California EAR Unit

Biography

Active: 1981 - ; Los Angeles, CA
The California EAR Unit is a chamber ensemble dedicated to the performance of contemporary music. Its concerts typically involve use of traditional instruments and electro-acoustic and interactive computer techniques. For as aggressively modern as that description sounds, much of the music they perform is quite accessible, even catchy in its use of multiple genres, like jazz, rock, and ethnic styles, not to mention classical. That said, its Read more performance and advocacy of music by Morton Feldman, Elliott Carter, John Cage, Charles Wuorinen, Morton Subotnick, and other such advanced or avant-garde figures, clearly places the group in the vanguard of ultra-progressive ensembles. It has premiered over 500 works since its 1981 founding and has made numerous recordings. Many of the pieces it has introduced were written for the group by composers like Louis Andriessen, Mel Powell, Alison Knowles, John Luther Adams, and Julia Wolfe. The EAR Unit has recorded for a variety labels, including Nonesuch, New Albion, New World Records, Crystal, Tzadik, Bridge, O.O. Discs, and Cambria.

The California EAR Unit was formed in Los Angeles in 1981. The group consists of five members but can expand or contract depending on the requirements of the music score. The 2009 EAR Unit consisted of five regular members: Eric km(Kenneth Malcolm) Clark (violin), Erika Duke Kirkpatrick (cello), Amy Knoles (percussionist and computer-assisted electronic music), Phil O'Connor (clarinet), and Vicki Ray (piano).

There have been many personnel changes over the years, one necessitated by the unfortunate early passing in 2008 of founding member, flutist Dorothy Stone. In 1987 the EAR Unit became the ensemble-in-residence at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, serving in that capacity until 2004. In 1989 it made its first CD, and throughout the 1990s the group made numerous highly praised recordings of mostly very risky repertory, including Feldman's Rothko Chapel and Why Patterns? on New Albion (1992) and Subotnick's And the Butterflies Begin to Sing on New World Records (1997).

In 1997 the EAR Unit made a highly successful tour of the U.K. and made subsequent tours of Europe, Asia, and the U.S. It has also been featured on Canadian Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio.

In 2004 it was named ensemble-in-residence at REDCAT at the Walt Disney Hall Complex. Its first appearance following the death of Stone was a highly successful concert at REDCAT in May 2008, which featured the premiere of Gordon Beeferman's Rites of Summer. Read less
Browse 1-14 of 14 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    David Rosenboom: Life Field
    Label: Tzadik   Catalog: 8091 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  David Rosenboom
    Performer:  Christine Tavolacci,  Mark Menzies,  William Winant,  Ulrich Krieger  ... 
    Conductor:  David Rosenboom
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  California EAR Unit
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  • 2.
    The Eleanor Hovda Collection
    Label: Innova   Catalog: 808 Release Date: 01/31/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Eleanor Hovda,  Unspecified
    Performer:  Jack Vees,  Eleanor Hovda,  Libby Van Cleve,  Jan Weller  ... 
    Conductor:  William McGlaughlin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  PRISM Players,  Relâche,  California EAR Unit
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  • 3.
    Feldman: For Christian Wolf / Stone, Ray, California Ear Unit
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9279 Release Date: 12/09/2008   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Morton Feldman
    Performer:  Vicki Ray,  Dorothy Stone
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  California EAR Unit
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  • 4.
    The Music Of Ann Millikan Featuring The California Ear Unit
    Label: Innova   Catalog: 663 Release Date: 05/01/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ann Millikan
    Performer:  Patrick O'Keefe,  Nicholas Terry
    Conductor:  Marc Lowenstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  California EAR Unit
    CD: $14.99
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    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 5.
    Powell: Settings / California Ear Unit
    Label: New World Records   Catalog: 80616 Release Date: 08/26/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Mel Powell
    Performer:  Robin Lorentz,  Vicki Ray,  Amy Knoles,  Dorothy Stone  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen L. Mosko
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  California EAR Unit,  California EAR Unit members
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  • 6.
    Emergency Music - Brazelton- Chamber Music For The Inner Ear
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 889 Release Date: 04/16/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Kitty Brazelton
    Performer:  Vicki Ray,  Marty Walker,  Dorothy Stone,  Robin Lorentz  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  California EAR Unit,  Manhattan Brass Quintet
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  • 7.
    Rosenblum: Ancient Eyes
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 831 Release Date: 11/16/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Mathew Rosenblum
    Performer:  Dominic Donato,  Mary Nessinger,  Tim Smith,  Eric Moe  ... 
    Conductor:  Bradley Lubman,  Stephen L. Mosko
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  PRISM Players,  California EAR Unit
    CD: $17.99
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  • 8.
    W.l. Smith: Light Upon Light / California Ear Unit, Et Al
    Label: Tzadik   Catalog: 7046 Release Date: 07/20/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wadada Leo Smith
    Performer:  Bertram Turetzky,  Wadada Leo Smith
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  California EAR Unit,  New Century Chamber Orchestra
    CD: $15.99
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  • 9.
    Feldman: For Philip Guston / California Ear Unit
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9078 Release Date: 11/18/1997   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Morton Feldman
    Performer:  Dorothy Stone,  Arthur Jarvinen,  Gloria Cheng
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  California EAR Unit
    On sale! $59.98
    CD: $48.99
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  • 10.
    Screamers - Difficult Works For The Horn / Cerminaro, Et Al
    Label: Crystal   Catalog: 679 Release Date: 10/28/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  William Kraft,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Rand Steiger  ... 
    Performer:  John Cerminaro,  Zita Carno,  Charlotte Cerminaro,  Toby Saks  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen L. Mosko
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  California EAR Unit
    On sale! $16.98
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  • 11.
    Andriessen: Zilver / The California Ear Unit
    Label: New Albion   Catalog: 94 Release Date: 08/19/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Louis Andriessen
    Performer:  Lorna Eder
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  California EAR Unit
    CD: $15.99
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  • 12.
    Subotnik: And The Butterflies Begin To Sing
    Label: New World Records   Catalog: 80514 Release Date: 05/20/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Morton Subotnick
    Performer:  Dorothy Stone,  Gloria Cheng,  Joan La Barbara,  Morton Subotnick  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  California EAR Unit,  Amernet String Quartet
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  • 13.
    Kim: Choyop, Seven Last Words Of Christ, Etc / Chung
    Label: Cambria   Catalog: 1046 Release Date: 07/01/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Kim Byong-kon
    Performer:  Erika Duke-Kirkpatrick,  Amy Knoles,  Dorothy Stone,  Carroll Raynor  ... 
    Conductor:  Kim Byong-kon,  Chai-Dong Chung
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  California EAR Unit,  Korean Symphony Orchestra,  Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 14.
    Baley: Dreamtime / California E.a.r. Unit
    Label: Cambria   Catalog: 1090 Release Date: 06/18/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Virko Baley
    Performer:  Lorna Eder,  Arthur Jarvinen,  Robin Lorentz,  Dorothy Stone  ... 
    Conductor:  Rand Steiger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  California EAR Unit
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