Author Archive

Dither at the 2010 Invisible Dog Extravaganza! Photo by Isabelle Selby

Like the New Music Bake Sale, there’s another great Brooklyn tradition beginning to happen.  On Friday, July 8, 7:00 pm to midnight at the Invisible Dog Art Center, Dither will be hosting their second annual “Extravaganza.”

This year they will be featuring an array of experimental sounds, presented by composers and performers notorious for carving out unique musical niches.

In addition to Dither, the lineup includes renowned guitarist Marc Ribot, powerhouse quartet So Percussion, Ches Smith and These Arches (an all-star line-up including Mary Halvorson, Andrea Parkins, and Tim Berne), Ted Hearne and Philip White’s raucous noise group R We Who R We, Sound sculpting vocalist Lesley Flanigan, multi-instrumentalist Nathan Koci, and a multimedia work for suitcase radios by composer Paula Matthusen. Dither will perform works by Phill Niblock, Corey Dargel, Lisa R. Coons, Joshua Lopes, and Travis Just.

Dither’s Invisible Dog Extravaganza!
Friday July 8, 7:00 pm – Midnight
The Invisible Dog Art Center, 51 Bergen St.
F/G to Bergen, 2/3/4/5 to Borough Hall, A/C to Jay
$6 admission
Sponsored by The Brooklyn Arts Coucil and Brooklyn Brewery


(and if any of you still can’t get enough of Dither, you can listen to my recent podcast episode with James Moore here.  I’ve also recorded an interview with Taylor Levine which will be available later this summer.  You can subscribe for free in iTunes if you’re afraid you’ll miss it.)

Comments Comments Off on Invisible Dog Extravaganza!

There is another fantastic all-day new music marathon happening and tomorrow it’s Seattle’s turn for the good-times.  Sunday, May 1st, from noon-10pm is the Second Annual May Day! May Day! marathon at Town Hall in Seattle.

This 10-hour performer- and composer-driven celebration of contemporary music is produced by artistic director Paul Taub (of Seattle Chamber Players fame) and is curated by eclectic composer and pianist Wayne Horvitz, pianist Cristina Valdes, and Jarrad Powell (composer and artistic director of Gamelan Pacifica).

This years marathon features 25 sets by local ensembles and soloists, including:

Seattle Modern OrchestraMichael LimMelia WatrasChristopher DeLaurentiStuart DempsterTom Baker, Briggan Krauss/Wayne HorvitzJazzEdScrape, Maria Mannisto/Robin Holcomb, Beth FleenorZachary Watkins, Christian Asplund,  Tekla Cunningham & Harumi FlesherStephen Fandrich, Seattle Percussion Collective.

Be there!

Comments 1 Comment »

This Sunday, April 3rd, 2-10pm, the Switchboard Music Festival will present their fourth annual 8-hour music marathon at the Brava Theater in San Francisco (a new venue to accommodate the overflowing crowd they had at last year’s sold out event!). Switchboard’s goal is to bring together bands, composers, and other musicians whose work combines genres in interesting, organic ways. They place a special emphasis on music from the Bay Area, but always with an eye on the larger scene and bring in at least a few out-of-towners.

This year’s festival features up-and-coming indie band Birds & Batteries, fresh off a national tour including SxSW, and Causing a Tiger, an all-star trio featuring Carla Kihlstedt (Tin Hat, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum), Matthias Bossi (Sleepytime Gorilla Museum), and Shahzad Ismaily (Secret Chiefs 3). Leading up to these sets will be a dizzying array of eclectic performances, including Gojogo, Telepathy, The Genie, Loren Chasse, Erik Jekabson & the Bay Area Composers Big Band, and Wiener Kids. Among these will be sets of new music by composers William Brittelle, Ryan Brown, Dan Becker, and a world premiere by Jonathan Russell, all of which push at the edges of modern music and are as voracious in their influences as the festival itself.

More information on the artists, including sound clips and photos, can be found on Switchboard’s website and follow the Festival on Facebook by Sunday for a chance to get a free download by headliners Birds & Batteries.

But wait, there’s more… if you don’t live in San Francisco you can still check-out the show – they’ll be streaming it live from their website on Sunday!

Comments 2 Comments »

Here in New York we are on the cusp of another great week of concerts.  Check out as many of these as possible.

Sunday, December 5th – Two concerts at Galapagos:

1) at 4:30 the Chiara Quartet will play Gorecki’s 2nd quartet, Quasi Una Fantasia, and will premiere a new piece by Huang Ruo, Calligraffiti, which features projected video art by Seattle-based video artist Juniper Shuey.  2) and at 7:00, American Opera Projects and Opera on Tap present a show titled Sex, Cigarettes and Psychopaths (a Night of Laughs).  There will be scenes from Matt Marks’ serial killer song-cycle The Adventures of Albert Fish, Daniel Felsenfeld’s collection of comedic sex songs called La BoneMe, among other sex(y) scenes.  More information about each of these shows here.

