Pneuma

“It’s strange to think that a band of three clarinets and a single voice can conjure up a world of infinite possibilities, but that’s what the Vancouver/Montréal/Seattle/Brooklyn quartet Pneuma delivered in its debut performance of their program “Who Has Seen the Wind?”. With Ayelet Rose Gottlieb’s caramel-rich voice exploring several poetic variations on human experience, instrumentalists James Falzone, François Houle, and Michael Winogrand worked together as one—even as they uncorked everything from klezmer lamentation to out-there sonic surgery. Music this beautiful, intricate, and heartfelt deserves to be celebrated—and treasured.”

— Alexander Varty of The Georgia Straight, Vancouver, BC

PNEUMA (πνεῦμα) is an ancient Greek word for “breath”, “spirit” or “soul”. This new quartet features four improvisers / composers: vocalist Ayelet Rose Gottlieb and clarinetists James Falzone, Francois Houle and Michael Winograd. Pneuma’s sound is kaleidoscopic – many worlds entangled – with extended techniques and layered effects blending with soulfulness and an exposed vulnerability. Jewish-music intertwines with contemporary classical compositions and free-jazz improvisations. Pneuma’s instrumentation is unusual and full of breath, allowing every band member to reimagine their role and find their ground in new and innovative ways.

The quartet zooms in-and-out, shifting perspectives from the very personal to the global, from intimacy to a loud roar. The poetry (sung in English) comes from many corners of the world including Christina Rossetti (UK), Warsan Shire (Somalia / UK), Forugh Farrokhzad (Iran), James Joyce (Ireland), Mayumi Terada (Japan), and Ono no Komachi (9th century Japan). These texts coincide with wordless pieces such as Gottlieb’s “Neither You Nor I”, inspired by a solo by the late bassist Ora Boasson-Horev. Pneuma made their premiere at the 2017 Vancouver International Jazz Festival and their debut album, “Who Has Seen The Wind?” is anticipated for release in Spring 2019 on Songlines Records.

BIOS:

Jerusalem-born vocalist/composer AYELET ROSE GOTTLIEB creates from within the details of every-day life, shedding a musical spotlight on the golden moments hidden in the cracks of the mundane. Currently based in Montréal, Canada, Ayelet performs globally in various collaborations, including “I Carry Your Heart” – with saxophonist Erik Lawrence in tribute to his father and Ayelet’s mentor, Arnie Lawrence; in duo with ECM recording artist Anat Fort, following their 2017 release, “Two More Dreams”; with Mycale a-cappella quartet, founded by John Zorn, and commissioned by him to arrange, perform and record two albums for his legendary “Masada Book II” series. As a composer, arranger,and producer, Ayelet has collaborated with conductor DB Boyko, ETHEL string quartet, installation artist Michelle Jaffe and more. A New England Conservatory graduate, Ayelet identifies as a “third stream” musician. Her distinct sound builds on her Middle-Eastern and European lineage. Improvisation and poetry are at the core of Ayelet’s work, which is deeply rooted in the jazz and blues traditions, expanding into the avant-garde. She has released six albums under her own name on labels such as Tzadik and 482music.

Clarinetist, composer, and improviser JAMES FALZONE is an acclaimed member of the international jazz and creative music scenes, a veteran contemporary music lecturer and clinician, and an award-winning composer who has been commissioned by chamber ensembles, dance companies, choirs, and symphony orchestras around the globe. Educated at Northern Illinois University and New England Conservatory, James is also a respected educator and scholar and has been on the faculty of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Deep Springs College, North Central College, and was a fellow at The Center for Black Music Research. At present James is the Chair of Music at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington. Learn more about James Falzone and his work at his website: www.allosmusica.org

As a soloist and chamber musician, clarinetist FRANCOIS HOULE has appeared at major festivals across Canada, the United States, Europe and Australia. A prolific recording artist he has released over twenty recordings earning multiple Juno Award and West Coast Music Awards nominations. A founding member of such critically acclaimed ensembles as Turning Point and Standing Wave, he has single-handedly expanded the clarinet’s repertoire by commissioning and premiering over 100 new works by many of today’s leading Canadian and international composers. Downbeat magazine referred to him as a “Rising Star” and “Talent Deserving Wider Recognition” and the LA Times wrote he is “a spectacularly versatile clarinetist who appears to have no limitations stylistically or sonically”

Clarinetist MICHAEL WINOGRAD is one of the most respected and versatile working musicians in klezmer music today. Based in Brooklyn, New York, Michael spends much of his time in transit, performing and teaching throughout the world. He is one-third of the transatlantic klezmer/cabaret collective Yiddish Art Trio, clarinetist of Tarras Band, a classic 1950’s Jewish American tribute group, and the co-founder and director of the ground breaking, borderless world fusion band Sandaraa. He has played alongside Itzhak Perlman, The Klezmer Conservatory Band, Socalled, Budowitz, Alicia Svigals and more. Michael received the prestigious Map Fund Fellowship for his work in Sandaraa and was awarded a commission from Chamber Music America in 2014 to compose “The Pomegranate of Sistan,” a collection of musical settings of contemporary Urdu Poetry. With a degree from the New England Conservatory of Music, Michael is an avid arranger and record producer. In 2015 Michael arranged a program for Symphony Nova Scotia and has produced records for Adrienne Cooper, Susan Leviton, Miryem Khaye-Siegel, Jeff Warshauer & Deborah Strauss, Josh Waletzky and others.