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Next week is the third annual Composers Concordance Festival in New York City. They’ve called it ‘Timbre Tantrum,’ organizing the concerts by instrumental family:

PERCUSSION

Dec. 1 – 3pm
ArtBeat
with Glen Velez, Lukas Ligeti, Peter Jarvis.
Dimenna Center (W. 37th St. NYC)
3pm

Dec. 2 – 7pm
ArtBeat (repeat of program)
William Patterson University

KEYS

Dec. 4 – 7pm
Three’s Keys with Taka Kigawa, Inna Faliks and Carlton Holmes
music by Dan Cooper, Milica Paranosic, Gene Pritsker, Sean Hickey, Debra Kaye, Carlton Holmes, Daniel Palkowski and guests
Klavierhaus (211 W. 58th St. NYC)

ELECTRONIC MUSIC

Dec. 6 – 8pm
E-nstallation: Electronics, Fashion and Projections
Music by: Dan Cooper, Milica Paranosic, Gene Pritsker, Svjetlana Bukvich, David Morneau, Daniel Palkowski, Lynn Bechtold
Fashion: Vicky Vale
Projections: Gorazd Poposki
Gallery MC, 549 W. 52nd St. 8th Fl, NYC

STRINGS

Dec. 7 – 8pm
Legends
with the CompCord String Orchestra
Music by Dan Cooper, Otto Luening, Milica Paranosic, Gene Pritsker, Dave Soldier and Randy Woolf
West Park Presbyterian Church
165 W 86th St. NYC

FRETATHON
Dec. 8 – 8pm
a three-hour marathon of three-minute pieces for fretted strings performed by the composers
Drom NYC, 85 Avenue A

For more information and to buy tickets, visit:the festival website.

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resonant-bodies-sept-5thtk2

Thursday night kicked off the Resonant Bodies Festival, a new 3-day parade of contemporary vocal music at ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn.

Each night features three young singers performing programs of their favorite music. This curatorial freedom gave last night’s show a happy zealousness, where the singers’ enthusiasm for their repertoire was contagious.

Festival curator Lucy Dhegrae marked out a broad territory in her set. Beginning with Jason Eckardt’s mantic Dithyramb, she swiftly established her virtuosity in an elastic, preverbal but hyper-articulate world. In Old Virginny, by Shawn Jaeger, juxtaposed a forthright Appalachian lament with a snarling, snaky bassline, played athletically by Doug Balliett, to surprisingly tender effect. Balliett then took the mic for the premiere of his newest Ovid rap cantata, #11, Clytie and the Sun. While not the most arresting of his cycle (see Echo and Narcissus), it delivered a highly entertaining mix of humor and pathos, and Dhegrae’s theatrical arias, as the smitten Sun, were the perfect foil to his informal Narrator. Read the rest of this entry »

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This weekend, the Austin New Music Co-op celebrates its 10th year of wild music with two nights of concerts. The programs will function partly as a retrospective on those years, reprising some of their most ambitious and unique projects, like last year’s massive US premiere of Cornelius Cardew’s “The Great Learning” (excerpted now with the Texas Choral Consort). Other group milestones on the program include:

Two of Morton Feldman‘s chamber works “de Kooning” and “The Viola in my Life”
Alvin Lucier‘s “Still and Moving Lines of Silence in Families of Hyperbolas” for vibraphone and sine waves, as well as an installation in the lobby for “unattended percussion” and sine waves.
Excerpts of Earle Brown‘s “Folio” performed by chamber ensemble
Arnold Dreyblatt‘s 2007 “Kinship Collapse” commissioned by NMC

The New Music Co-op is also a cohort of composers, and a selection of their pieces will also appear on the programs:

Brent Fariss‘ “I apologize Julius, for judging you” for amplified chamber ensemble.
Nick Hennies‘ “Second skin with lungs” for snare drums
Keith Manlove‘s “Becoming Machine II” for voice and electronics
Bill Meadows‘ “Loose Atoms” for wacom graphics tablet.
Travis Weller‘s “Toward and away from the point of balance” for violin, viola, cello and custom instrument “the owl”

Here’s to many happy returns.

