Miller brings together indie & contemporary classical

Miller Theatre will start their 2009-’10 season with “Wordless Music Meets Miller.” The miniseries brings together indie and contemporary classical artists for four days of shows.


Wednesday, September 9, 8:00PM

The 802 Tour (Nico Muhly, Sam Amidon, and Doveman)

Tickets: $15

Thursday, September 10, 8:00PM

Do Make Say Think and Charles Spearin’s “The Happiness Project”

Tickets: $20

Friday, September 11, 8:00PM

Tim Hecker, Grouper, and Julianna Barwick

Tickets: $15

Saturday, September 12, 8:00PM

Destroyer, Loscil, and JACK Quartet

Tickets: $20


It seems like a natural evolution for both Ronen Givony’s Wordless Music and Melissa Smey’s Miller: both are nurturers of the hybridized, polystylistic music that seems to have captured the gestalt of 2009. Indie artists are making it cool to use classical instruments to rock out, and contemporary classical artists are moving closer than ever to popular terrain, both in terms of musical signatures and venues.


Assuming that this will find a ready and enthusiastic audience at Miller (it will), what pairings might Wordless/Miller consider next? Comment with your dream pairings of indie/new classical artists below.

Kirchner at Miller: How to throw a Composer’s Ninetieth Birthday Party


The folks at Miller Theatre know how to fete composers. Their Composer Portraits series has given New York a number of memorable performances in recent seasons. They seem to have a special knack for celebrating the elder generation of American composers. Recent events include Carter’s What Next?  on his ninety-ninth birthday, Babbitt’s complete string quartets in a single evening, and a ninetieth birthday celebration for Leon Kirchner. For many years a professor at Harvard University, Kirchner was actually born in New York. As such it seemed especially fitting that one of NYC’s premiere new music series did a solo show in his honor.

Kirchner taught some talented people – including Yo-Yo Ma (who commissioned a cello concerto from him) and John Adams; the latter was in the audience at the Miller concert. The onstage guests included longtime interpreter flutist Paula Robison. She performed a recently revised work – Flutings for Paula – with percussionist Ayano Katoaka; Robison also joined Kirchner for an onstage discussion after intermission. Gracious and genteel, the composer spoke eloquently about the recently departed George Perle, choosing to highlight the accomplishments of his contemporaries rather than toot his own horn.

Other performers included the violin-piano duo of Corey Cerovsek and Jeremy Denk, who performed two works with brilliant virtuosity and commendable rapport. The youthful and talented Claremont Trio gave a spot-on performance of Kirchner’s Schoenbergian 1954 Piano Trio No. 1 (the group has recently recorded the work for Tria Records). Bradley Lubman conducted the 1960 Double Concerto for Violin, Cello, Ten Winds, and Percussion. A big work for this modest-sized space, it rounded out the evening with a suitably festive example of Kirchner’s consummate craftsmanship.

The Claremont Trio