University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Renowned New Music Ensemble Offers Both
at Concert and Silent Film Program

At the Penn Museum Sunday, February 5, 3:00 pm

Image of ensemble

Philadelphia, 2017—For its mid-winter performance, Relâche New Music Ensemble at the Penn Museum promises a music and silent film program designed to delight and inspire—featuring fresh performances of recent commissions and a world premiere of new music composed to accompany a zany 1921 film. "Relâche, the Sublime and Ridiculous", the newest offering from the internationally acclaimed ensemble-in-residence, takes place at 3:00 pm on Sunday, February 5, 2017 in the Museum’s Widener Hall.

Tickets are just $15 ($10 for Penn Museum members, and $10 for any student with ID), online in advance ( or at the door, while supplies last. Student rush tickets, available at the door only, are $5 with student ID, with an accompanying second student admitted free. Guests are encouraged to come early; a concert ticket may be used to enter and explore the Museum’s international galleries any time after 2:00 pm on the day of the concert.

In the sublime category, Relâche presents music the group commissioned in 2002 and 2005 respectively, Mark Hagerty's High Octane and Gavin Bryars' Creamer Études. High Octane is a lurid and defiant tour de force which stretches the eight musicians' abilities while providing a bracing wake-up call to listeners. Bryars' composition, dedicated to Philadelphia new music aficionado Anthony Creamer, takes a contemplative approach, emphasizing the darker qualities of the ensemble's mix of winds, including bass clarinet and contra-bassoon, the low strings, viola and bass, plus keyboard and percussion. The result is a depth and seriousness somewhat reminiscent of Mahler.

For the ridiculous, Relâche turns to the absurd slapstick of the Charlie Chaplin pre-cursor, Frenchman Max Linder, screening the recently discovered complete version of Linder's 1921 silent comedy produced in Hollywood, Be My Wife. Relâche performs live musical accompaniment to the film, the world premiere of a newly expanded score by former Philadelphian Chris McGlumphy. Chris created his rock-inflected score for the first PIFA Festival in 2011, when it was thought that only 13 minutes of the original film had survived. More recently the complete 55 minute version came to light and McGlumphy has written new music for the occasion, to be premiered by the Relâche octet.

The film includes an unforgettable scene: in an effort to make a heroic impression while scaring off a romantic rival, Max Linder stages a fight with himself. All that his intended and we in the audience see are two sets of shoes, a struggle of kicking and thrashing between the hero and a burglar. In fact one set of shoes are on Linder's hands, masterfully ridiculous and hilarious!

About Relâche

Relâche is a new music ensemble that for over thirty-five years has maintained an international reputation as a leader in commissioning and performing the innovative music of our time. Relâche has a unique sound—with flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, viola, piano, bass and percussion—and performs works that are neither classical, nor popular, but somewhere in between—a melding of Western classical traditions with jazz, rock, electronica, world music, and more. The players are Michele Kelly, flute; Lloyd Shorter, oboe and English horn; Bob Butryn, clarinet and sax; Chuck Holdeman, bassoon; Amy Leonard, viola; Douglas Mapp, bass; Ron Stabinsky, keyboard; and Chris Hanning, percussion.

About the Penn Museum

The Penn Museum (the 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 300 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, with P.M. @ PENN MUSEUM evening programs offered. 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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