“Deerhoof drummer Greg Saunier created a dazzling suite of songs by his band called Deerhoof Chamber Variations that Dal Niente performed, radically reconfiguring the music while retaining its quirky melodic shapes.”
— Chicago Reader


Punk culture can be characterized by "anti-establishment views and the promotion of individual freedom." Dal Niente's "Punks" project celebrates composers whose independent spirit has led to multi-sensory experiences that are uniquely original and ambitious in reinventing the art form. Deerhoof Chamber Variations is a set of songs arranged for Dal Niente by composer Greg Saunier, also the drummer of Deerhoof ("The best band in the world" - Pitchfork); Saunier's arrangements juxtapose gorgeous orchestrations alongside chamber rock-outs. Perhaps the most intense piece on the program, Graphein was composed for Dal Niente's festival-closing performance at the 2014 Darmstadt Summer Courses by Raphaël Cendo, who is renowned for extremes of sonic "saturation." Natacha Diels' Elpis explores culturally established conceptions of image through instrumental/vocal/bodily performance, video projections, choreography, and other devices.

Musicians Used:


Core Repertoire:

Greg Saunier - Deerhoof Chamber Variations (21')
Raphaël Cendo - Graphein (19')
Natacha Diels - Elpis (15')

Optional Repertoire:

Katherine Young - like a halo (9')
LJ White - New Work
Other Repertoire TBD

Previous Presenters:

Ecstatic Music Festival (@ Kaufman Center's Merkin Hall)
Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music
University of Wisconsin
Western Michigan University
Dal Niente's Chicago Concert Season

Related Media:

Click "play" below to listen to an excerpt of Greg Saunier's Deerhoof Chamber Variations:

Click "play" below to listen to an excerpt of Raphaël Cendo's Graphein:

At first, it’s tempting to try and play “name that tune” with the piece, but after a while, the work becomes its own entity and takes on a near-Gershwin quality. Saunier’s orchestration of his band’s melodies serves to illustrate the hidden complexity of the group’s pop craft.
— Tiny Mix Tapes
The work was met with an enthusiastic reception by the audience, a few of whom, in earshot, pointed out Saunier’s classical training as the backbone of the piece’s success. (Saunier studied at Oberlin in the early ‘90s.) However, while Saunier’s classical background certainly bubbled to the surface, the work owes just as much to his DIY ethic and unabashed spirit of experimentation.
— Feast of Music