Friday and Saturday: JACK and Bermel at IAS

Composer and clarinetist Derek Bermel is coming to the end of his term as artist-in-residence at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study. This Spring, he’s curating several concerts that assure he’ll be fondly remembered. This Friday and Saturday, he is joined by JACK Quartet for a concert featuring Ligeti’s Second String Quartet,  Brahms’Clarinet Quintet, Bermel’s Ritornello and a new piece by Bermel:  A Short History of the Universe (as related by Nima Arkani-Hamed). I’ve been told that events on the concert series frequently sell out, so if you are planning on attending order in advance!


Anna Gourari: Canto oscuro


If you have not yet heard Canto oscuro pianist Anna Gourari’s recent debut for ECM Records, you are missing out.The CD’s program combines affecting performances of transcriptions by Ferrucio Busoni of chorales and the Chaconne in d-minor by J.S. Bach with modern repertoire by Paul Hindemith and Sofia Gubaidulina (another Chaconne). The recording shows Gourari capable of performing repertoire in a wide range of moods: from the brash Ragtime movement found in the Hindemith suite to the gravitas and grandeur required in the Bach/Busoni transcriptions. One through line: she makes technically demanding repertoire sound far too achievable by mere mortals.

I’d hoped to get a chance to hear her live tonight in a performance at the German Consulate in New York, but it was not to be. I’ll have to content myself with the luminous performances on Canto oscuro and hope she visits New York again soon.

12/14: Aeolian Chamber Players celebrate 50th Anniversary

On December 14, Aeolian Chamber Players celebrates its fiftieth anniversary of music making at Symphony Space. (Tickets and more info here.) A longtime commissioner of new works, ACP found it fitting to celebrate with another commission: Huang Ruo’s Two Shades. It will be heard alongside other 20/21 pieces from their repertoire by Ralph Shapey, William Bolcom, George Crumb, Luciano Berio, and others.


RIP Dave Brubeck (1920-2012)

Fond memories of seeing Dave Brubeck at Berklee, Scullers, Newport, receiving his honorary degree at Manhattan School of Music, and, best of all, going with my brother Tyler Carey to the Iron Horse in Northampton, Massachusetts to hear him. Tyler encouraged me to go backstage and get an autograph. When Dave heard that I was a composer, he had me sit down and talk to with him about classical music for a good while. A very kind soul and talented pianist, composer, and group leader.

Tilbury plays Cage (CD Review)

John Cage

Sonatas and Interludes

John Tilbury, piano

Decca CD

Part of a reissue program by Decca and DG, which will feature 50 recordings by 50 different artists of important works from the 20th century, this new edition of John Tilbury’s excellent 1975 recording of John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes is also a welcome addition to the spate of Cage centenary releases. Known for his performances of New York School composers, Cardew, and his work as an improvisor, Tilbury is an ideal interpreter of this piece. His performance is an incisive one, embracing both gamelan-like percussive elements imbued by the preparations as well as the classically proportioned organization of the works’s proto-sonata structure (when composing the piece, Cage was thinking of Scarlatti’s sonatas rather than Beethoven’s).

The sound has held up well, imparting a warm LP era vibe without lacking in detail. The close-miked quality of the recording makes some of the effects created by Cage’s preparations all the more apparent. It’s like sitting next to Tilbury while he plays, rather than hearing a more muted effect further out in the hall.

If all of the reissues in this series return to us elusive treasures such as this recording, we are in for a trove indeed.

The Unanswered Petition (Save Ives’s House!)

Picture courtesy of (c) Zoe Martlew/Lebrecht Music & Arts

Way back in September, Charles Ives scholar Jan Swafford reported in Slate that the Ives home in Redding, Connecticut, built by the composer and for many years maintained by his family, was up for sale.

As Norman Lebrecht wrote on Monday for his Slipped Disc column on Arts Journal, the house is being eyed by developers and will likely be demolished.

