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BARDO Released today, 7/15/14 || Ranked #12 on iTunes Classical!

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BARDO Is officially Released!

& was ranked #12 on iTunes classical as of today!

 

You can download it on iTunes and order the album on CD or a very special limited edition Vinyl version with special artwork.

 

All Music BARDO Premiere, Full Album Streaming NOW!

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For A Limited Time, ‘BARDO’ is premiering in full on All Music.

Sit back with some good headphones, or some big speakers and enjoy the new album in its entirety.

CLICK HERE!

 

 

BARDO- Now Available for Pre-Order!

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PLEASE VISIT THE DEDICATED ‘BARDO’ SITE:

WWW.BARDOALBUM.COM

 CLICK  TO PRE-ORDER

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ALBUM SAMPLER:

 

 

 

 

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I’m very excited to announce the iTunes pre-order of my upcoming album “BARDO”. I’ve worked on this project for three years, and am elated to share it now with the world. It’s been quite an amazing and unique journey, and you’ll be hearing and seeing more about the details soon. This album was an engineering feat, and featured some of the world’s greatest musicians (47 of them!) It was produced by myself, with the orchestral sessions produced by Grammy award winning and classical music legend, Adam Abeshouse. It features the playing of members of the Czech Philharmonic and Prague Philharmonic Orchestras conducted by the phenomenal young  conductor Teddy Abrams. The lovely and incredibly talented singer and composer, Bora Yoon shares her ethereal vocals as one of the ‘Voices of the Bardos’; and one of the world’s greatest percussionists, Javier Diaz, played numerous Orchestral and ambient percussion instruments over four intense days of tracking at Our Silent Canvas’ studio in Woodstock, NY.  I composed the work, and contributed guitar, vocals, ambient instruments, electronics and co-mixed it with my dear friend, multi-grammy award winning engineer, Silas Brown. The album also is accompanied by the incredible artwork of my brilliant friend DZO Olivier, whom I worked with previously on the 2013 choral works. The iTunes version is accompanied by liner notes featuring six of Olivier’s images offering an illustrated story of the Bardo Epic along a detailed description of the narrative.

As perhaps some of you have heard, the music industry is in a very volatile state right now. With free streaming and the degradation of recording budgets, it has become much more difficult to produce detailed recordings featuring so many great artists. The best way to contribute as fans and music-lovers is to support the artists who still believe that studio recording is a valid and serious art form. Please consider pre-ordering this album and sharing the news with your friends, supporting the non-profit label Our Silent Canvas, all the great artists who contributed to this remarkable project and myself. With your help, we will continue to bring some captivating work to you in the near future. Thank you for your support!

The brilliant Music Video by Tobias Stretch for “Unity”

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Check out the review at Vice’s Creators Project!

Video artist Tobias Stretch (Radiohead, Deftones) has created a new 5-minute animated puppetry, stop- action film inspired by composer Christopher Bono’s choral work, Unity. This extraordinary video was constructed from over ten thousand pictures and created largely outdoors over the long 2013-2014 winter. A recording of Unity paired with Bono’s The Unexcelled Mantra, performed by the New York Virtuoso Singers led by Harold Rosenbaum, was released as a digital download and on 7” vinyl in October 2013, on Our Silent Canvas distributed digitally by Naxos.

Film written and directed by Tobias Stretch
Music By Christopher Bono
Performed by the New York Virtuoso Singers
Conducted by Harold Rosenbaum
©Our Silent Canvas 2014

Text from Plato’s ‘Republic’:

“What is absolute unity? 
This is the way, In which the study of One 
has the power of drawing and converting the Mind 
to the contemplation of True Being.”

 

NOUS: A Musical Rite

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NOUS06_1_7_RITE_IMAGE 2 in

The first NOUS project is complete!
Thanks to all the incredible people involved.

Check out the New York Times article about our performance!

New Film by Ingibjörg Birgisdóttir for “The Unexcelled Mantra”

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Christopher Bono, “The Unexcelled Mantra”
Film written and directed by Ingibjörg Birgisdóttir
©2013 Our Silent Canvas

Icelandic visual artist Ingibjörg Birgisdóttir created a new video inspired by my recent choral work, “The Unexcelled Mantra”.