WHERE/WHEN/HOW:
Friday March 23rd 8pm &
Saturday March 24th 7pm

At the MACC (600 River St, Austin TX)
Advance tickets available now at End of an Ear (http://endofanear.com)
$17 one night / $25 both nights
Student and advance tickets discounted to $15 one night / $20 both nights

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DZ4: Alicia Lee, Brad Balliett, Alma Liebrecht, Arthur Sato

 

Watching the beginning of a new ensemble is always exciting.  But there’s a difference between a group that sets up camp in known territory — say, in the mineral-rich lands of string quartet literature, or in the breadbasket of Pierrot — and a group that strikes out for the wilderness, to make a repertoire where there had been none.

In the last year, I’ve seen the launch of two groups with this mission.   The Deviant Septet went to that place Stravinsky discovered in “L’histoire du Soldat” but that was never settled by others — clarinet, trumpet, trombone, bass, bassoon, violin, percussion.  They added two new pieces, by Ruben Naeff and Sefan Freund, at their incredibly fun inaugural concert in May.  By next May there will 12 more by 12 new composers, all based on Stockhausen’s Tierkreis.

The DZ4 wind quartet (that’s oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn) has a similar mission, to build a repertoire from scratch through projects that involve many composers tackling similar projects.  Their debut concert, “One Hot Minute,” featured 20 one-minute compositions by 20 different composers (I got to be one, and was much rewarded by their terrific musicianship and heartfelt enthusiasm).  This Friday they’ll perform their second project, “The Well-Tempered DZ4,” in which 24 composers each take on a different minor or major key.

These groups are doing something that I, especially as a composer, find really inspiring — they’re committing to an unknown music.  Composers, go write for them!  They’re stellar players, great to work with; check out the concert and say hi.

 

The Well-Tempered DZ4
Friday October 21st, 2011
10:15pm
Greenwich House
46 Barrow Street, New York
C Major- Jacob Garchik
A Minor- Bradley Detrick
G Major- Karl Kramer
E Minor- Lauren Winterbottom
D Major- Pauline Kim
B Minor- Jonathan Russell
A Major- Evan Premo
F# Minor- Gareth Flowers
E Major- Eric Wubbels
C# Minor- Jane Antonia Cornish
B Major- James Blachly
G# Minor- Ted Hearne
F# Major- Mohammed Fairouz
Eb Minor- Caleb Burhans
Db Major- Mike Block
Bb Minor- David Byrd-Marrow
Ab Major- Charlie Porter
F Minor- Glenn Cornett
Eb Major- Nathan Burke
C Minor- Matt McBane
Bb Major- Ryan Carter
G Minor- Ken Thomson
F Major- Zachary Detrick
D Minor- Ryan Francis

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I’m excited to share a piece of music that is very close to my heart: Marc Chan’s My Wounded Head cycle, the third installment of which will be performed this Sunday at The Stone.

The title comes from a set of five chorales from Bach’s St Matthew’s Passion, “O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden” (“O Sacred Head Now Wounded”). These chorales have become an obsession for Marc, and each station of his cycle forges a new “road trip” through the notes, patiently spinning them out into strange and beautiful patterns. Number 3, for solo piano, pushes this patience into sublime territory — each bar is repeated ad libitum, with the premiere clocking in around 1:20 — but the rhythms mesmerize, and you may even feel it not long enough.

Pianist Rob Haskins, to whom the piece is dedicated, has deep roots in both Cage and, through the harpsichord, Bach, which goes a long way to explain the — I can only say understanding — that pervades his performance of this music.

Also on the program: Chan’s arrangement of Cage’s In A Landscape for piano, guitar and saxophone.