That is, unless someone intervenes and declares it a national landmark; a part of our cultural heritage worth preserving. Getting the attention of a person with clout would help; someone like Connecticut Congressman Jim Himes (119 Cannon House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515), who represents Redding as part of his congressional district.

Or President Obama.

Below we’ve included an embed of Bernard Lin’s petition on It needs more than 900 additional signatures. We’re asking Sequenza 21 readers to consider signing and helping get out the word about the petition via social media, email, etc. in hopes that we can in some small way help in the effort to preserve the Ives house in Redding. If you live in Mr. Himes’s district, please consider sending him a letter too!

Tuesday: NY Phil celebrates Dutilleux

Tonight the New York Philharmonic celebrates French composer Henri Dutilleux, the recipient of the orchestra’s first Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music.

Dutilleux has decided to use the prize money to commission three composers to write works for the Philharmonic in his honor. He’s already selected one – Peter Eotvos. Who would you recommend to Mr. Dutilleux as the other two commission recipients?

Alan Gilbert will conduct and Yo-Yo Ma is the featured guest soloist.


Métaboles (1964)

Ainsi La Nuit for String Quartet (1976)

Cello Concerto — Tout un monde lointain (A whole distant world) (1970)

2/11: Vicky Chow and Loadbang celebrate Cage Centennial

On Saturday, the 2012 Avant Music Festival presents a program celebrating the John Cage Centennial. Our friends Loadbang join pianist Vicky Chow and other avant musicians in a performance of Cage’s Concert for Piano and Orchestra. It’s a piece that avoids the “O” in concerto by allowing the musicians considerable freedom in the performance of their parts. Thus, the soloist has to operate in a constantly shifting environment. It’s recently been done brilliantly by SEM, and in a hammy fashion by the New Juilliard Ensemble. Given the parties involved, one should expect nothing less than a thoughtful and exciting interpretation of the work.

For more information about the Avant Festival, check out Chris McGovern’s interview with Randy Gibson.

Loadbang will also be giving another Cage concert at Greenwich Music House in March (details below).

One of their members, Andy Kozar, is fundraising through next Tuesday for a CD project featuring his compositions (and several appearances by Loadbang) via Kickstarter.

Wild Project – February 11th, 2012 8PM

loadbang performs John Cage’s Living Room Music, plus Concert for Piano and Orchestra with Vicky Chow as part of the Avant Music Festival

195 East 3rd Street, Manhattan
$15/$10 at door, $12/$8 presale online

Greenwich House – March 8th, 2012 8PM

John Cage: A Portrait in 5 Parts: loadbang celebrates Cage’s centennial

46 Barrow Street, Manhattan
$15/$10 students, tickets at door

2/1: Israeli Chamber Project debuts at Carnegie’s Weill Hall

The Israeli Chamber Project performs at Weill Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 1. In addition to warhorses of the chamber music repertoire by Brahms and Shostakovich, the group performs two Twentieth Century pieces that are less frequently heard on New York stages as well as one from the cusp of the millenium, Night Time (2000), a duo by Sebastian Currier.

Below is a video of the ensemble performing Matam Porat’s “Night Horses” at a 2008 concert in Tel Aviv: an evocative and unerringly paced work that they play superlatively.

The Israeli Chamber Project Carnegie Hall Debut

February 1, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall

Shostakovich Trio for Piano, Violin, and Cello in C minor, Op. 8

Sebastian Currier Night Time for Harp and Violin

Martinů Chamber Music No. 1

Paul Ben Haim Three Songs Without Words (arranged for clarinet and harp)

Brahms Trio for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano in A minor, Op. 114

Tibi Cziger, clarinet

Michal Korman, cello

Sivan Magen, harp

Sergey Tarashansky, viola

Assaff Weisman, piano

Itamar Zorman, violin

Tickets: $30, $20, $15 212-247-7800/

Box Office at 57th Street and Seventh Avenue