8/24: Locrian Chamber Players Celebrates Cage Centennial

On Friday, August 24 at 8PM, Locrian Chamber Players celebrates the John Cage centennial with brand new works for prepared piano and ensemble by Christian Carey and James Bunch. The piano in these works is prepared to the specifications of Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes.

Program

  • Georg Friedrich Haas de terea fina
  • Caleb Burhans Contritus
  • Caleb Burhans Escape from New York
  • Christian Carey Gilgamesh Suite*
  • James Bunch Permanent Emotions*
  • David Macdonald New Ostinati*

* World Premiere

Riverside Church

10th Floor Performance Space,

91 Claremont Avenue,

New York, New York 10027

Directions - North of W. 120th Street – One block West of Broadway

Subway: 1 Train to 116th

Ph: 212-870-6700

(Church’s homepage)

free admission

5/2: Kronos Quartet at the PEN World Voices Festival

Photo by Jay Blakesberg.

Tomorrow, at the PEN World Voices Festival’s featured event at the Met Museum, Kronos Quartet will provide musical accompaniment to writers Tony Kushner, Marjane Satrapi, and Rula Jebreal as they read from selections of their own work. The authors will then listen and respond to pieces in which recorded voices are juxtaposed with music. It promises to be an intriguing colloquy of literary and musical leading lights.

The Kronos Quartet: Exit Strategies

The Kronos Quartet (David Harrington, violin; John Sherba, violin; Hank Dutt, viola; Jeffrey Zeigler, cello) in performance with Tony Kushner, Marjane Satrapi, Rula Jebreal.

Works by Laurie Anderson, Hamza El Din, Morton Feldman, Ram Narayan,

Terry Riley, Omar Souleyman, and Ramallah Underground

When:   Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 7pm

Where: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium
1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street
4, 5, 6 trains to 86th Street, walk west

Tickets: $30/$20 students and available at www.metmuseum.org/tickets or (212) 570-3949

Guest Post: Dale Trumbore

One of our featured composers on the Sequenza 21/MNMP Concert (on October 25 at Joe’s Pub) is Dale Trumbore. In the following post she tells us about the work ACME will perform on the program: a piece that was premiered in 2009 by Kronos Quartet.

How it will go (2009) is a quirky little 6-minute work for string quartet; its first descriptive marking is “maniacally cheerful.” Although the piece is a rondo, the piece has a frantic, slightly unpredictable quality, as if it doesn’t know which way it’s supposed to go, or when exactly it should return to its main theme. I imagine the piece almost like a mechanical toy: there are moments where the battery-power of the piece seems to be failing, then resurging a bit too enthusiastically; at the end, it simply dies down, like a wind-up toy running out of steam.

I sketched out the idea for How it will go’s main theme one afternoon back in 2006, then put it aside it until I started working in the University of Maryland’s fantastic program that allows student composers the opportunity to collaborate with the Kronos Quartet. Over the span of two years, selected composers work with the Quartet to write new works; the program culminates in a concert of these new pieces. This opportunity seemed the perfect venue in which to develop that little melody; I wanted to write a piece that was fun to play and to hear, but with an element of almost virtuosic showing-off at times, to showcase the ensemble performing it.

The premiere of How it will go took place a few months after I first moved to Los Angeles, and I flew back to Maryland to hear it. The dress rehearsal for the piece was on my birthday that year; hearing the Kronos Quartet perform your new composition in its entirety for the first time is not a bad way to spend a birthday.

As I was waiting in UMD’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center about an hour before the performance, I happened to check my email and see that How it will go had won Lyrica Chamber Music’s Composition Contest; the piece would receive its second performance (by the Neave Quartet) less than a month after the Kronos Quartet premiere. The two performances differed greatly in interpretation, particularly in tempo, but they were both fantastic. I can’t wait to hear ACME perform the piece in October!

Two days before the Sequenza 21/MNME concert, I’ll be accompanying soprano Gillian Hollis in a performance of selections from our recently-released CD of art-songs I’ve written for Gillian, Snow White Turns Sixty. That performance is Sunday, October 23 at St. Paul’s Church, 200 Main St., Chatham, NJ 07928, and the 3 p.m. concert has a suggested donation of $5, which will go towards the church’s fund to replace their organ.  More about the CD and other upcoming performances along the Snow White Turns Sixty tour can be found here.

Michael Gordon’s Sad Park recorded by Kronos

The Sad Park EP

Kronos Quartet; Michael Gordon, composer

iTunes-only DL

Michael Gordon’s musical reflection on 9/11, The Sad Park, is an interesting variant on another piece written for the Kronos Quartet to commemorate the terror attacks: Steve Reich’s WTC 9/11. Gordon’s source material is culled from spoken word recordings made by the teacher of his son’s Pre-K class: responses to the attacks as seen through the eyes of innocents.

But whereas Reich used taped voices of first responders and spoken-word reflections of its aftermath as recognizable, harrowing, landmarks, Gordon eschews using source recordings in an overtly referential, or even recognizable manner. Instead, with the assistance of composer Luke Dubois, they are digitally sculpted into ghostly apparitions; distorted to blur the excerpts’ message in favor of allowing their impact to operate on an emotive and sonic, rather than textual, level. Surrounded  by quartet writing in the post-minimal ostinato manner, as well as sustained, siren-like lines that form a kind of keening, mournful refrain, The Sad Park is an unsettling threnody.

It’s interesting to note that in NPR’s 9/6 blog post about The Sad Park, the responses in the comments section diverge widely. Some feel that it is an affecting piece, while others pillory its use of children’s responses as exploitative. I guess one can engender controversy without inflammatory cover art.

Composer Michael Gordon