Now is the Time. Memphis is the Place.

Continuum Music Festival Is Not Effing Around

Continuum Music Festival happening at Crosstown Concourse is going to give us a little bit of everything this weekend— a little hip-hop, a little opera, a little rock n’ roll and more bundled into two days of unique collaborations among musicians and artists.

Once you slow down to actually read what’s happening at Continuum, there’s some incredibly cool stuff in the mix:

  • Opera Memphis and Blueshift Ensemble string quartet are collaborating on a piece that centers on a transgender protagonist. You’ll have two chances to catch a performance.
  • Multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter, producer and one-man-band marvel Paul “Snowflake” Taylor‘s new project New Memphis Colorways is on the schedule.
  • Continuum’s also offering film screenings, special presentations, and discussions. There’s even a chance to enjoy a yoga class taught to live music.
  • And for the finale, DJ Logic is teaming up with bassist and experimental musician MonoNeon, Living Colour lead guitarist and co-founder of the Black Rock Coalition Vernon Reid, and drummer extraordinaire Daru Jones.

Keep scrolling for the detailed schedule.

Festival Schedule

Thursday 8/15

There are a couple of pre-festival events you can partake in:

7:30 pm | Film | Be Natural: The Story of Alice Guy-Blanché ($5 or free with festival pass), Crosstown Theater 

Narrated by Jodie Foster, BE NATURAL: THE UNTOLD STORY OF ALICE GUY-BLACHÉ is a documentary about the first female filmmaker, Alice Guy-Blaché, which explores the heights of fame and financial success she achieved before she was shut out from the very industry she helped create.

Stick around after the film for a telephonic Q&A with filmmaker Pamela B. Green. Moderated by Laura Jean Hocking.

8:00 – 9:30 pm | Performance | Blueshift Ensemble & Iceberg New Music at Crosstown Brewery

FREE pre-festival concert at Crosstown Brewing Company featuring Memphis-based Blueshift Ensemble and NYC-based composer collective Iceberg New Music. More info here.

Friday 8/16

5:00 – 5:20 pm | Welcome and opening performance, CENTRAL ATRIUM  

5:30 pm | Film | Prodigal Sons: A Kimberly Reed Film, CROSSTOWN THEATER

Returning home to a small town in Montana for her high school reunion, filmmaker Kimberly Reed hopes for reconciliation with her long-estranged adopted brother, Marc. But along the way she uncovers stunning revelations, including a surprising relationship to Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth, intense sibling rivalries and unforeseeable twists of plot and gender that force them to face challenges no one could imagine.

Winner of the FIPRESCI Prize at the Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival, Best Documentary Jury Prize at NewFest, and Special Jury Prizes for Fearless Filmmaking at the Florida Film Festival and Bravery in Storytelling at the Nashville Film Festival, Prodigal Sons is a raw and provocative examination of one family’s struggle to come to terms with its past and present.

 

6:50 – 7:30 pm | Presentation | “Sheltering Voices: Impactful Community Storytelling, Stephanie Ann Boyd, THEATER STAIRS

In Sheltering Voices: Impactful Community Storytelling, Stephanie Ann Boyd delves into the story behind Eureka Ensemble’s work with women’s shelters in Boston, and how it inspired her contemporary mass whose performance went viral and changed lives. Stephanie Ann Boyd is a composer based in New York City and is a member of the ICEBERG New Music collective.

 

8:00 pm | Performance | Opera Memphis presents “As One,” a chamber opera created by Laura Kaminsky, Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed. Featuring Blythe Gaissert, Michael Kelly and Blueshift Ensemble string quartet, CROSSTOWN THEATER

The most produced new American opera in North America, “As One” is a chamber opera in which two voices—Hannah after (Blythe Gaissert, mezzo-soprano) and Hannah before (Michael Kelly, baritone)—share the part of a sole transgender protagonist. Fifteen songs comprise the three-part narrative; with empathy and humor, they trace Hannah’s experiences from her youth in a small town to her college years—and finally traveling alone to a different country, where she realizes some truths about herself. Created by Laura Kaminsky, Kimberly Reed, and Mark Campbell. Produced by Opera Memphis.

