“…it’s not too early to note that the violinist Josh Modney’s “Engage” contains one of the most intriguing programs of the year.”
-Seth Colter Walls, The New York Times
“Modney has made a commanding statement with Engage and is now, in addition to all his other roles, a solo force to be reckoned with.”
“Violinist Josh Modney has consistently demonstrated jaw-dropping technical skill and deep, exploratory impulses… but he outdoes himself on this powerful solo effort… As a whole, the album stands as powerful testimony to sound-seeking by one of today’s most intrepid experimentalists.”
-Peter Margasak, Bandcamp Daily
Available now (3 CD set & Digital) on New Focus Recordings!
Featuring performances by Sam Pluta, Kate Soper and Eric Wubbels, with an introduction by Nate Wooley
Josh Modney’s ambitious 3-disc debut solo release, Engage, brings together the varied threads of his recent work, including long-term collaborations with composers Kate Soper, Eric Wubbels, and Sam Pluta, who perform on the album; solo violin music by Taylor Brook and Anthony Braxton; Modney’s own improvised music for solo violin; and J.S. Bach’s Ciaccona reinterpreted in Just Intonation.
In his introduction to the album trumpeter, composer, and writer Nate Wooley poses, “I find myself drawn toward artists that leave themselves room to run with an idea—whether that is into the future or toward the past—those for whom it’s not enough to understand the work that came before you solely as a context for the new, but as the basis for a completely different way of thinking… Josh Modney [is] one of the artists we should look toward as the model of how the new can not only move forward, but to be active in 360 degrees and three-dimensions.”
Comprised of three programs, Engage as a whole presents a body of work that has both defined and been shaped by Modney’s distinctly 21st century violin performance practice, exploring new technical and expressive frontiers on the instrument. The first program includes Sam Pluta’s Jem Altieri with a Ring Modulator Circuit, for violin and live electronics (2011); Taylor Brook’s Vocalise, for violin solo with drone (2009); Kate Soper’s Cipher, for soprano and violin (2011); and Anthony Braxton’s Composition No. 222 (1998). The second program pairs Modney’s adventurous interpretation of J.S. Bach’s Ciaccona (1720) in Just Intonation with Eric Wubbels’s “the children of fire come looking for fire”, for violin and prepared piano (2012). The final program features Josh Modney’s Violin Solos (2017). Wooley writes, “[Modney’s] solo work provides the final, emphatic, punctuation; gems of improvisation that tether a formidable technique to an absolutely rigorous personal aesthetic.”
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