Vertical Foliage Orchestra

Vertical Foliage Orchestra is an electro-acoustic group of revolving membership, using as its musical material percussive scraps, gongs, bottles, handsaws, and other ephemera borrowed from the studio of artist Alexander Calder (1898-1976).

In this performance, seven-year-old Alejandro Antelo-Suarez intones a lyrics sheet comprised of Calder’s historical texts and interviews. Anthony Kingsley samples and transfigures Antelo-Suarez’s voice and the ambient and percussive sounds produced by Aaron Moore and Gryphon Rue.

The improvisational approach of VFO is in the spirit of Calder’s use of sound with his “noise-mobiles,” comprised of brass gongs and other resonators integrated into his mobiles. Calder’s mobiles influenced a generation of post-WWII composers, who translated the “open form” structure and variability of the mobile into a new form of composition, giving the performer an active role and a greater freedom of of decision-making while performing the score.

Calder Foundation Presents
They might well have been remnants of the boat
The High Line Hotel
New York
11 May 2013

Alejandro Antelo-Suarez
Anthony Kingsley
Aaron Moore
Gryphon Rue

Texts and interviews used in Vertical Foliage Orchestra’s performance include Calder’s “Comment réaliser l’art?” in Abstraction-Création, Art Non Figuratif, no. 1 (1932), 6; “A Propos of Measuring a Mobile” (manuscript, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 1943); “What Abstract Art Means to Me” in Museum of Modern Art Bulletin 18, no. 3 (Spring 1951), 8–9; and Jane Howard’s “Close Up-Mobile Maker’s Giddy Whirl,” Life, March 5, 1965, 47–48, 50, 52.