Monday, December 6th at Miller Theatre:

First the good news: The Talea Ensemble performs the music of Boulez for the Miller Theatre Composer Portrait concert at 8pm.  Now the bad news: it’s sold out!  However, if you weren’t lucky enough to get your Boulez tickets in time, you can check out the MIVOS quartet at 9:30 at The Tank.  They’ll be performing Wolfgang Rihm and Carl Bettendorf, which is pretty cool, too!

Wednesday, December 8th at Zebulon:

The bagpipe master Matt Welch, and his group Blarvuster will release their self-titled CD at 8pm.  This show is free, folks, so make sure you pick up the new disc while you’re there.  More info here.

Thursday, December 9th on the Upper West Side:

The Metropolis Ensemble (who were just nominated for a Grammy!) will be presenting an intimate performance called, It takes a long time to become a good composer, featuring Timo Andres on piano.  You’ll want to get your tickets for this one early if you can; they’ve already added extra shows on the 10th and 11th and one night is already sold out.  More information about the show here.

Friday, December 10th at WNYC’s Greene Space:

American Opera Projects presents a workshop performance of John Glover’s one-act monodrama opera, Our Basic Nature.  Fans of WNYC’s Radiolab might recall an episode entitled “Lucy”; this opera was inspired by that show, and the libretto (by dramaturg Kelley Rourke) is taken from the memoir written by the scientist that raised a chimpanzee as his daughter.  The music will be performed by Redshift, pianist Jocelyn Dueck, and baritone Andrew Wilkowske, with projections by Erik Pearson.  More information about the show here.

Comments Comments Off on From “Quasi Una Fantasia” to “Our Basic Nature”

This Friday, December 3rd, is the second concert of the season by the American Composers Orchestra at Zankel Hall.  This concert “explores composers’ reactions to specific moments, pinpointed and analyzed, which have inspired them to create something entirely new.”

The program is titled A Time & Place and includes four world premieres commissioned by ACO.  There is a new piece by Douglas J. Cuomo entitled Black Diamond Express Train to Hell that features cellist Maya Beiser as soloist.  The Fire at 4 a.m. is Jerome Kitzke’s homage to both the creative and ceremonial fires he has tended.  Christopher Trapani explores the concept of “the West” through country guitar timbres, West African music, and psychedelic California rock in his piece, Westering.  And Ryan Francis rounds out the new ACO commissions with High Line, winner of the ACO/LVMH “A Greener New York City” commission, which was inspired by New York City’s newest park.

Speaking of the High Line, you can submit your favorite photo of the High Line Park to win two free tickets to the concert.  There is more information about the contest here and here but the deadline it 11Pm Monday, November 29th (sorry for the late notice!).

The orchestra will also perform another piece inspired by New York’s iconic landscape: Charles Ives’ Central Park in the Dark, which depicts what one might hear on a summer night in the park.

Comments Comments Off on A Time & Place

The Paul Dresher Ensemble’s Electro-Acoustic Band will be performing this coming Friday and Saturday (Nov. 12-13) at the ODC Theater in San Francisco.  More information and tickets can be found here.

The full program is below and features two world premieres, one of which is by Ryan Brown.  I was able to talk with Ryan and Paul separately on the phone about this new piece.  You can listen to a recording of their phone calls spliced together here.

Gangbusters  – Ryan Brown (world premiere)
For Joe Z – Bruce Pennycook (world premiere)
Chromatic Quadrachord – Paul Dresher (concert music premiere)
Glimpsed From Afar  – Paul Dresher (2006) duo for invented instruments
New Work – Paul Dresher; a preview of work-in-progress for the new Hurdy Grande

Comments Comments Off on Worth the Wait

A lot of important ensembles have been coming out of places like Oberlin (Eighth Blackbird), Yale (So Percussion, Now Ensemble), and Eastman (Alarm Will Sound, JACK Quartet, Signal) over the past 10+ years.  Well, it looks like there is another one trying to break through from Eastman called Eastman BroadBand.

BroadBand is preparing for a tour of Mexico that will culminate in a performance at the Festival Internacional Cervantino in Mexico City, but before they leave they will stop in New York City on Monday to pick up their visas at the Mexican consulate and perform at Columbia’s Miller Theatre (8pm).

The program features music by Silvestre Revueltas, Juan Trigos, and Alejandro Viñao, as well as Eastman faculty and BroadBand artistic directors Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez and Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon.  Eastman BroadBand has this to say about the program:

“The music on the program explores the composers’ interaction with contemporary culture through a number of seemingly diverse perspectives: the musical folklore of Mexico, Spain, and Pakistan; the literature of Juan Rulfo and Juan Trigos Sr; the kinetic sculptures of Arthur Ganson, and the ‘music of architecture’ are all examined through the abstract lenses of these imaginative artists.”

The program also features two soloists who I’ve had on the podcast this year.  You can listen to what pianist Cristina Valdes and soprano Tony Arnold have to say about performing contemporary music and working with composers here and here.

Tickets: $25 general admission, $12 students and Eastman alumni.

