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An Ecstatic Trailer for an Ecstatic Festival

Merkin Hall’s Ecstatic Music Festival kicked off this week with a seven hour long marathon of concerts on Monday. The focus of the festival is on connections between contemporary classical and current indie/pop music. Artists from both sides of the stylistic street are performing. This year, the festival runs all the way until March 28th.

This pop/classical hybridization may not be everyone’s cup o’ joe (John C. Adams has had some less than charitable things to say about it of late), but it certainly is inspiring to a number of composers in their 20s and 30s, and the energy of their work and enthusiasm of their collaborations I finding exciting.

Alas, I missed the marathon, but I’m going to see the Chiara String Quartet, performing works by Nico Muhly &  Valgeir Sigurðsson, tomorrow night (review will appear in Musical America later this week).


Comment from Susan Scheid
Time: January 19, 2011, 12:02 pm

I was able to attend a small part of the marathon, including the Chiara Quartet playing Jefferson Friedman’s String Quartet No. 3 and the NOW Ensemble playing Judd Greenstein’s City Boy. I am new to contemporary music, and I wondered why the name “Ecstatic” Music Festival, but now I know. I left ecstatic, and, along with tix to the Chiara concert Wed, I rushed to obtain tix for the ACME concert Sat, which features Friedman’s work. (& bought 3 CDs & made a contribution to the matching grant).

Bloody brilliant festival, and kudos to Greenstein as curator & to all involved in putting this together. I am curious about what J. C. Adams has said. Can you provide a link?

Comment from Christian
Time: January 19, 2011, 12:42 pm



Here’s the infamous Adams Newsweek interview, which caused something of a brouhaha here last year. I don’t mean to restart said brouhaha – I merely want to give Susan the link:

Comment from Chris Becker
Time: January 19, 2011, 1:52 pm

Am I the only one who thinks the music in this video sounds a lot like a minimalist era John Adams piece?

Comment from Susan Scheid
Time: January 21, 2011, 5:57 pm

Thanks, Christian. Very interesting, though I will also refrain from reviving an old debate. Instead, I’ll look forward to your piece in Musical America on the Chiara Concert. I went with a friend (and for your amusement, our combined ages were about 140 years old–imagine . . . or perhaps better yet, don’t!). We were thrilled by what we heard and saw. The evening was alive with passion, talent, and creativity. We felt very lucky to have been part of such an event.