Fellows' Presentation

Concert and Presentation: Completion of the Composition Cycle Mishpatim (Laws)

Photo by Tony RinaldoPhoto by Tony Rinaldo

Part of the 2014–2015 Fellows' Presentation Series


This concert and presentation will feature sections from Dániel Péter Biró's composition cycle, Mishpatim (Laws), which he has been completing while a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. 

Presentation at 4 p.m.

Biró also will present a lecture on the composition cycle—examining relationships between his ethnomusicological studies of Jewish, Islamic, and early Christian chant and his compositional project—discussing aspects of his research into music technology, and demonstrating from movements of the composition cycle.

Concert at 8 p.m.

The compositions performed from Mishpatim (Laws), which range from the year 2001 to 2015, will feature contralto Noa Frenkel, pianist Ermis Theodorakis, percussionist Ryan Packard, and Harvard students.

The movements will range from solo works to those with trio and electronics. 

In 2001 Dániel Péter Biró began to employ Hebrew number symbolism (gematria) for compositional means. As each letter in the Hebrew alphabet possesses a numerical value, gematria is the calculation of the numerical equivalence of letters, words, or phrases and, on that basis, the exploration of the interrelationship between words, ideas and, in this case, musical sounds. In the composition cycle, Mishpatim (Laws) he set Hebrew Bible text from the book of Exodus and book of Jeremiah. Writing a series of compositions for voices, ensemble and electronics, the composer has created a system in which all of the musical parameters (including pitches, rhythms, playing techniques, and electronics) are determined by the original Hebrew text. The composition also employs "ghost instruments," resonant instruments that are activated by computer, in a performance setting. Biró has been recording the movements of the composition cycle at the German radio Sudwestrundfunk (SWR) working with the Experimentalstudio, the Ensemble Surlus, Noa Frenkel, und Ermis Theodorakis. Neos Music will release a new recording of the entire cycle in 2016.

Music Links

Dániel Péter Biró Hadavar (2009-2011) (The Word) from Composition Cycle Mishpatim Cycle 

Hineni (Therefore) (2009/2015) from Composition Cycle Mishpatim (Laws)