Claire Chase, JACK Quartet Premiere Terry Riley’s The Holy Liftoff

Claire Chase, JACK Quartet Premiere Terry Riley’s The Holy Liftoff
'The Holy Liftoff'

When I improvised the first 16 bars of ‘The Holy Liftoff’ the melody and the chords whispered its name while simultaneously urging me to make drawings of the experience. The drawings had angels and flying creatures and all the energies were rising up into a surrealistic skyscape…This piece could only have been written for Claire Chase.

- Terry Riley

On May 2 at Public Records in Brooklyn, New York, flutist and MacArthur Fellow Claire Chase and the JACK Quartet perform the world premiere of The Holy Liftoff, the new modular score from composer Terry RileyThe Holy Liftoff is commissioned by Stanford Live, Tippet Rise Art Center, and The Kitchen as part of Density 2036, a multi-decade commissioning initiative launched by Claire Chase in 2013. Additional performances take place at Stanford Live on May 8, and at Tippet Rise Art Center on August 24.


Since 2020, 88-year-old composer and improviser Terry Riley has lived in a small town in Japan where he has begun to write a new type of music. He combines illustration, poetry, and his trademark musical cells to create a new type of score. These colorful sketchbooks liberate the performer from the constraints of traditional notation. They are to be freely interpreted by the performers with few parameters around duration and instrumentation.


Over the past two years, The Holy Liftoff has evolved into a multidimensional work that now features an eight-voice chorus of low and high flutes, seven of which are pre-recorded and one of which Chase plays live. For the performances at Public Records and Stanford Live, Chase partners with the dynamic JACK Quartet in a 60-minute rendition realized in collaboration with Samuel Clay Birmaher. The Tippet Rise performance features OWLS, a string ensemble comprised of violinist Alexi Kenney, violist Ayane Kozasa, cellist Gabriel Cabezas, and cellist-composer Paul Wiancko.

For more information, please contact your local Wise Music Promotion Team. See Contact Us.

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