 

SATURDAY 8/17

10:00 – 11:00 am | Class | Sweet Soul Restorative yoga and live music presented by Sean Murphy and Anne J. Froning, STUDIO 208

Treat yourself to the gift of Restorative Yoga with Live Music! This workshop focuses on the breath, supported yoga poses, and gentle somatic movements. Live music, vibrational sound, and healing touch will sustain and deepen your experience. A wide range of ancient instruments from around the world combined with modern looping technology are used to weave an atmospheric soundscape. The music works twofold: first, it gives the mind a place to focus as the body begins to relax and open; second, the vibratory nature of this music is very balancing.

 

12:00 pm – 12:10 pm | Presentation | A Brief Metaphysics of Sound, Jonathan Russ, EAST ATRIUM  

In “A Brief Metaphysics Of Sound”, Jonathan Russ uses the properties of sound waves and the basics of musical cognition as a jumping-off point for a wider discussion of what music is, how it is written, and what role it can play in our lives. Jonathan Russ is a composer based in New York City and a member of ICEBERG New Music.

 

12:40 – 1:30 pm | Presentation | “The Sounds of ‘Starry Night’: Writing Music to Van Gogh’s Masterpiece, Derek Cooper, East Atrium 

In “The Sounds of ‘Starry Night,'” Derek Cooper explores the setting of Van Gogh’s Starry Night and the way that it inspired the sounds and atmospheres of his new composition for chamber orchestra. Derek Cooper is a composer based in New York City and a member of ICEBERG New Music.

 

1:30 – 2:00 pm | Performance | Spottswood Flute & Guitar Duo (Kelly Hermann and Ben Minden-Birkenmaier), Central Atrium

Flutist Kelly Herrmann and guitarist Ben Minden-Birkenmaier perform works by Jacques Ibert, Heitor Villa-Lobos, and Máximo Diego Pujol.

 

1:30 – 2:20 pm | Presentation | “The Quest for the Perfect Pop Song,” Alex Butzos, East Atrium  

In “The Quest for the Perfect Pop Song”, Alex Burtzos explores attributes that tie together great songs from different eras, searching for constants that will illuminate why we like the songs we do, and how we can create great songs going forward. Alex Burtzos is a composer based in New York City and Orlando, FL. He is the founder and director of ICEBERG New Music.

 

2:30 – 3:00 pm | Performance | Michael Shults, saxophone & Alvie Givhan, piano, EAST ATRIUM 

Saxophonist Michael Shults has been praised for his “strong, imaginative” improvisations (Downbeat Magazine) and “fresh and intelligent musical ideas” (The Pitch). A first-call musician on the Kansas City jazz scene for nearly a decade, Shults remains an active performer in the Fountain City and beyond, and has twice appeared as a sideman on the Jazzweek National Radio Airplay Charts. Michael is Assistant Professor of Saxophone at the University of Memphis. Prior to Memphis, he taught for four years at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He is a Yamaha and D’Addario performing artist and performs on their instruments and reeds exclusively.

Alvie Givhan has played with numerous pop, jazz and classical artists including Wayne Newton, Marvin Stamm, Mable John, Bill Easley, Slide Hampton, Joe Lovano, Roseanna Vitro, Luis Bonilla, Kathy Kosins, Mika Nakashima, Kirk Whalum, Kallen Esperian, Calvin Newborn, and Joyce Cobb. He has worked with the Jackson, Tupelo, and Memphis Symphony Orchestras and has been featured at the IAJE Conference in New Orleans.

 

2:30 – 4:30 pm | Performance | Opera Memphis presents “As One,” a chamber opera created by Laura Kaminsky, Mark Campbell, and Kimberly Reed. Featuring Blythe Gaissert, Michael Kelly and Blueshift Ensemble string quartet, CROSSTOWN THEATER

The most produced new American opera in North America, “As One” is a chamber opera in which two voices—Hannah after (Blythe Gaissert, mezzo-soprano) and Hannah before (Michael Kelly, baritone)—share the part of a sole transgender protagonist. Fifteen songs comprise the three-part narrative; with empathy and humor, they trace Hannah’s experiences from her youth in a small town to her college years—and finally traveling alone to a different country, where she realizes some truths about herself. Created by Laura Kaminsky, Kimberly Reed, and Mark Campbell. Produced by Opera Memphis.

