Friday: Nono CD Release Party

Miranda Cuckson and Christopher Burns originally planned to celebrate the release of their latest CD, a recording of Luigi Nono’s “la lontananza nostalgica utopica futura” back in November. After Storm Sandy, the formal release was pushed back to January. In the interim, the NY Times named it one of 2012′s best CDs and we added an excerpt of the recording to our “Favorite Things 2012″ Mix.

Tonight, at long last, Miranda and Chris get to properly celebrate the Nono disc, performing it tonight (Friday) and Saturday at Spectrum. In addition, listeners will get to hear a demonstration of the 5.1 surround version of the recording and another work by Burns. Details below.

Event Details

Date and time: Friday, January 4, 2012, *7 PM
Place: Spectrum
121 Ludlow Street, Second Floor, New York, NY
Tickets: $15 general/$10 students and seniors

–Live performance by Miranda and Chris of Leggii 3 and 4 from “la lontananza nostalgica utopica futura”

–Demo of the recording featuring Richard Warp’s realizations of the electronics in 5.1 channel surround sound

–Miranda performs Chris’ composition “come ricordi come sogni come echi: six
studies on Nono’s ‘la lontananza nostalgica utopica futura’ for solo violin”

–Open forum with the artists

 

Date and time: Saturday, January 5, 2012, *7 PM

Place: Spectrum
121 Ludlow Street, Second Floor, New York, NY
Tickets: $15 general/$10 students and seniors

–Miranda Cuckson and Chris Burns perform Dai Fujikura’s “prism spectra” for viola and live surround electronics, which they are recording for an upcoming CD

–Chris Burns presents his own compositions: “Opalescence”, a glockenspiel solo performed by Trevor Saint, and “Xenoglossia” for live electronics

–Richard Warp demonstrates his new brain-computer spatialization interface

 

Contact! at Symphony Space

andyakihowithsteeldrums

 

Andy Akiho. Photo: Aestheticize Media.

I had mixed feelings about the Dec. 22nd Contact! concert at Symphony Space. The first concert curated by the New York Philharmonic’s current composer in residence, Christopher Rouse, it featured two commissioned works for sinfonietta and a New York premiere, all by fast rising composers, as well as Counterpoise by Jacob Druckman (1928-’96). Having studied with and sung music by Druckman, I was glad to hear the Philharmonic revisit his music: a superb orchestrator who knew how to control the balance and pacing of an orchestra piece better than most in recent memory.

One was reminded by comparing Counterpoise to some of the newer music on the program just how difficult it can be to cultivate these skills. This is particularly true today,  an era in which, even for very talented composers, opportunities such as Contact! are few and far between. My favorite moments came in Andy Akiho’s Oscillate, a commission for the NY Philharmonic that featured imaginative writing for the sinfonietta’s percussion cohort. Akiho himself is a virtuoso percussionist and he supplied dazzling parts for pitched and un-pitched percussion instruments and also had pianist Eric Huebner perform inside his instrument with fistfuls of credit cards: perhaps a more constructive use for them than holiday overspending! In places, the string writing was less successful, but Oscillate’s attractive harmonic palette and gestural ebullience contained flashes of brilliance.

Best of 2012: Aaron Cassidy on NMC (Recording Review)

Aaron Cassidy
A painter of figures in rooms
NMC Recordings (digital EP)

American-born and UK-based composer Aaron Cassidy created the vocal ensemble work A painter of figures in rooms for Ex Audi as part of the New Music 20×12 Cultural Olympiad.  It continues his research into extended tablature notation. Using this approach, details of the physicality of performance are specifically addressed, perhaps even more so than more traditional musical features. In a vocal ensemble work, this means that issues such as vowel space, approach to breathing, mouth and lip position, and gesture feature prominently.

While this notational approach would, at first glance, seem to leave room for significant variances between performances, Cassidy’s body of work occupies a distinctive and recognizable sound world that suggests a clarity of utterance conveyed by the tablature. When comparing his vocal music alongside Crutch of Memory, a recent disc of instrumental works recorded by the Elision Ensemble for Neos, certain qualities of sound surface as stylistic touchstones. Cassidy’s notation allows for an exploration of sliding between pitches, timbral adjustments, and fine gradations of microtones that would likely be cumbersome to notate in traditional Western fashion. Thus, while extremely complex and requiring a great deal from the performers, the resulting music takes on elemental concerns in organic fashion. The visceral vocalisms and muscularly effusive gestural profile of A painter of figures in rooms belie the notion that music in the “new complexity” or “second modern” vein is primarily an intellectual exercise. Instead, it often suggests uninhibited sensuality.

Friday – Saturday: Viva 21st Century Marathon

classicaldiscoveries logo

From Friday 2 PM to Saturday 2 PM (EST), broadcaster Marvin Rosen will be hosting “Viva 21st Century,” a marathon of recent classical music on Princeton’s WPRB 103.3 FM (also on the web at www.wprb.com). The broadcast will include over eighty composers.

