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The Music of Moondog

Saturday - 8:00pm (ET)
June 17, 2017

The Rotunda
4014 Walnut St Philadelphia PA 19104
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Bowerbird is pleased to present “The Music of Moondog”, a survey of the idiosyncratic rounds and songs by composer Louis Thomas Hardin Jr (1916 – 1999). The eccentric street musician known as Moondog dressed in Viking garb and regularly performed on the sidewalks of New York’s Sixth Avenue. This concert is the debut performance of the Arcana New Music Ensemble.



Katie Ambacher, flute
Nicholas McNamara, alto saxophone
Aaron Stewart, tenor saxophone
Mark Zelesky, baritone saxophone
Tessa Ellis, trumpet
Elizabeth Huston, harp
Eric Derr, percussion
Andy Thierauf, percussion
June Bender, violin
Joshua Machiz, double bass



Louis Thomas Hardin, Jr., better known as Moondog, is one of the most famous and influential outsider musicians of the twentieth century. Born in Kansas to a devoutly religious family, Hardin was blinded at age 16 when he dug up a live dynamite cap. For 30 years, from the early 1940s to the early 1970s, he lived in New York City, where he became a well-known street performer known, thanks to his Nordic garb, as “the Viking of Sixth Avenue.” During this time he recorded several albums and won the respect of many important musicians, including Leonard Bernstein, Charlie Parker (for whom he wrote the piece “Bird’s Lament”), and Philip Glass (with whom he briefly shared an apartment). From 1974 until his death in 1999, Moondog lived primarily in Germany, where he enjoyed the most stable and productive creative period of his life. Celebrated for his diverse body of work that combines– among other influences– the rhythmic energy of jazz, the ritualistic intensity of Native American tribal music, and classical principles of counterpoint, Moondog’s music is at once uncategorizable and instantly identifiable.



Founded in 2016, the Arcana New Music Ensemble is a group of Philadelphia-based musicians dedicated to presenting interesting, beautiful, and unconventional music in interesting, beautiful, and unconventional places. Built on a flexible roster of 25 musicians, Arcana is able to perform a broad range of repertoire in numerous configurations. Arcana is a project of Bowerbird administered by Elizabeth Huston, Thomas Patteson, and Dustin Hurt.

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