Archive for the “Bang on a Can” Category

It seems somehow fitting after a week of inexplicable madness that Julia Wolfe’s My Beautiful Scream will get its New York premiere tomorrow night when the Kronos Quartet joins the Brooklyn Philharmonic for a concert called Kronos+Cosmos. 

Wolfe describes My Beautiful Scream as a kind of  non-concerto for string quartet. The work is a gradual unfolding and unraveling of a slow motion scream: the quartet aspect of the music is quiet and fine while the orchestra aspect is violent and menacing. Co-commissioned by the Orchestre Philharmoniue de Radio France, the Basel Sinfonietta, and the Brooklyn Philharmonic, My Beautiful Scream was originally premiered in February 2004 at Festival Presence in Paris.

Wolfe began writing My Beautiful Scream shortly after 9/11. As she describes the time in which the piece was written: “I lived in downtown Manhattan not far from where the towers stood. At night I would have this strange sensation that I was going to die. In general my life was very beautiful, so it was this strange existence of living in beauty and having the sensation of a long drawn out internal scream.”

The concert will also include a performance of the visionary symphonic work, Gustav Holst’s The Planets, and Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. Each of the seven movements of The Planets will be accompanied by exclusive film footage provided by NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Here’s a bit of good news for a change.   Our regular Rob Deemer has accepted an offer from SUNY-Fredonia for its tenure-track composition chair position starting in the Fall of 2007. 

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Let’s go to the old mailbag and see what’s happening in the exciting world of new music.  Ah, here’s something.  Our friends at the American Music Center are launching Counterstream Radio, a showcase for new music by U.S. composers, on March 16 at 3 p.m. EST.  To mark the official station launch, Counterstream Radio will broadcast an exclusive conversation between Meredith Monk and Björk.  No word on who gets to wear the chicken suit.

Actually, the station is streaming right now so you don’t have to wait until the 16th to try it out.  Any chance of getting a popup player over here so people can listen while they’re reading S21?  Tech people?

Oh, wow.  On Bach’s 322nd birthday, March 21, 2007, C.F. Peters is celebrating the publication of a new set of variations, 13 Ways of Looking at the Goldberg, based on the Goldberg Variations theme, with a mini-concert and reception at Steinway Hall.  Blair McMillan will perform six of the twelve variations.  The composers are C. Curtis-Smith, Jennifer Higdon, Mischa Sarche Zupko, Stanley Walden, Bright Sheng, Derek Bermel, David Del Tredici, Fred Lerdahl, William Bolcom, Lukas Foss, Ralf Gothoni, and Fred Hersch.

And then there’s this. The NY Times web site is running a  group blog in March called “The Score” that will include writings by Glenn Branca, Alvin Curran, Michael Gordon and Annie Gosfield. They will also run audio excerpts from an exclusive interview with Steve Reich conducted in February.

In a March 5 piece, Michael Gordon attempts to answer the eternal question faced by all contemporary composers:  What Kind of Music is That Anyway? (My favorite answer–”Post-Ugly”–is attributed to his co-conspirator David Lang.)

Alas, the feature is on TimesSelect, which is a pay service that costs about $8 a month but they have a free two-week trial offer if you want to check it out.  Or, Michael sent me an e-mail copy…nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

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December 5, 2006 – One of the great things about the internet is that several of the pieces on this concert were available for preview on the Bang On A Can website, and in fact you can still hear those previews to get a flavor of what I’m talking about.  New music concerts are so hit-or-miss, it’s a shame more organizations don’t offer this service to help potential audience members pre-screen their events.  If you’re listening to that preview, you will already have figured out that this concert was one of the good ones. Read the rest of this entry »

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