Marvin has informed me that my “Gilgamesh Suite EP” (out now on BandCamp) will be featured sometime between 7 and 9 PM on Friday.

More details below.

Viva 21st Century

Classical Discoveries will present the 10th Annual program and the 6th 24-Hour Marathon totally devoted to music composed in the 21st century.

VIVA 21ST CENTURY – INTERNATIONAL EDITION

24-HOUR LIVE WPRB RADIO BROADCAST with Marvin Rosen

starts: Friday, December 28, 2012 – 2:00pm
ends: Saturday, December 29, 2012 – 2:00pm.

Approximately 80 composers will have their works aired during this marathon.
Milosz Bembinow, Thomas Blomenkamp, Sylvie Bodorova,Christian Carey, Jennifer Castellano, Daniel Dorff, Hugues Dufourt, Rosemary Duxbury, Ivan Erod, Vladimir Godar, Ola Gjeilo, Jennifer Higdon, Matthew Hindson, Mary Ann Joyce-Walter, Lei Liang, Michel Lysight, Peter Machajdik, Franco Antonio Mirenzi, Andrew Rudin, Carl Ruttl, Somei Satoh, Ravi Shankar, Ylva Skog, Allan Stephenson, John Tavener, Giel Vleggaar, Joelle Wallach and many, many others.

For Internet listeners link to excellent Time Zone Converter: http://www.timezoneconverter.com/cgi-bin/tzc.tzc

Facebook event page here: RSVP and invite your friends!

12/21: AME prepares for the “End of the World”

According to Mayan reckoning and eschatology, Friday, December 21st, 2012 will be the end of the world. Many of us hope that Mayan prognosticating proves overly pessimistic. But American Modern Ensemble and Talujon aren’t taking any chances. At 8 PM EST, they’re ringing in doomsday with a concert of clarion percussion works and other modern chamber music at the DiMenna Center in New York.

Below, check out program details and a video for Robert Paterson’s “Stealing Thunder,” one of the pieces on the program.

Program:

Daniel Iglesia – Hard Square
percussion quartet
Hannah Lash – Glockenliebe*
percussion quartet
Eric Nathan – Four to One
string quartet
Robert Paterson – Stealing Thunder**
percussion sextet & tape
George Rochberg – Contra Mortem et Tempus
flute, clarinet, violin, piano
Daniel Wohl – Slow Wave
percussion quartet

*World Premiere / **NYC Premiere
On-stage discussion with Selected Composers

Friday, December 21st, 2012, 8 PM
DiMenna Center – Cary Hall
450 West 37th Street, New York, NY
Ticket info here

(Re)New Amsterdam: an Interview with Doyle Armbrust

As many of you know, during Storm Sandy New Amsterdam Presents and New Amsterdam Records’s headquarters in Red Hook, Brooklyn was decimated by flooding. Ever since, the label’s staff, led by co-directors William Brittelle, Judd Greenstein, and Sarah Kirkland Snider, have been working on rebuilding. Not only have they been concerned with their own business, but the community minded folks at New Amsterdam have also been advocating for aid to help their neighborhood in Red Hook.

New Amsterdam’s plight hasn’t gone unnoticed by the broader new music community. And not just in New York. On December 16th, Chicago musicians are presenting (Re)New Amsterdam (ticket info here), a benefit to raise money for the organization. One of the concert’s organizers, Doyle Armbrust, violist, writer, and curator of the (Un)Familiar Music Series at Chicago’s Empty Bottle, spoke with Sequenza 21 about the show.

Christian Carey: Hi Doyle. Thanks for taking the time to tell us about the upcoming benefit for New Amsterdam Records. How did the idea emerge for musicians to give a concert in Chicago to help out a record label that’s based in Red Hook, Brooklyn?

 

Doyle Armbrust: The idea for a New Amsterdam fundraiser came from the generous brain of Marcos Balter, whose scores have been recorded on the New Am label. This year, I’ve launched a new-music series, (Un)familiar Music, with the sole purposes of artist advocacy and breaking the new-music scene out of the concert hall setting. With its policies of allowing artists to retain the rights to their music as well as 80% of an album’s proceeds, the philosophies of New Am and (Un)familiar are wonderfully congruous. It was an obvious fit as Marcos and I saw it. Much more important than all of that, though, the Chicago new-music scene is a far more collaborative than competitive one. We believe in this often quixotic and illusory career path, and specifically the music being written today, and when we hear that our colleagues in another state are suffering, our hearts break. I moved back to Chicago after living in Los Angeles and Miami in large part because I missed this compassionate spirit of my home city. I’m grateful that the passionate response by the new-music community here has proved the point for me once again.

