January 20, 2024: Maps of Music and Memory, music of Raven Chacon at the Modern

In addition to an inspiring body of work that has made her one of the first artists, in her words, “to break the buckskin ceiling,” Jaune Quick-to-see Smith has been a groundbreaking leader in the community of Native American artists. One of the artists featured in the exhibition she recently curated at The National Gallery in Washington, D.C., is Raven Chacon, a Diné artist whose wide-ranging practice includes composition, performance, visual art and audiovisual installations; examples of all of these and more can be found on his web site. Chacon’s career has included some remarkable breakthroughs of his own, as the first Native American composer to receive the Pulitzer Prize (2023) and the MacArthur Fellowship (2024).

Sounds Modern Maps of Music and Memory will celebrate both artists’ work with a concert of solo and chamber music by Chacon, including projections of several of his scores (which are remarkable works of graphic art in themselves). Sarah Ruth Alexander, Mia Detwiler, Daphne Capparelli Gerling, Hunter Long, Charlotte MacDonald, Andrew May, Sounds Modern director Elizabeth McNutt, Kourtney Newton, Patrick Overturf, Kory Reeder, and Jessica Stearns will present works for voice, woodwinds, strings, and percussion, exploring sounds far beyond the usual; as Chacon has said, “Of course, you want to go to the future. For me, it’s actually not about sound. Maybe I would try to see: What is the sound of time travel itself? But, it’d be to see what kind of tools exist in the future. It’s not about having an instrument that can be understood. The whole reason I play is to find some kind of unruliness in these instruments — to find new sounds.” Works on the program will include Horse Notations (inspired by 19th-century analyses of the rhythms and patterns of horses’ gaits), Quiver (one of several works for cello on the tracking of animals), łá’ts’áadah (whose title is the Navajo word for “eleven”), and pieces from the collection For Zitkála-Šá, each dedicated to one of the “grandmothers” of the Native American arts community (including Joy Harjo of the Muscogee [Creek] Nation, 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States, whose work Smith also included in the National Gallery exhibition).

The event starts at 2:00 pm CST on Saturday, January 20, 2024, in the auditorium of the Modern, 3200 Darnell Street, Fort Worth, TX 76107. Admission is free and open to the public. The concert will also be live streamed at The Modern’s YouTube channel, where you can also find other recent Sounds Modern performances. Complete program information for this event can be found here.