Composer/performer Dave Soldier, who has challenged the boundaries of composed music in projects including the Thai Elephant Orchestra, and The People’s Choice music: The Most Wanted and Unwanted Songs offers a collection of his work for classical musicians on the double CD Chamber Music on Mulatta Records.

Soldier defines “chamber music” as scored works for a small number of classically trained players. His chamber pieces are highly virtuosic and often require an understanding of American musical styles. The pieces have attracted the participation of some stellar performers, including: Regina Carter, violinist and recent winner of a MacArthur “genius” award Erik Friedlander, classical cellist and experimental improvisor William Schimmel, widely considered the world’s most virtuosic classical accordionist Robert Dick, the primary innovator of extended techniques for flute. Walter Hilse, one of our era’s best interpreters of polyphonic organ music.

Duo Sonata for violin & cello uses phrasing inspired by the Coltrane Quartet.

East St. Louis 1968 for viola & electronics is a sound painting of the composer’s memories as an 11-year old carrying a viola through his home-town in Southern Illinois.

Utah Dances for alto sax is a baroque dance suite that incorporates North American powwow dances.

Little Andre for bass flute portrays a young rap artist, about 11 years old, who Soldier worked with in the early days of hip hop.

The Unfolding Opium Poppy for violin & piano is an excerpt from a new collection inspired by turn of the century virtuoso encores.

Sontag in Sarajevo is dedicated to Susan Sontag’s production of Waiting for Godot during the Balkan War.

Clever Hans is a ballet written version of the East European folk-tale by the dance troupe Freefall Hockets and Inventions for organ uses Inventions that alternate between 2 and 3 melodic lines: all of the Hockets are in 3 melody lines. The Hockets each contain a “ground” from other music, the first two from medieval plainsong, one from the Neville Brothers, one each from Soldier’s composition teachers Otto Luening and Roscoe Mitchell, and one from Coltrane’s A Love Supreme.

p8_sulzer.jpgDave Soldier lives two lives: as neuroscientist and as composer, violinist, guitarist and producer. He founded the first orchestra for animals, the Thai Elephant Orchestra of Lampang, in 2000. His collaborative music with 2-10 year old children in Brooklyn (The Tangerine Awkestra) and East Harlem (Da Hiphop Raskaz) can be heard on releases from Mulatta Records, of which he is founder.

He founded the seminal punk chamber group, the Soldier String Quartet in 1985, pioneering the use of amplified instruments and a repertoire that erased the boundaries between classical and popular music and now leads the Andalusian band The Spinozas and the Delta punk group, the Kropotkins.

Mr. Soldier’s compositions include The People’s Choice Music, based upon poll results of musical likes and dislikes of the American population, in collaboration with artists Komar & Melamid; collaborations with Kurt Vonnegut; and repertoire performed on specially designed instruments by songbirds and pygmy chimpanzees.

Soldier has recorded, composed, and arranged for television and film (Sesame Street, I Shot Andy Warhol), for pop and jazz acts including John Cale, David Byrne, Guided by Voices, Bo Diddley, and for orchestra and opera.

As, Dave Sulzer (his real name) he is professor in the Neurology and Psychiatry departments at Columbia University. Head of a large neuroscience laboratory, he is credited with a discoveries in brain disease and synaptic function underlying learning, among them the molecular rnechanism of the action of amphetamine.