Sunday, September 25
8pm: Margaret Leng Tan plays John Cage: Four Walls
10pm: In a Landscape, My Wounded Head 3
The Stone

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I’m always excited to hear when something rad is happening in my hometown. Austin’s one of those special places where music, by both general consent and official decree, is a priority. It’s literally what the town has decided to Be About. But I’ve always had the sense that the wild/literate/overachiever/weirdo dimensions were under-represented — though, actually, I probably just wasn’t paying attention. I am now, and I’m kicking myself that I’ll have to miss this ark:

The intrepid Austin New Music Co-op have erected Cornelius Cardew’s masterpiece “The Great Learning.” It’s 5+ hours long, spanning two evenings, featuring more than 60 trained and untrained performers including chorus and pipe organ. Usually excerpted, this will be the first performance in the US of the work in it’s entirety, and the second night falls on what would have been Cardew’s 75th birthday. More about the concert and the Co-op.

Friday May 6th @ 7:00pm (Paragraphs 1, 2, 3 & 4)
Saturday May 7th @ 6:00pm (Paragraphs 5, 6 & 7)
Central Presbyterian Church
200 East 8th Street

Advance tickets available now at End of an Ear (http://endofanear.com)
$17 one night / $25 both nights
Student and advance tickets discounted to $15 one night / $20 both nights

In Austin? Going to the show? Leave a comment about your experience, or shoot me an email! I’m sorry to miss it.

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SEMC

SEMC in action, Dec. 2009

In Chicago?  There’s a concert this week I wish I could attend — maybe you’ll be my proxy –

The Sissy-Eared Mollycoddles (named for a colorful bit of Ives invective), is a hub for an enthusiastic community of young Chicago performers and composers.

Their upcoming concert, “Ghost Towns,” will feature two premieres: Brian Baxter‘s mountainous Lulu City and Eric Malmquist’s take on the traditional Irish Folksong, The Wind that Shakes the Barley.  Luke Gullickson’s epic Terlingua Meditations, Ben Hjertmann’s raucous Dakruvoso, and James Klopfleisch’s miniature for two violins, Cairn, round out the evening.

Thursday, May 20, 2010 7:30pm
Curtiss Hall, Fine Arts Building
410 S Michigan Avenue, 10th Floor
Chicago, IL 60605
$10 suggested donation at the door

Going to this concert?  Leave a comment here and let us know what you thought!

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doug Monday last week I headed over to San Antonio to hear a house concert hosted by composer and San Antonio Symphony bassist Doug Balliett. The program included two new pieces by P. Kellach Waddle, “Louange a l’Eternite de Jesus” from Messiaen‘s Quartet for the End of Time, and selections from Balliett’s arrangements and reinventions of Schumann‘s Dichterliebe for ensemble and tape. Balliett also contributed three new songs and arrangements of two by Mendelssohn, sung by Ken-David Masur.

It was hot. The audience, which ranged from symphony players to kids and families, made do with hand-fans but, now that I think about it, maybe the heat got to our brains in a good way. Balliett’s inquiry into Dichterliebe — sometimes faithful to Schumann, sometimes wild, gorgeous — stood out as an encouraging example of how the politics of old/new fall by the wayside in enthusiastic and creative hands.

I’m always encouraged by informal events like this. It’s refreshing to remember that institutions don’t have a monopoly on the music I love.

Performances (in attendance or on tape) by Stephanie Teply-Westney, Benjamin Westney-Teply, Lauren Magnus, PK Waddle, Alison Fletcher, Mollie Marcuson, Catherine Turner, Tal Perkes, Matt Zerweck, Ilya Sterenberg, Rachel Ferris, Doug Balliett and Ken-David Masur.

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While online culture increasingly favors a posture of transparent, even mundane personhood, Igor Ballereau and Jody Pou buck this trend with the enigmatic netlabel SHSK’H.

The name, the presentation, and the music all project a common esthetic: hushed, cryptic, reverential and sensual.  This singularity of vision makes the experience compelling.  Both the performances and recording quality are awesomely good.

There are currently three releases, presenting works by Ballereau, Kenneth Kirschner, Aaron Siegel, Giuliano D’Angiolini, and Etsuko Chida performing traditional Japanese koto kumiuta.  Recordings of Webern by Jody Pou and Emily Manzo are planned for this summer, and something for Garth Knox will go up this winter.

The recordings are made available free under a Creative Commons license, but donations are invited.

I’m inspired by both the music and the model; SHSK’H makes a persuasive case for the website as performance space.

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