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Nameless Sound was established in 2001 to present the best of international contemporary music and to support the exploration of new methods in arts education

Nameless Sound presents concerts by premier artists in the world of creative music. In addition, Nameless Sound artists work directly with students from Houston’s public schools, community centers, and homeless shelters. Nameless Sound’s educational work helps to nurture a new generation of artists and inspire tomorrow’s creative thinkers

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Arts Houston

Sound Observations
concert series

Charles Curtis
co-presented with the Rothko Chapel

Charles Curtis 

Thursday, April 24, 2014


For more information and to RSVP, click here


The Rothko Chapel
3900 Yupon St
Houston, Texas 77006

Naldjorlak I
(2004) by
Éliane Radigue - performed by Charles Curtis
Piece to be Determined
by Michael Pisaro - performed by The Nameless Sound Ensemble

Charles Curtis (San Diego):

The Nameless Sound Ensemble
members to be determined

Nameless Sound’s Sound Observations series presents foremost artists in the world of creative music paired with some of Houston's distinctive and renown art spaces. The feature events of this edition will be composer Michael Pisaro’s premiere of a new work commissioned for James Turrell’s Twilight Epiphany Skyspace on April 22nd, and Charles Curtis’ performance of Éliane Radigue’s Naldjorlak I at the Rothko Chapel on April 24th. 

On the second evening, Nameless Sound and the Rothko Chapel will unite to present a performance by renowned experimental and minimalist cellist Charles Curtis.  Curtis will perform French electronic music composer Eliane Radigue’s Naldjorlak I (2004), a piece perfectly suited to the meditative, sacred space of the Chapel. After a decade’s-long career composing electronic music for synthesizers, Naldjorlak I was the veteran composer’s first composition written entirely for an acoustic instrument. Composed specifically for Curtis, the piece utilizes an alternate but precise tuning system, requiring that the cello’s pitch be adjusted days before performance. Also this evening, Michael Pisaro (featured on the first night of Sound Observations) will present a piece commissioned specifically for The Nameless Sound Ensemble.

The artists and composers featured in this series were specially chosen for the spaces in which they will perform. Sound Observations pairs music and environment so that each can enhance and offer new context to the other.   

Called by ArtForum "one of the great cellists" as well as "spellbinding and minimal," Charles Curtis has woven a unique career through the worlds of classical performance and musical experimentation. For more than twenty years Curtis has been closely associated with the legendary avant garde composer La Monte Young. As soloist and as director of Young's Theatre of Eternal Music String Ensemble, Curtis has participated in more performances and premieres of Young's music than any other musician. He is one of the few instrumentalists to have perfected Young's highly complex just intonation tunings, and is one of only a handful of musicians to have appeared in duo formations with Young.

In the last few years Curtis has developed a unique repertoire of major works created expressly for the distinctive qualities of his cello-playing. The great American experimental composer Alvin Lucier has composed numerous works for Curtis, including pieces for cello and sine waves, cello and piano, and cello with large orchestra. French composer Éliane Radigue created her very first work for a purely acoustic instrument for Curtis, the hour-long solo Naldjorlak I, which Curtis has performed scores of times throughout the world; more recently Naldjorlak III and Occam 5 have been developed collaboratively with Curtis. 

Curtis is currently the Professor of Contemporary Music Performance at the University of California, San Diego.

The Rothko Chapel is a minimalist ecumenical chapel built by John and Dominique de Menil. Dedicated in 1971, the octagonal chapel houses 14 canvases by Mark Rothko. The Rothko Chapel is a sacred space whose spirituality emanates from the paintings, which speak to us in a visual language from our own time. 

For more information visit:
Charles Curtis
Michael Pisaro
Éliane Radigue
The Rothko Chapel