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Keir Neuringer

Litanies of Trees

work 2019 (15 min)

Litanies of Trees was conceived as a companion piece to Elegies at the Border (2018). From the scene of the ruins evoked in Elegies I find myself, with my survivor guilt, still here. Litanies is a composition arising out of a deep love and reverence for the woods—places of comfort and solace to me—and the anxiety and sadness I experience living through the cataclysmic destruction of forests, biodiversity, and indigenous land throughout the world. Our dependence on trees is at once biological, cultural, civilizational, and personal. The enormity of the environmental decimation and collapse of our time greatly exceeds my ability to articulate it, but articulate it one must; whatever else this work is, it is also a note to my son and walking companion, Emiri, to whom the work is dedicated.

Where Elegies is, for me, compositionally expansive in scope, Litanies was composed quickly and simply, as a proposal of a piece of music that was actualized in rehearsal with Ensemble Klang. It’s a simple canon, the length of which is determined by the performers as they play, and related in obvious and oblique ways to liturgical and performance litanies of the past.

  • 25 Oct 2020

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Keir Neuringer

Keir Neuringer is a saxophonist, composer, and writer whose work is underpinned by interdisciplinary approaches and socio-political contextualizations. He is best known for a personal and intensely physical saxophone technique, revealed through long form solo improvisations, and is a founding member of the critically-acclaimed group Irreversible Entanglements. He co-leads the improvisation trio Dromedaries, has a decades-spanning duo with bassist Rafal Mazur, and collaborations with turntablist Matt Wright and pianist Simone Weissenfels, among others. He has traveled extensively to present his work, appeared on numerous festival stages, and given workshops throughout Europe and North America. In addition to the saxophone, he performs on electric and electronic keyboard instruments, narrates text (most notably with Dutch new music group Ensemble Klang), and composes largely outside of conventional new music scenes. He trained as a composer and saxophonist in the US, spent two years on a Fulbright research grant in Krakow, and then moved to The Hague, where he lived for eight years, curating performative audiovisual art and earning a masters degree from the experimental ArtScience Institute. He lives in upstate New York.

“…with Neuringer’s music…mortal purpose is a given.”
(Bill Meyer, Wire Magazine)

Keir Neuringer, by Silviu Filip