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The Force of Things: An Opera for Objects

Ashley Fure | Adam Fure | International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)

Ashley Fure is “one of the finest young composers around.”—The New York Times

“Tones made tactile, objects made audible, noise made beautiful.” That’s how The New York Times describes Ashley Fure’s work. In her world, all materials are potent and active with lives of their own. We often take things for granted, but Fure does not. She has given them their own voice and consciousness in The Force of Things: An Opera for Objects. This wordless drama, created with her architect brother Adam Fure and International Contemporary Ensemble, “probes the animate vitality of matter.” The audience sits beneath a canopy of familiar and exotic objects, while performers spur them into action and singers, like the sirens of mythology, shout and whisper warnings, luring the audience into an entirely new way of listening.





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ashley fureAshley Fure (b. 1982) is an American composer of acoustic and electroacoustic concert music as well as intermedia installation art. Her work explores the kinetic source of sound, bringing focus to the muscular act of music making and the chaotic behaviors of raw acoustic matter. She holds a Ph.D. in Music Composition from Harvard University and further degrees from IRCAM (Cursus 1 and 2), Oberlin Conservatory and the Interlochen Arts Academy. Fure was a Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow at Columbia University in 2014 and joined the Dartmouth College Department of Music as an Assistant Professor of Sonic Arts in September 2015.




In The News

DAVID ALLEN, THE NEW YORK TIMES: “Chains Clink, Water Splashes: A Composer’s Beautiful Noise”
“Tones made tactile, objects made audible, noise made beautiful — Ms. Fure, at 33 one of the finest young composers around, is drawn to the musical qualities of the material world and to the material aspects of music.”

THE DARTMOUTH: “Q & A with Rome Prize-winning Composer Ashley Fure”
“Ashley Fure, a composer of acoustic and electroacoustic music, added the Rome Prize to her list of impressive accolades. Recently, she received a Guggenheim Fellowship, and her composition ‘Bound to the Bow’ was a Pulitzer Prize finalist.”

“The advancement of gender equality in the new music scene can feel at once radically progressive and impossibly slow. […] Spearheading the GRID (Gender Relations in Darmstadt) project, composer Ashley Fure revealed statistics from the Darmstadt archives that show women have been and still are significantly underrepresented at the summer festival.”

ASHLEY FURE: “Pigeonholes, Precarity, and the Zero-Sum Game of Time: On Speaking Out”
“‘The Force of Things’ is an immersive intermedia work that wrestles with collective violence, material agency, and the haunting thrust of the anthropocene.”

VAN MAGAZINE: “Lyric Engine: An Interview with Ashley Fure”
“I started working in the electronic music studio at Harvard. I had always been interested in working with chaotic timbres, and noise, but trying to get at those sounds I was looking for through extended techniques and notation was really dissatisfying. Once I got into the studio, it was like, ‘Screw them. Give me microphones and objects.’ I was able to reach a density and a specificity in these chaotic timbres that had eluded me until I got my hands dirty myself.”



Ashley Fure’s The Force of Things is made possible by generous commitments from the International Contemporary Ensemble: First Page Program, University of Michigan Office of Research, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Dartmouth College Provost’s Office Seed-Funding Program, Miller Theater at Columbia University (NYC) and Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt (IMD). This project was supported by New Music USA, made possible by annual program support and/or endowment gifts from New Music USA project grants. With the friendly support of Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung.

Programs in Peak Performances’ 2017–18 season are made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.