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Lampo: Sarah Davachi

Sarah Davachi. Photo by Alex Waber.

About the program

Program Location

Chicago Cultural Center, 3rd Floor, Preston Bradley Hall, Washington Side


53 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60604

Sarah Davachi premieres “Tenerae”—a new longform work for electric organ and four trombones, commissioned by Lampo for the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Here, she plays Hammond B3 and is joined by Chicagoans Riley Leitch, Nick Broste, and Jeb Bishop, as well as her frequent Los Angeles-based collaborator Mattie Barbier.

The title is a portmanteau of sorts, derived from the Latin “tenere,” meaning “to hold,” and “Tenebrae,” the liturgical observation of darkness as joined by nighttime chants and lamentations. “Tenere” is also the etymological source of “tenor.” In early choral music, a tenor was the slow-moving, constant voice around which harmonized accompaniments would appear.

As with all of Davachi’s work, harmony, texture, and duration are at the forefront of “Tenerae,” offering the listener an opportunity to sit with sound more directly, with reverence. In a manner that mimics the circular structure of the composition, the unique architecture and acoustics of Preston Bradley Hall shape the space of the performance.

Sarah Davachi (b.1987, Calgary, Canada) is a composer and performer whose work is concerned with the close intricacies of timbral and temporal space, using extended durations and considered harmonic structures that emphasize gradual variations in texture, overtone complexity, psychoacoustic phenomena, and tuning and intonation.

Her compositions span solo, chamber ensemble, and acousmatic formats, incorporating a wide range of acoustic and electronic instrumentation. Similarly informed by minimalist and longform tenets, early music concepts of form, affect, and intervallic modal harmony, as well as experimental production practices of the studio environment, in her sound is an intimate and patient experience that lessens perceptions of the familiar and the distant.

In addition to her recorded output, Davachi has toured alongside artists such as Ellen Arkbro, Oren Ambarchi, Grouper, William Basinski, Catherine Lamb, Aaron Dilloway, Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, Michael Pisaro, Loren Connors, Tashi Wada, David Rosenboom, Charlemagne Palestine, Arnold Dreyblatt, and filmmaker Dicky Bahto.

Her work has been presented internationally by Southbank Centre; London; Barbican Centre, London; Kontraklang, Berlin; INA GRM, Paris; Issue Project Room, New York; Lampo, Chicago; Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg; Organ Reframed, London; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Getty, Los Angeles; Orgelpark, Amsterdam; The Museum of Jurassic Technology; Los Angeles; Tokyo Festival of Modular; Tokyo; Honen-in Temple, Kyoto; Open Frame, Sydney; among others. In 2020 she founded Late Music, an imprint within the partner labels division of Warp Records. She is based in Los Angeles.

This performance is Sarah Davachi’s fourth project with Lampo. She made her Chicago debut for Lampo in January 2017 at the Stony Island Arts Bank. She later performed in the Lampo series in April 2018 at the Graham Foundation and in October 2019 at Rockefeller Chapel.

Presented by Lampo in partnership with the Chicago Architecture Biennial

The City is the Site