Angélica Negrón: Infusing Magic into the Delicate and Remote

The Pop Vocalist and Alternative Instrumentalist Introduces Her Music

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Angélica Negrón's music is a whisper. A young composer, she has crafted a small oeuvre of concert works, each suffused with a kind of compassion, as if regarding something very small and delicate, but without condescension. She samples tiny noises, seemingly trivial sounds, and turns them into music.

But also, literally, her music is often a whisper. In addition to the music she writes for classical performers, she sings for Balún, a pop band, in a voice not far from whisper-squiet. Then there's Arturo en el Barco, her more abstract, but no less delicate project, to which she also contributes vocals, as well as making music with violin, toys, and instruments so often looked down on that they might as well be toys—the accordion and the "omnichord," a synthesized autoharp.

Even pieces as uncharacteristic as Negrón's effusive orchestral movement What Keeps Me Awake (2008) seem closely intimate; even The Flying Trapeze (2008), her extroverted wind quintet, seems suffused with a quiet affection and nostalgia.  But her strongest works may be those like Drawings for Meyoko (2009), for the chamber trio known as janus, that integrate a softly crackling electronic accompaniment straight out of her work with Arturo.

With ethnomusicologist Noraliz Ruiz, Negrón also teaches music in ¡Acopladitos!, a Spanish language immersion program for young children. It's not entirely clear, in fact, that there is any boundary between this aspect of her music-making and her careers as composer and performer. Not only are her melodies for Balún childlike in their sweetness and simplicity, Negrón is willing to treat a toy instrument with the dignity of a concert Steinway, and she happily draws the trivial sounds of everyday life into her music. It seems only natural that the converse should be true—that she should treat musical instruments as toys, and reach out with music into the everyday lives of mothers and their children. In fact, her commission for the 2011 MATA Festival, Fono, sets a Spanish phonetics primer for chorus and electronics, elevating pedantic childhood materials into a lush concert work.

We don't hear enough about Angélica Negrón—suggesting, perhaps, that New York's classical institutions haven't yet figured out what to make of her. This is likely to change radically, and soon, as audiences hear more of her strange, soft music. In the meantime, the volume of the buzz around her is, like the volume of a whisper, inversely proportional to the urgency of the message it communicates.

Tags:

More in:

The WQXR e-newsletter. Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Follow WQXR 

Sponsored

About Q2 Music

LISTEN TO Q2 MUSIC'S 24/7 STREAM

Q2 Music is WQXR’s online music station devoted to 20th and 21st century classical music, trailblazing ensembles and vibrant, live performances from New York City's leading new music venues. Q2 Music lives online at www.wqxr.org/q2music, where you can find host biographies, essential playlist info, composer profiles and on-demand shows, and is accessible via the free WQXR App.

 

Follow Q2 Music 

Q2 Music Newsletter

Get the latest news on upcoming Webcasts, festivals, interviews and shows.

Feeds