The musical trio EVIYAN was born in vocalist-violinist Iva Bittová’s house in the woods of the Hudson Valley after a few bowls of mushroom soup. In that rustic setting, performer-composers Bittová, Gyan Riley and Evan Ziporyn came together for the first time to create the kind of loose musical tapestries — weaving elements of the classical, folk, jazz, minimalist and global traditions — that debuted to high acclaim on Saturday, March 2nd at MIT’s Kresge Auditorium. “It felt like a family reunion,” says Ziporyn, Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music and Faculty Director of the Center for Art, Science & Technology.
The group was Ziporyn’s brainchild as the next phase after a 20-year tenure with the celebrated genre-smashing group Bang on a Can. For the past several decades, Ziporyn has combed the globe in search of new musical possibilities, most significantly working with Balinese gamelan musicians — from master teachers to adventurous teenagers — since the early 1980s. While much of his previous work took its shape from the sensation of cultural dissonance, where “the form and content [of the music] was the cultural clash,” his newest project demonstrates a more easy coexistence between diverse traditions. He describes the experience of playing with Bittová and Riley as “gliding.”