University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

At the Penn Museum Friday, January 13

Musician Playing Wine Glasses

PHILADELPHIA—The Daedalus Quartet, the University of Pennsylvania’s internationally renowned string-quartet-in-residence, and the Penn Museum join forces to present a new interpretation of George Crumb’s classic "Black Angels".  The site-specific, multi-media concert also features remarkable contemporary music created to be performed amidst the ancient artifacts of the Penn Museum’s echo-rich Chinese Rotunda. The program is co-presented by the University of Pennsylvania Department of Music and Bowerbird.

Hauntingly beautiful soundscapes, looming shadows, ancient artifacts, and world-class new music come together in Black Angels and Secrets: An Extraordinary Evening with the Daedalus Quartet, in the towering rotunda of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. The concert begins at 8:00 pm on Friday, January 13, 2017 at 3260 South Street in Philadelphia. Tickets to the program are $15 general admission, $5 students, purchased online in advance; $20 at the door. Seating is limited and advance reservations are suggested.

Musician Playing Wine Glasses

George Crumb’s visionary Black Angels: Thirteen Images of the Dark Land for Electric String Quartet with guest shadow-choreography by designer/director Sebastienne Mundheim, (Founder/Director White Box Theatre) anchors the program. The evening opens with a new work, lens flare from Alpha Centauri by Joshua Hey, and concludes with Scott Ordway’s whisper play, Tonight We Tell the Secrets of the World, a 2016 commission inspired by the archaeological work of the Penn Museum and the acoustics of the magnificent 90-foot dome of the Chinese Rotunda. Tonight We Tell the Secrets of the World will feature a special guest, acclaimed soprano Ah Young Hong, who has been called “a tour de force” by the Baltimore Sun, and “a blazing lone star” by the New York Times.

“Crumb, who is emeritus at Penn, completed his masterpiece on Friday the thirteenth of March, 1970, ‘in tempore belli,’ as he writes on the score. We’re revisiting it on Friday the thirteenth in another time of uncertainty,” said Min-Young Kim, violinist of Daedalus. “The Penn Museum’s vast rotunda space, the ancient artifacts and the shadow projections, the resonance of strings and of whispering, chanting, and the eerie glass harmonicas—all come together to create an unforgettable evening of music and magic.”

Black Angels and Secrets will run approximately 90 minutes with one intermission.

Daedalus Quartet Project website information:

THE DAEDALUS QUARTET: Praised by The New Yorker as “a fresh and vital young participant in what is a golden age of American string quartets,” the Daedalus Quartet—two violins, viola, and cello— has established itself as a leader among the new generation of string ensembles. Since winning the top prize in the Banff International String Quartet Competition in 2001, the Daedalus Quartet has impressed critics and listeners alike with the security, technical finish, interpretive unity, and sheer gusto of its performances. The Quartet has performed in many of the world’s leading musical venues; in the United States and Canada these include Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center (Great Performers series), the Library of Congress, the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., and Boston’s Gardner Museum, as well as on major series in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Winnipeg, Vancouver, and in major venues in Europe and Japan.

GEORGE CRUMB: Black Angels: Thirteen Images of the Dark Land (1970) for electric string quartet. Composed at the height of the Vietnam War, this vitally important work of the 20th-century avant-garde evokes electric insects, bones and flutes, and music diabolical and divine to create an unforgettable and powerful experience.

SCOTT ORDWAY: Tonight We Tell the Secrets of the World (2016) A Whisper Play for soprano voice, alto saxophone, string ensemble, lighting design, and 150 whispered voices. The Daedalus Quartet and special guests present the first reprise of Scott Ordway’s critically-acclaimed “whisper play,” a crowd-interactive work in which members of the audience join the ensemble to create a large-scale choir of whispered voices, signaled by an array of colored lights. Commissioned by the Penn Museum with support from the American Composers Forum.


JOSHUA HEY: lens flare from Alpha Centauri: Daedalus Commission and World Premiere (2017) A new work for string quartet by Joshua Hey, a Penn Ph.D. candidate who has also studied at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, opens the program.

About the Penn Museum

The Penn Museum (University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology) is dedicated to the study and understanding of human history and diversity. Founded in 1887, the Museum has sent more than 350 archaeological and anthropological expeditions to all the inhabited continents of the world. With an active exhibition schedule and educational programming for children and adults, the Museum offers the public an opportunity to share in the ongoing discovery of humankind's collective heritage.

The Penn Museum is located at 3260 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (on Penn's campus, across from Franklin Field). Public transportation to the Museum is available via SEPTA's Regional Rail Line at University City Station; the Market-Frankford Subway Line at 34th Street Station; trolley routes 11, 13, 34, and 36; and bus routes 21, 30, 40, and 42. Museum hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and first Wednesdays of each month until 8:00 pm. Closed Mondays and holidays. Admission donation is $15 for adults; $13 for senior citizens (65 and above); free for U.S. Military; $10 for children and full-time students with ID; free to Members, PennCard holders, and children 5 and younger.

Hot and cold meals and light refreshments are offered to visitors with or without Museum admission in The Pepper Mill Café; the Museum Shop offers a wide selection of gifts, books, games, clothing and jewelry. Penn Museum can be found on the web at For general information call 215.898.4000. For group tour information call 215.746.8183.

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