 

 

CC: How did you go about assembling the artists putting on the show? Which groups are participating?

 

DA: Once we secured the date with The Empty Bottle, (Un)familiar’s home base, calls and emails went out to just about every new-music ensemble in Chicago…and just about every new-music in ensemble immediately agreed to play. In some cases we have members of ensembles performing solo works, or smaller chamber pieces, due to availability and the size of the venue, but the program is an absolute knockout. Performers include: Abominable Twitch / Access Contemporary Music / Can I Get An Amen / Chicago Q Ensemble / CUBE / Dojo / Eighth Blackbird / Ensemble Dal Niente / Ensemble Vulpine Lupin / Fifth House Ensemble / Fulcrum Point / Gaudete Brass / Grant Wallace Band / Searchl1te / Spektral Quartet / Third Coast Percussion.

 

 

CC: Was there a collaborative or thematic aspect to selecting the program? Any highlights among the selections you’d like to preview for us?

DA: When programming (Un)familiar shows, my aim is to have the ensembles perform whatever they are most amped about. Marcos and I have continued that trend here, and I’m happy to report there will be no filler anywhere in this 4-hour show. I can’t possibly pick a most-anticipated entry, because the setlists are so dynamite. That said, as a Beat Furrer fanatic, I’m looking forward to hearing Ensemble Vulpine Lupin (a recent addition to the Chicago family) dig into “Invocation VI” and because this is a Cage year, I can’t wait to see Third Coast Percussion destroy with “Third Construction.”

CC: Any chance that the concert will be recorded?

WFMT will be recording the concert.

CC: What ways would you suggest non-Chicagoans help New Amsterdam and others affected by Storm Sandy?

 

DA: I wouldn’t presume to tell folks specifically how to donate, but I will say that I did have a wrestling match in my cranium over the often fraught issue of aid. There will always be someone in more dire need of assistance, as there is in the case of now-homeless victims of Sandy. I can also return from a record-buying binge and realize that someone won’t eat today, but I HAD to have that Harry Partch first-pressing. It’s a constant hypocrisy that most of us deal with on a daily basis. In the case of this event, I see an opportunity to help in some small way fellow musicians with whom I share similar artistic struggles. I have resources to magnify that aid, through my series and the generosity of my friends here in Chicago. We can rally together and throw a monster of a concert that people will excitedly pay to come witness. Together, through this incredible music we’ve dedicated our lives to championing, we can effect some tiny degree of relief.

 

 

12/10 Premiere at Connecticut College

Monday, December 10
Percussion and New Music Concert.
Peter Jarvis, director
7:00 pm Evans Hall
Tickets $5; Students & Seniors $3, free to CC Students, Staff & Faculty

Program includes works by Elliott Carter, John Cage, David Saperstein, Gene Pritsker, and James Romig.

Program Note: Fuller Brush Music - Christian Carey

Fuller Brush Music for drum set is an etude for playing with brushes and for playing in a prevailingly soft dynamic range. The performer employs various brushes and dampening techniques to balance the kit for this more delicate sound world. Commissioned by Calabrese Brothers Music, it is dedicated to Peter Jarvis.

Composed 2010 in South Amboy, NJ and New York, NY.

 - Christian Carey


First Solo Release on Bandcamp

All proceeds from the sale of “Gilgamesh Suite EP” will benefit Locrian Chamber Players’ next concert season.

“‘Gilgamesh Suite ‘is a newly composed work based on selections from incidental music I contributed to the play ‘Gilgamesh Variations,’ produced at Brooklyn’s Bushwick Starr Theatre in 2011. Written to commemorate the 2012 John Cage centenary, its touchstone work is ‘Sonatas and Interludes.’ Instead of creating a trope on Cageian compositional practices, I focused on incorporating the rich sound palette of the work’s prepared piano into the play’s eclectic and highly gestural aesthetic.

The suite, composed for Locrian Chamber Players, is scored for flute, prepared piano, harp, and string quartet. The sixth movement embeds ‘Locrian Flourish,’ a work commissioned by the ensemble for flutist Diva Goodfriend-Koven, as an extended cadenza.” – Christian Carey

credits

released 09 December 2012
Locrian Chamber Players: Conrad Harris and Miranda Cuckson, violin; Daniel Panner, viola; Greg Hesselink, cello; Roger Wagner, bass; Diva Goodfriend-Koven, flute; David Broome, prepared piano; Lynette Wardle, harp. Artistic Director: David MacDonaldMusic by Christian Carey, published by File Under Music (ASCAP).
Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.

Recorded August 24, 2012 at Riverside Church, New York.
Locrian Chamber Players (locrian.org)

Mastering: Robert Thomas (retmusic.com)
Artwork: Tyler Carey

For scores, parts, and more information about Christian Carey, please visit www.christiancarey.wordpress.com

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