Comments Comments Off on BroadBand Connection

I just wanted to make sure everyone knew that tonight in Chicago the International Contemporary Ensemble will be paying tribute to an amazing violist, Omar Hernández-Hidalgo.  They have commissioned three new pieces in his honor which will be premiered at 7:30 at the Museum of Contemporary Photography.  Back in early June, Steve made us all aware of what happened and the response from the community was quick and memorable.

On a personal note, I was fortunate to be part of the Indiana University New Music Ensemble while Omar was there and I’ll always remember the day he walked in to the first rehearsal of Berio’s Chemins II for Viola and Ensemble – everyone in that room was completely speechless.  So amazing and so inspiring.  Of course every time he played this was the reaction.

Thanks to ICE for making this concert happen.  If you can get to Chicago tonight go to this concert.  More info here.

Comments Comments Off on A Tribute to Omar Hernández-Hidalgo

There are a few more concerts happening in New York this week that you should know about, and then I’ll give the concert updates a rest for a while.  Promise.

Tonight (Tuesday, October 12), is your last chance to see the New York premiere of Kraft by Magnus Lindberg.  7:30pm, New York Philharmonic, Avery Fisher Hall.  If you somehow haven’t heard about this, you can read the s21 posts about it here, here, and here; the New York Times articles and videos here, and here.  You can even find some info over at Huffington Post.  Check on ticket availability here, and see you tonight!

Thursday (October 14), like most nights here, is full of fantastic concerts to check out.  Here are two that I strongly recommend: Option #1, Transit presents So Percussion, Tristan Perich, and Corps Exquis (a collaboration between Daniel Wohl and six video artists) at Galapagos (8pm).  Option #2, Talea Ensemble is presenting a concert called KINETICS (also at 8pm at the Rose Studio at Lincoln Center); they will perform music by Philippe Leroux, Luciano Berio, Frank Denyer, Manfred Stahnke, and a world premiere by Alexandre Lunsqui appropriately titled Kineticstudies.  Good luck choosing!

Friday (October 15) is the season opener for the American Composers Orchestra (7:30pm. Zankel Hall).  Their program is called “Mystics & Magic” and they will present John Luther Adams, Jacob Druckman, Wang Jie (winner of ACO’s 2009 Underwood New Music Readings Commission), Alvin Singleton, and Claude Vivier.  And they will also be welcome two truly amazing soloists: soprano Susan Narucki (for Claude’s piece), and pianist Ursula Oppens (for Alvin’s piece).

Saturday (October 16) I’ll be checking out A House in Bali over at BAM.  Of course, this is actually being presented the 14-16th, so take your pick.  There’s no need to go into details about it here, you can read my earlier post for more information.

Comments Comments Off on Kraft, Transit, Talea, ACO, BAM

Finally, it’s almost here, after over a year of waiting, the east coast premiere of Evan Ziporyn’s new opera A House in Bali.

Our friends in Boston get to check it out first this weekend: Friday and Saturday, October 8th and 9th, at the Cutler Majestic Theater (219 Tremont Street).  The good folks at Bang on a Can have even made a special offer available for these two shows – just click here for the offer.

Then, the next weekend, the whole production is coming down to NYC for performances at BAM, October 14-16th, as part of the 2010 Next Wave Festival.

While I know that I have been waiting a year to see this, I realize that people may not know what A House in Bali is all about.

A House in Bali (featuring a rare U.S. appearance by the 16-member Balinese gamelan orchestra Salukat intertwined with the Bang on a Can All-Stars, western opera, live video feeds, and traditional Balinese dance) tells the “East meets West” story of composer Colin McPhee and his immersion in Balinese music and culture. The trailblazing work directed by Jay Scheib with libretto by Paul Schick follows the course of McPhee’s sojourn to Bali, his encounters with anthropologist Margaret Mead and painter Walter Spies, and their ultimately tragic relationship with dancer I Sampih, a Balinese youth whom McPhee mentors after the boy saves his life.  In addition to Gamelan Salukat and Bang on a Can All-Stars, featured performers include Dewa Ketut Alit, recognized worldwide as one of the top Indonesian composer-performers of his generation, renowned American tenor Peter Tantsits as Colin McPhee, mesmerizing dancers Kadek Dewi Aryani and Desak Madé Suarti Laksmi, celebrated Balinese masked dancer I Nyoman Catra, tenor Timur Bekbosunov, soprano Anne Harley, and Nyoman Triyana Usadhi.

Over the past couple years I have been able to sit down and talk with most of the members of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, who will all be performing in these Boston and New York productions.  None of the interviews are about A House in Bali specifically, but they are all about these musicians’ experience working with composers.  Click on a name to go straight to the audio:  Evan Ziporyn, Vicky Chow, Robert Black, Ashley Bathgate, and Derek Johnson (subbing for Mark Stewart).

And, if any of you can’t seem to get enough of Evan, he also has this show at Carnegie on October 30th… if you aren’t already going to this or this.

Comments 1 Comment »