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The Year of Brad Lubman

Brad Lubman has been involved in the new music scene for nearly two decades but this looks like his breakthrough season.  Conductor/composer Lubman makes his guest conductor debut at the helm of the  American Composers Orchestra Friday evening at  Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, when the ACO kicks off its 30th season with its first Orchestra Underground Composers OutFront! concert.

In addition to leading the orchestra in music from Michael Gatonska,  Evan Ziporyn, Michael Gandolfi, Susie Ibarra,  Charles Ives and our own wunderkind Corey Dargel,  Lubman will conduct the world premiere of his own Fuzzy Logic, for woodwinds, brass, percussion, synthesizer, piano, and amplified cello and video. Lauren Radnofsky is amplified cello soloist and Boom Design Group creates the visual designs.

The program will be repeated at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia on Sunday, October 15 at 7:30pm.

If you miss those shows, Lubman’s  new music group Electric Fuzz will be gigging Friday, October 20, starting at 7 pm, at Joe’s Pub Electric Fuzz was formed in 2006 by performers and composers who played together as members of the Musica Nova Ensemble at the Eastman School of Music.  The group is currently collaborating with Boom Design Group, a team of virtuoso visual artists and web designers, who draw on their own performance backgrounds to produce improvised and interactive video installations.

The Joe’s Pub event will feature the premiere of a new Lubman work named for Electric Fuzz; plus Jumping to Conclusions, a quartet with electronics; and several pieces for violin, cello and synth that Lubman has co-composed with ensemble member Lauren Radnofsky. Music by David Lang and Pierre Boulez rounds-out the event.

Lubman has enjoyed a busy and multi-faceted career, but is probably best known among new music insiders as a gifted utility infielder who can deliver a superior performance from any world-class orchestra or ensemble on a moment’s notice, a talent honed by having been Assistant Conductor to the mercurial and (in my view) inexplicable Oliver Knussen at the Tanglewood Music Center from 1989-94. 

This is his well-deserved chance to bat cleanup.

Comments

Comment from Daniel G.
Time: October 10, 2006, 2:58 pm

Got to see Brad Lubman conduct at a Carnegie Hall workshop with Boulez and the EI…back in 1999 or 2000, i think.

Unfortunately, for tha audience and Mr. Lubman, Boulez wouldn’t let him have the podium, with the exception of maybe one read through of the Schoenberg Chamber Sym. Op. 9.

Comment from Aaron
Time: October 11, 2006, 12:25 am

His work w/ Ensemble Modern at Huddersfield ’05, conducting Nono, Lachenmann, Gervasoni, and others, was truly superb. I had seen him do more or less nothing but Reich for 5 yrs in Buffalo (mostly w the extremely talented kids at Eastman), and was always impressed if vaguely skeptical (as much as I like Reich’s work, it’s hardly a conductorly challenge), but seeing his range at Huddersfield convinced me that he’s really the top American new music conductor of his generation.

Must say, this rep w the ACO doesn’t seem to show his true skill. I’d love to see him start to really work as an advocate for new music (in all its forms) in the USA. I’m really frustrated w/ the number of talented performers who maintain completely separate and largely incompatible careers in Europe and the USA. It smacks of pandering, to me.

I have no objection to the works he’s programmed w/ the ACO, but it seems a very particular brand of new music Americana. He’s capable of much, much more.

Comment from David Rakowski
Time: October 11, 2006, 9:26 pm

Well, gee, I hope Aaron doesn’t mean to imply that Nono, Lachenmann, Gervasoni and unspecified “others” is “more” than Gatonska, Ziporyn, Gandolfi, Ibarra, Ives, and Dargel. ’cause the implication is pretty strong. I have a hard time figuring where the “pandering” is here.

Then again, I could be wrong.

Comment from Phillip
Time: October 12, 2006, 9:16 am

Count me as another Brad fan here. Aaron, I mostly agree about Reich being not so much a “conductorly challenge,” but “The Cave” is an exception, because of the constantly changing tempi and insertion of 5/32 bars and the like. We just did it with Brad in London and he did a great job as always.

Comment from corey dargel
Time: October 12, 2006, 10:32 am

One of the great things about Brad (in addition to being an incredibly generous and kind person) is that he doesn’t dismiss a score that *looks* easy as actually easy. This is one of the greatest problems facing many composers who are using a minimum of material for maximum effect. Back when I was still writing pieces that required a conductor, I’d often get screwed over because the conductor would schedule a tiny amount of rehearsal time for the orchestra to learn a score that looked deceptively simple. Brad is much smarter than that.

For the record, my piece on the ACO concerts is NOT an orchestra piece and does not require a conductor. But I’ve seen Brad rehearse in a few different contexts (rehearsal, recording studio, performance, etc.) and he’s great.

Why anyone would suggest that Reich’s music is easy to conduct is a total mystery to me.