This is the first of two videos created in response to two new choral works — The Unexcelled Mantra and Unity — both of which were recorded and released in October by the New York Virtuoso Singers led by Harold Rosenbaum on Our Silent Canvas. The next video, by artist Tobias Stretch for Bono’s work Unity, will be available on December 3. In the spirit of experimentation and creativity, I encouraged as much artistic freedom as possible to both film artists, allowing them to create their own personal statements in response to the music.

The Unexcelled Mantra is a setting of text from the Heart Sutra, a sacred text in Mahayana Buddhism on understanding Shunyata, or Emptiness, in order to realize Nirvana. The mantra reads “gaté gaté paragaté parasamgaté bodhi svaha,” which can be translated as “Go, go, go beyond, go totally beyond, be rooted in the ground of enlightenment.”
Of her video for The Unexcelled Mantra, Birgisdóttir says, “In this video I rearranged body parts and made some hominoid- jellyfish creatures floating amidst the Icelandic landscape. They appear, linger for a little while and then float away. They represent the impermanent and transient nature of existence and how we are constantly changing and reinventing ourselves. Although there is a quality of sameness within our being, we are always growing and mutating like the strange, amorphous entities of the video.”

Ingibjörg Birgisdóttir graduated from the visual arts department of the Icelandic Art Academy in 2006. She held her first solo exhibition in the Reykjavík Art Museum in 2009 and has exhibited both in Europe and America. Birgisdóttir has made album covers and music videos for bands such as Sigurrós, Jónsi, Múm, Seabear, Sin Fang, Sóley and many more and released her first film Grandma Lo-Fi, The Basement Tapes of Sigrí!ur Níelsdóttir in 2011. She lives and works in Reykjavík.

The Unexcelled Mantra and Unity, contemplate the search for a modern form of spirituality. Both works explore a path to transcendence or ‘true being’ through union with the cosmos — The Unexcelled Mantra from a Mahayana Buddhist point of view and Unity from the Western philosophical tradition of Plato.

Visual artist DZO Olivier has created original illustrations for the cover art for Unity and The Unexcelled Mantra audio recordings, intimately influenced by Bono’s music and the concepts it explores. 

New Choral Music Now Available!

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Dear Wonderful World!

 

 

 

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Our Silent Canvas and I released two new singles, Unity and The Unexcelled Mantra, performed by The New York Virtuoso Singers led by music director Harold Rosenbaum.

The recordings were made at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York by Grammy-winning producer Silas Brown.

My new collaborator and friend, visual artist DZO Olivier, has created original illustrations for the cover art for Unity and The Unexcelled Mantra recordings, intimately influenced by the music and the concepts it explores. (Videos inspired by these works created by film artists Tobias Stretch (Radiohead, Deftones) and Ingibjörg Birgisdóttir (Sigur Rós) will be released on November 5, 2013.)

A little about the works:

Unity and The Unexcelled Mantra both contemplate the search for a contemporary relationship to spirituality . Both works explore a path to transcendence or ‘true being’ through union with the cosmos. The Unexcelled Mantra from a Mahayana Buddhist point of view and Unity from the Western philosophical tradition of Plato.

Unity is a choral piece based on some of the musical and philosophical concepts of Plato’s Republic. The chosen text was taken from a section of the Republic in which Plato discusses the power of mathematics, but I immediately saw it could also be viewed as a metaphor for the phenomenon of meditation. This multi-dimensional observation was a key inspiration for me when writing the work, both considering the mathematical qualities of music and the esoteric concepts of achieving union with the All.  In addition, I experimented with the power Plato claimed existed in the Dorian and Phrygian modes. According to Plato, the Dorian would “fittingly imitate the utterances and accents of a brave man who is engaged in warfare,” while the Phrygian was suitable “for a man engaged in works of peace.”

The Unexcelled Mantra is a setting of text from the Heart Sutra, a sacred text in Mahayana Buddhism on understanding Shunyata, or Emptiness, in order to realize Nirvana. The mantra reads “gaté gaté paragaté parasamgaté bodhi svaha,” which can be translated as “Go, go, go beyond, go totally beyond, be rooted in the ground of enlightenment.”

The release of Unity and The Unexcelled Mantra follows my first classical album, Invocations, a chamber music collection released in fall 2012 and on vinyl in August 2013. The originality and inventiveness of Invocations was noted by composer and writer Frank Oteri in NewMusicBox, who wrote, “While much of 21st-century contemporary composition is not beholden to any rules, to the extent that I could probably claim everyone to be an ‘outsider’ in some ways, Bono’s music sounds as though everything he writes is something he is discovering for the very first time, even if there are clear reference points throughout to the sound worlds of other composers from both our own time and other eras.”

