In 2002, Silas Huff moved to New York City for a girl, got a day job, and, while riding the bus into Manhattan, noticed a lot of folks getting on in Astoria carrying instrument cases. A composer and conductor himself fresh from a year in Germany, Silas started approaching these Astoria musicians, and, next thing he knew, he was holding auditions for the “Astoria Symphony.”
But the symphony was actually his second ensemble.
Back in 1995, as a classical guitar major at Texas State University, he wanted to put on some new music concerts. Now, new music concerts don’t get much attention anywhere. But Silas had an idea: he’d call his ensemble the “Lost Dog” ensemble, and make a poster whereon “Lost Dog” was writ large. Who could pass up such a sign?
Add together the Astoria Symphony and the Lost Dog New Music Ensemble, throw in the Random Access Music composers collective, and you get the Astoria Music Society—an organization that, since 2002, has performed over 85 concerts featuring everything from standard orchestral repertoire to jazz.
With AMS in place, Astoria now has a classical voice to join the vibrant pop-world music scene currently filling the neighborhood’s cafes, restaurants, and other venues. While the organization’s primary function is to serve Queens, it performs in Manhattan as well. This weekend, the Astoria Symphony kicks off the season with a program featuring world premieres by Steve Horowitz and Angelica Negron. In December, AMS’s Lost Dog Ensemble plays a program featuring music by (gosh) Sequenza21 folks. Next March, AMS collaborates with the Long Island City Ballet. Go here for more.
Attendance is, shall we say, encouraged.