MapFund

About the Grant

$26,500 to support Trillium J (MAP 2012), a new opera by Anthony Braxton.

About the Project

During Fall 2013 in New York, New York, the Tri-Centric Foundation will premiere the concert reading and multimedia performance of composer and saxophonist Anthony Braxton's four-act opera Trillium J. This opera, a work for orchestra, twelve vocalists, and twelve instrumental soloists, is part of Braxton's larger thirty-six act Trillium Cycle. Animations illustrating the opera's plot, themes, and Braxton's compositional structures will be projected on screens lining the walls of the venue.

The name Trillium is derived from Braxton's Tri-Axium philosophical writings. He sees the Trillium Project as representing the three aspects of his life's work: music, or sound logic, systems; thought, or philosophical, systems; and ritual and ceremonial systems. Braxton describes Trillium as an “opera complex” of autonomous one-act settings interconnected through twelve recurring character archetypes that illustrate the basic components of his logic system, represented by the singers and improvising instrumental soloists.

Braxton does not shy away from the dramatic potential of traditional opera. The plots include railroad barons, talking animals, murder mysteries, and haunted houses, while the apparent story is just one of three levels. Underlying each act are the philosophical and mystical dynamics that so deeply inform Braxton's libretto and music.

The accompanying animated visuals to this performance will not only illustrate the plot of each act of Trillium J, but also will illuminate Braxton's complex systems of philosophical ideas and musical notation. Through live computer manipulation, the images will remain fluid as the orchestra moves between the notated score and moments of collective and individual improvisation.

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