DMC Duo Play Chicago

The Devil May Care Duo, comprised of percussionist Caleb Herron and clarinetist Ariana Lamon-Anderson, are in Chicago this week premiering a variety of works as part of a midwest tour. You can hear them along with composer/soprano Jenna Lyle on Thursday, May 17th at the Lillstreet Art Center at 8pm. The concert program is as follows (note - program order may vary):

Increment - Daniel Swilley
Against the Grain - Christopher Fisher-Lochhead
Shake - Jenna Lyle
Mesa - Mischa Salkind-Pearl (recording below)
Mirror Universes 2 - Adam Scott Neal
Arbitrage - Michael Vincent Waller

On Tuesday night, I had the privilege of hearing the DMC Duo premiere Jenna Lyle's Shake, a title that reflects the intense gestural language of the piece, as well as Christopher Fisher-Lochhead's Against the Grain, a highly engaging set of elegant miniatures. Both will be repeated on the Thursday concert.

In advance of this week's events, I recently asked Caleb Herron a few questions:

D.B. What prompted the two of you to start playing together?

C.H. Ari and I met at the Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice at The New England Conservatory in the summer of 2008. We were playing together on Rzewski's Moonrise with Memories. We also met Jenna Lyle that summer as well at SICPP. All three of us hit it off and we hung out a lot that week. Through the year we kept in touch via Facebook and  other media devices. We came back to SICPP in 2009. We had talked about starting a group together (me, ari, and Jenna) and once again kept in touch over Facebook. Something just clicked and we got the name of the group and then we commissioned composers that we knew and wanted to work with and set up concerts. Thus the Devil May Care Duo was born in 2010. For our first group of performances we played in Atlanta, Boston, and New York. Our second tour was on the west coast and we played in San Diego, L.A., and Seattle.

D.B. How much of your programming involves pre-existent repertoire vs. newly commissioned works?

C.H. We almost exclusively perform newly commissioned pieces. There are only two exceptions are Christopher Adler's After This, Nothing and James Romig's Double 3 which are both adaptions in one way or another. We have nothing against preexisting repertoire but feel that we need to find our own voice through new repertoire.

D.B. The DMC Duo site states that your repertoire is "selected from anything we find stimulating." What in particular falls under this classification and how have these various interests influenced your project choices?

C.H. Ariana and I have different tastes in the music we like to perform. I enjoy technical hyper-notated poly-rhythmic music that allows me to grow in that way as a performer while Ariana enjoys finding a more free and lyrical side to music. That being said we both want this group to be a duo (with both parts equally contributing and) not a solo with accompaniment. The phrase "whatever we find stimulating" is a catch-all so that we can move in between different styles of music. Recently, we've both expressed wanting to take the group in a performance art direction. That phrase is there to allow us freedom in the music we choose.

Below is a recording of the DMC Duo playing one of the pieces they are performing on the tour, Mischa Salkind-Pearl's Mesa.