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26 mai 2008

Djivan Gasparyan to lead duduk ensemble at Royce Hall

The master of the Armenian oboe will team with composer-producer Michael Brook and family members.

On Friday night, Royce Hall will resonate with the quivering sound of the duduk, an Armenian oboe, as played by its reigning master, 79-year-old Djivan Gasparyan. He will be accompanied by Michael Brook, inventor and performer of the "Infinite Guitar" and a composer and producer who has worked with such musicians as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Brian Eno, U2's Edge and Jon Hassell.

The additional ensemble of musicians will include Gasparyan's grandson, also named Djivan, playing duduk, and Brook's wife, violinist Julie Rogers.

Brook produced Gasparyan's album "Moon Shines at Night" in 1993, and the pair decided on a full collaboration five years later for the album "Black Rock." Released on Peter Gabriel's Real World label, it generated considerable critical acclaim -- Gasparyan's slow, meditative phrases beautifully complemented Brook's dreamy, sustained and heavily processed guitar.

"The process when trying to work with people from other countries is to create a simple backing track, giving a bit of atmosphere, pitch and tempo. [Djivan overdubs], then I develop the frame around the picture," Brook said. "I take what he does, what is beautiful and magical, and provide a framework."

Their work, individually and together, has appeared on soundtracks for such films as "Gladiator," "Black Hawk Down" and, most recently for Brook, "An Inconvenient Truth" and "Into the Wild."

"Music is a real-time thing for me," Brook said. "There's very little planning -- it's a purely experimental process. I learned to feel comfortable with the glory of the accident."

A new album, "Penumbra," is scheduled for a fall release, and the Royce concert will include much of the new material. Brook and Gasparyan also are recording more traditionally based Armenian music.

Casey Dolan

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