Comment from Aaron
Time: October 12, 2006, 10:34 am

No no, Davey, I didn’t in any way mean to suggest any sense of more/less in my discussion of those composers, only that it bugs me to see conductors/performers (and, in some cases, even composers) running parallel careers, one in Europe (where one programs “Euro” music), and one in the USA. It’s of course true that Lubman probably does more American music in Europe than any other conductor, so my point is a rather stupid one in this case, but I would _love_ to be able to see the sort of concert I saw him do at Huddersfield last year here stateside. The pandering part isn’t that the repertoire is lesser, only that it gives audiences what they already know they like.

But, I’ll tip-toe back out onto the limb to at least say that, yes, from a conductorly standpoint, it’s an awful lot harder to put together strong performances of Nono/Lachenmann/Gervasoni than the ACO rep. The technical, formal, dynamic, registral, gestural, rhythmic, metrical, etc. challenges do seem much greater in the former repertoire, though I -of course- don’t necessarily see that as “better,” or even “more,” to use your term. Just harder. And the point of my first post was that Lubman clearly has the chops.

I will now attempt to carefully dislodge my foot from my mouth.

Comment from andrea
Time: October 12, 2006, 12:39 pm

from this side of the pond, we want to hear american music. from the other side of the pond, they want to hear european music. it’s not pandering; it’s normal. we all want to look at ourselves in the mirror and coo. i hope they’re programming music by japanese folks in japan, you know? we can’t all rule the world.

Pingback from The Year of Brad Lubman « Musica Novacaine
Time: October 12, 2006, 2:51 pm

[…] From Sequenza 21, an extraordinary article on Whassup With Brad Down In New York City Right Now. with Comments. here.  check it out.  […]

Comment from Aaron
Time: October 12, 2006, 3:05 pm

“from this side of the pond, we want to hear american music. from the other side of the pond, they want to hear european music. it’s not pandering”

That strikes me as unbelievably provincial and short-sighted, and frankly, patently false. There are _loads_ of American composers being performed regularly in Europe, and a number who were/are incredibly influential in European music.

Comment from Evan Johnson
Time: October 12, 2006, 5:27 pm

from this side of the pond, we want to hear american music. from the other side of the pond, they want to hear european music.

Not quite. I am as American as apple pie at a baseball game (go Tigers), and I want to hear someone with Lubman’s chops in as wide a variety of repertoire as he’s comfortable with. The ability to can do Reich and Lachenmann (for example) at the same high level is in my experience exceedingly rare, and if he’s not doing the latter because he thinks Americans don’t want to hear it that is a travesty, because few if any Americans can do it – or want to.

And insofar as what you say is true, in the US or in Europe – and I’m not saying it isn’t, because to a large degree it is – I’d say it’s a problem to be fought against.

Comment from Evan Johnson
Time: October 12, 2006, 5:28 pm

Oh, and don’t listen to Aaron – I hear he watches soccer.

Comment from Marcus Macauley
Time: October 12, 2006, 6:56 pm

For what it’s worth, in the last three years, Eastman’s Musica Nova under Brad’s direction has done music by Rihm, Lachenmann, Francesconi, Birtwhistle and Xenakis, as well as Carter, Wuorinen, Mackey, Reich, Glass, Wolfe, and Ziporyn (off the top of my head), not to mention many student works. As a performer, composer, and listener, I think it’s been a pretty admirable variety.

Other locations/venues, I can’t comment.

Comment from Aaron
Time: October 12, 2006, 7:48 pm

Very glad to hear it, Marcus. I stand duly corrected.

Comment from Aaron
Time: October 12, 2006, 8:26 pm

And for the record, Evan & I used to get together on Sundays to watch the Bills. Thankfully, I now live in a town w/ a real football team. And also, it’s true, a damn fine soccer team. ;-)

Comment from Brad
Time: October 30, 2006, 2:30 pm

Thank you, everyone, for your comments, support and enthusiasm. I would like to add my own comment, about programming: Conductors don’t always get to choose the programs! In fact, in 20 + years in the business, I have almost never had any input for programming. I get asked to conduct concerts for which the programs have already been made. Luckily I have ecclectic tastes. But another interesting thing to me is that many people see me as some sort of Reich specialist. That’s because as I started to become more well known in recent years, it coincided with my working with Reich and the Ensemble Modern, who initially engaged me for all Reich stuff. However, from 1985 – 95 I never conducted any Reich (or Adams or Glass, etc etc etc). I was strictly what we used to call a hardcore uptown New Yorker! —- (Carter, Boulez, Wuorinen, etc etc). Luckily, after many years of introspection, I realized that there’s a wide range of music I happen to like, and therefore opened up to all sorts of music. So to go from Boulez to Reich, for example, is quite natural for me. It’s just funny to me that there are a number of people who think I mostly do Reich or have only recently started doing other stuff, when actually it’s the other way around. Anyway, I’ve learned that nothing is as it seems to the public or on the surface. Funny how reputations get started, or rumours, or whatever.
Thanks for listening! It’s heartwarming to know that what we do really matters to our listening audience!