Caleb Burhans: Past Lives Caleb Burhans, Duo Harpverk, JACK Quartet, Simon Jermyn
- Caleb Burhans (b. 1980):
- 1A Moment for Jason Molina09:29
- 3Once in a Blue Moon12:39
- 4Early Music (For a Saturday)04:58
Info for Caleb Burhans: Past Lives
With the 2013 release of his Cantaloupe Music debut Evensong, Caleb Burhans laid the groundwork for his singular “emo-classical” style — a poignant and devotional mode of composition that draws equally from sacred and secular source material. Past Livespicks up in the spirit of that narrative thread, and adds a deeply personal twist; as Burhans himself tells it: “For the past twenty years, my music has dealt almost exclusively with themes of grief. Past Lives is a collection of four of these works, reflecting on years lost to addiction and fallen friends.”
Throughout his career, Burhans has had the opportunity to collaborate with a wide range of musicians and composers — some of whom, like Douglas Lowry, Jóhann Jóhannsson and Matt Marks, are no longer with us. Past Lives pays tribute to these artists and more (“A Moment for Jason Molina,” performed by Irish guitarist Simon Jermyn, remembers the Ohio-born singer-songwriter known for his bluesy, often ghostly folk songs), but at the same time, the music also stands as testament to the long journey toward finding one’s proper place in the world.
Burhans co-produced Past Lives with guitarist and composer Grey Mcmurray. Since 2003, the two have written, recorded and performed together as itsnotyouitsme—a New York-based electro-acoustic duo whose music has been described by Time Out New York as “gently mesmerizing.”
That aesthetic translates to the music here, from the nocturnal harp-and-marimba melodies of “Once in a Blue Moon,” performed by Duo Harpverk (Katie Buckley and Frank Aarnink), to the meditative textures of “early music (for a saturday),” which Burhans recorded on electric bass and electric violin with multiple sound effects. “Contritus,” by contrast, describes a sweeping emotive arc which, in the artful grasp of JACK Quartet, becomes almost a physical presence, solid and palpable.
Simon Jermyn, electric guitar (A Moment for Jason Molina)
JACK Quartet (Contritus)
Duo Harpverk (Once in a Blue Moon)
Caleb Burhans, electric bass, electric violin, space (early music (for a saturday)
(b. 1980) is a multifaceted presence in the New York music scene who is active as both a performer (strings, voice) and composer. Hailed by the New York Times as, “animated and versatile,” and, “New York’s mohawked Mozart” by Time Out New York, Caleb has been commissioned by Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Library of Congress and the Kronos Quartet, to name a few.
Caleb’s debut album, Evensong was named one of NPR’s top 50 albums of 2013.
Caleb’s works have been performed by ensembles such as the JACK Quartet, Roomful of Teeth, eighth blackbird, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, and the Choir of Trinity Wall Street. As one half of the duo itsnotyouitsme (along with Grey Mcmurray), he has also scored the documentary films A Woman Like That and The Pearl as well as releasing four studio albums.
In addition to his work on television (SNL, Colbert, Letterman) and Broadway (Hamilton, Mean Girls), Caleb is a founding member of Alarm Will Sound, Ensemble Signal and the Wordless Music Orchestra. He is also a member of the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, Newspeak and the disco band Escort.
Caleb has worked with artists ranging from Yoko Ono, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, The National, Arcade Fire, and Blonde Redhead to Max Richter, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Steve Reich, La Monte Young, Meredith Monk, David Lang, Julia Wolfe, Michael Gordon, John Zorn, George Crumb and Caroline Shaw.
As a conductor, Caleb has worked with the London Sinfonietta and the Wordless Music Orchestra and has done choral preparation for John Adams, Brad Lubman and David Robertson.
In 2015 he contracted the orchestra for 8 performances with Björk at Carnegie Hall and Kings Theatre, culminating in the recording of Vulincura Live.
Caleb attended the Eastman School of Music where he holds degrees in composition and viola performance. He resides in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, Martha Cluver, and their daughter.
His second album, Past Lives will be available on Cantaloupe Music, March 8, 2019.