August 2014 Convention
Chicago, IL

Flute-Lover’s Luncheon with Clair Chase

Claire Chase


Claire Chase—whose name seems to be synonymous with cutting-edge, innovative, adventurous music—drew an excited crowd to the Hilton Grand Ballroom on August 9. I could feel the palpable energy, both in Chase’s playing and in the audience. Accompanied by sound engineer Levy Lorenzo, Chase played from memory an hour-length program of atmospheric, sound-bending, new music by Pauline Oliveros, Marcos Balter, Felipe Lara, and Mario Diaz de Leon and book-ended her program with ground-breaking, now standard works by Steve Reich and Edgar Varèse. The hall was darkened with Chase in the spotlight as she performed without pausing for applause between works. Instead, while Chase prepared for the next piece, Lorenzo filled the space with eerie electronic manipulations of sound. These sound tapestries built moments of reflection into the program that allowed me to consider what had just happened—how that related to what came before—and to (attempt to) prepare for what was to come. Without applause, the music had an opportunity to completely infiltrate the moment. In the end, Claire’s recital was what I expected it would be: innovative and adventurous.

Claire Chase speaking at the Flute Lover's Luncheon

—Catherine Ramirez

photos by Brian Covington