commissioning, and other career-development opportunities.

Support for CULTIVATE 2020 and Cultivated Spaces comes the ASCAP and BMI Foundations, Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, Friends of Copland House, Jandon Foundation, and NewMusicUSA.  Additional program support comes from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Amphion Foundation, ArtsWestchester, the National Endowment for the Arts, and New York State Council on the Arts. Donate to CULTIVATE.


inti figgis-vizueta – Copland House Cultivated Spaces [4.13.2021]