Trimpin: The Gurs Zyklus (May 17–20):The Gurs Zyklus, by composer and kinetic sculptor Trimpin, sounds insane. Trimpin invents instruments, pushing their boundaries: a gamelan whose iron bells are suspended in midair by magnets (which allows for extra-long tones), a contraption made of 96 wooden clogs that plays 20 different compositions, a long bass clarinet that can achieve microtonal scales, and much more. The Gurs Zyklus is an experimental opera based on letters from Gurs, a concentration camp where the Jewish community of Trimpin's hometown was interred during WWII. For this piece, Trimpin will introduce a "fire organ" (like a pipe organ that uses thermodynamics and a Bunsen burner to make its sounds), castanets that tap out the Morse code signal to kill the poet Federico García Lorca ("give him coffee"), and a computer program that reads photos of tree bark taken near Gurs and transforms them into a score for four player pianos. Like I said: insane. Directed by Rinde Eckert.
I'm having trouble imagining what this will be like—which is my favorite way to feel about a performance I haven't seen yet.