Zara Lawler Leads Flutists in US Premiere at the Guggenheim

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum presents the U.S. premiere of leading Italian avant-garde composer Salvatore Sciarrino’s soundscape Il cerchio tagliato dei suoni (Cutting the Circle of Sounds) (1997), in a site-specific performance of this immersive and challenging work for four flute soloists and one hundred migranti, or migrating flutists, in the museum’s rotunda on Tuesday, November 20, at 8 pm. Drawing inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic spiraling architecture, Sciarrino has developed a specialized plan for the Guggenheim performance, which features the four soloists forming a circle around the seated audience and creating an accelerating swirl of sound, only to be interrupted by the one hundred migrating performers, who walk in procession through the space, introducing a forward flow of sound and movement while “cutting the circle of sounds.”

The four soloists are the esteemed flutists Claire Chase, a 2012 MacArthur Fellow and member of the International Contemporary Ensemble; Kelli Kathman, a regular performer with Alarm Will Sound, Signal, and Sospiro Winds; Eric Lamb, member of the International Contemporary Ensemble; and Jayn Rosenfeld, executive director of the New York New Music Ensemble. The one hundred migrating performers range from seasoned professionals to students of all ages and represent the full scope of the New York flute community. Noted flutist and movement specialist Zara Lawler will stage and coordinate the performance.

Il cerchio tagliato dei suoni is a 70-minute performance without intermission that will take place at 8pm in the rotunda. Tickets are $50, $45 for members, $30 standing room. For tickets click HERE. For general information call 212 423 3500 or visit the museum online at

Considered to be at the forefront of European contemporary music, composer Salvatore Sciarrino began as a visual artist and is largely self-taught as a musician. He is known for using isolated harmonics and unusual methods of tone production within his work, which is characterized by the frequent use of silence as a part of the compositional structure. Musicologist Laurent Feneyrou has characterized Sciarrino’s music as evolving toward the borderland of sound, suggesting “vast uninhabited spaces, especially the ocean wastes, the confines of dream….” The Los Angeles Times describes Sciarrino as “a sensualist and a lyricist,” who “plays with sound at its edges, enjoying the extraneous noises a flutist might make—breathing or striking the keys—as much as the production of beautiful tone,” while the New York Times calls his work “boldly modernist yet beautifully soft-spoken and fresh.” Sciarrino has composed music for La Scala, the Venice Biennale, the Stuttgart Opera Theatre, and the London Symphony Orchestra, among others, and has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Prince Pierre of Monaco Prize in Musical Composition (2003), the Feltrinelli International Award (2003), and the Salzburg Music Prize (2006).