 

4:30 – 5:00 pm | Presentation | “Breaking Boundaries: The Music of ShoutHouse,” Will Healy, EAST ATRIUM 

In “Breaking Boundaries”, Will Healy discusses what it’s like to compose for MCs and pop musicians alongside classical instrumentalists, and shares excerpts from NYC ensembles ShoutHouse’s latest record. Will Healy is a composer based in New York City and a member of ICEBERG New Music.

 

4:40 – 5:10 pm | Panel | “As One” opera creators Laura Kaminsky, Kimberly Reed, and Mark Campbell, THEATER STAIRS

 

5:00 – 6:30 pm | Performance | Two-Way Street performs Sarah Hennies’ ‘The Reinvention of Romance, STUDIO 208

Two-Way Street performing Mariel by Osvaldo Golijov

“The Reinvention of Romance” by Sarah Hennies is a new work for percussion and cello that examines the care and empathy that emerge when two lives share space. Over 90 minutes, a series of repeating patterns create a peculiar kind of harmony in which two musicians are rarely “playing together” but are nonetheless intimately bonded. The Knoxville-based duo Two-Way Street (Ashlee Booth and Adam Lion) commissioned Hennies to compose “a very long piece.” For this performance, they step into its two intertwining roles.

 

6:30 – 7:15 pm | Performance | Duet for Theramin and Lap Steel, GREEN ROOM  

“The name of Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel implies a proper classical recital, a rigid formality. But Scott Burland (theremin) and Frank Schultz (lap steel) don’t do scripted, improvising not so much distinct sounds as evolving eddies of sound, vapors of tones that develop and transform gracefully. Hypnotic pulses and dreamy drones weave together to form a kaleidoscope of sounds and moods, ambient clouds and swooning collages that are as much about texture as they are timbre, like a long-lost soundtrack to a deep-sea documentary.” -P. Wall, Columbia Free Times

 

7:20 – 8:00 pm | Performance | New Memphis Colorways, EAST ATRIUM

One of the best kept secrets from Memphis, yet well respected by those who know of him outside of the city= multi ­instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and producer, Paul “Snowflake” Taylor has been writing and recording his own material as a one-man-band since very early childhood and working as a professional musician since he was 14 years old. With 3 solo releases under his belt – “Open Closed” (2007) & “Share It” (2009) both on Makeshift Records, and self-released The Old Forest Trail EP (2015), Paul has now embarked on a new project called New Memphis Colorways and released a new EP, Old Forest Loop, which embodies wide-ranging influences from his storied career as a Memphis musician.

 

8:15 – 9:15 pm | Performance | Blueshift Ensemble performs ICEBERG New Music, GREEN ROOM 

Blueshift Ensemble is a Memphis­ based contemporary chamber music ensemble dedicated to bringing artists and audiences together through artistic collaboration. By programming both new and existing classical repertoire alongside multi­-genre collaborations, Blueshift aims to connect a wider audience to today’s classical music. The ensemble draws upon Memphis’s uniquely diverse musical heritage by combining classical music with popular music genres such as rock, blues, soul, and hip hop and featuring local musicians, visual artists, and composers.

This performance features works composed by Iceberg New Music composers Alex Burtzos, Will Healy, Jonathan Russ, Harry Stafylakis, and Derek Cooper.

 

9:15 pm | Performance | DJ Logic with MonoNeon, Vernon Reid and Daru Jones, CROSSTOWN THEATER

The theorem of turntablist as musician has been long proven in the capable hands of DJ Logic, whom with jazz as his foundation has become a wax innovator by crossing genres and mixing his sound across the map. As one of the world’s most accomplished turntablists, DJ Logic is widely credited for introducing jazz into the hip–hop realms and is considered by most as a highly-respected session musician and an innovative bandleader.

Continuum Music Festival presented by Crosstown Arts, Opera Memphis, and Amro Music runs August 16  & 17 at Crosstown Concourse. Tickets are $30 per day or $55 for a weekend pass. Get them here.

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