The Inspiration behind “The Unexcelled Mantra & Unity”

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A short video about my upcoming choral releases.

Available October 15th!

Limited Edition 180g Vinyl Version of Invocations is Now Available!

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“Best in modern chamber music.”
- Examiner.com

“…mellow and approachable, with vivid sonorities that linger in the memory.”
- Blair Sanderson, AllMusic

“If you like Michael Nyman, you’ll probably like Christopher Bono. This composer-produced recording stands out for the engineering’s clean and clear quality and the focused precision of the performers.”
Jed Distler, Gramophone

“…Bono concocts a broad, enticing, and unfamiliar musical landscape.”
– Micaele Sparacino, ConcertoNet.com

About the album:

Invocations is Bono’s first public release in seven years, and his first classical album. It features music for string trio, string quartet, and chamber ensemble, enhanced with electronics and field recordings.The focus of the album is Invocations, an emotional three-movement work that builds from string trio to chamber ensemble (string quartet, bass, harp, winds, percussion, and sampling). The album also includes The Missing for string quartet, written in 2010 for the European American Musical Alliance and premiered in Paris that year. An instrumental-only version of “Fish, Father, Phoenix,” the second movement of Invocations, completes the record.

Christopher Bono entered the world of classical music much later than most of his contemporaries. He spent his childhood and teenage years devoted to baseball; in 1999 he was drafted by the Seattle Mariners but an injury kept him from playing. Filling the void left by the end of his athletic endeavors, Bono began playing the guitar when he was 21, and for several years he toured, recorded, and performed in an alternative roots-rock style. In his mid-20s, he made the choice to learn classical composition techniques in order to more fully realize his music. For seven years, in nearly hermetic isolation, he taught himself to read music, and studied composition independently with Juilliard professor Kendall Briggs and at La Scola Cantorum in Paris.

Invocations was Bono’s first album after these years of reflection and learning. Its originality and inventiveness was noted by composer and writer Frank Oteri in NewMusicBox, who wrote, “While much of 21st-century contemporary composition is not beholden to any rules, to the extent that I could probably claim everyone to be an ‘outsider’ in some ways, Bono’s music sounds as though everything he writes is something he is discovering for the very first time, even if there are clear reference points throughout to the sound worlds of other composers from both our own time and other eras.”

Invocations was written by Bono as a grown son’s tribute to his father, and each movement is, according to the composer, based on “a stanza from an inscribed personal prayer.” The first movement, “Exhaust,” is written for the exposed instrumentation of the string trio. Bono describes it as contemplating “the phases of our lives when great physical and emotional suffering is present.” The second movement, “Fish, Father, Phoenix,” explores the shifting philosophies and perspectives experienced within one’s lifetime and reflects upon man’s place in the natural world. The piece employs samples of the composer’s father’s voice mixed with field recordings of animals and insects that Bono made while traveling in South Africa and Botswana. The title is taken from Bono’s research into Manly P. Hall’s The Secret Teachings of All Ages, and invokes the full cycle of time – past, present, and future. Bono describes the third movement of Invocations, “Sunday Stills the Willow,” as a “wish for peace, love, and reconciliation expressed as a personal musical message.”

The string quartet on the album, The Missing, explores the sensations of loss, confusion, and ultimately clarity. Bono combines a mournful theme and allusions to the music of Haydn, Beethoven, George Crumb, and Gloria Coates with judicious and skilled use of extended string techniques, and even material inspired by the indigenous music of Togo in West Africa.

Ambient Overdubs for the Bardo Album at Blue Cliff Monastery

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Monday, May 6th we recorded Ambient Overdubs and Gigantic Guitars at Blue Cliff Monastery.

Blue Cliff Monastery was established in 2007 by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh to

share the practice of mindful living.  It was such a gift to be in this special space

for the whole day experimenting with these atmospheric sounds. 

The highlight of my day was when one Brother

came to kindly offer us dinner and to ask,

“Was that you making gigantic whale sounds all day?

We were listening from outside and amazed at how beautiful it sounded!”

Yes, Brother, that was me… communing with the Spectral field of Dream Dolphins. In mindfulness… C

To see some more images visit the GALLERY PAGE!

 

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