Archive for the “Concerts” Category

Le Poisson Rouge is a striking place.

This venue was the location of this past Sunday’s concert featuring Iktus Percussion (Cory Bracken, Chris Graham, Nicholas Woodbury, and Steve Sehman), pianist Taka Kigawa, and toy pianist Phyllis Chen. According to Iktus member Cory Bracken, one of the missions of the evening (focused entirely around composer John Cage) was to take some of his pieces that are almost exclusively performed in academic settings, and begin to inject them into the public concert repertoire. What the audience encountered, therefore, was a healthy mix of both often and not-so-often performed pieces by John Cage.

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Victoria Woodhull

In Fall 2012, composer/conductor Victoria Bond’s opera Mrs. President premieres at Anchorage Opera in Alaska. Its “out of town” tryout is on Monday July 9th … in New York at Symphony Space.

The opera’s subject is Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president. Woodhull’s campaign in 1872 predates women’s suffrage. It was mired in controversy and scandal which, as we all know, makes it ideal material for an opera!

I was particularly pleased to learn that dramatic soprano Valerie Bernhardt is playing Woodhull. Val and I both sang at the Chatauqua Institute back in 1992. Her voice was already a mighty and beautiful instrument then and has only grown more impressive in the ensuing years.

Soprano Valerie Bernhardt

Need more inducement? Okay. Those in town seeking relief from the heat wave, remember: Symphony Space has lovely central AC and quite a nice bar to boot!

Mrs. President at Symphony Space

Monday, July 9th at 7:30 PM

Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre at Symphony Space

Broadway and 95th Street

Tickets: $20 (www.symphonyspace.org)

Opera website: www.mrspresidenttheopera.com

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On Tuesday, 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.

Program

Métaboles (1964)

Ainsi La Nuit for String Quartet (1976)

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

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhVe4V0cKwA[/youtube]

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Last year I decided to try my hand at liveblogging the Bang on a Can Marathon concert and had so much fun doing it, I figured I’d come back and do it again. Held in the World Financial Center, the marathon will begin at noon and last till midnight and is FREE, so y’all have plenty of time to get here, find a spot to sit, and enjoy the huge lineup of performers and composers the Marathon is bringing forth today (the day’s schedule can be found here).  If you attend, I’ll be sitting in the front row corner in the press section – feel free to come up and say howdy!

Since this puppy will probably be a bit lengthy when all is said and done, I’ll put the updates below the break.  Read the rest of this entry »

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We’re pleased to introduce cellist Maya Beiser’s performing the Michael Harrison composition “Just Ancient Loops,” with film by Bill Morrison, which will receive its premiere at the Bang on a Can 25th Anniversary Marathon this coming Sunday in NYC.


[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/43002580[/vimeo]


This is just one of many performances that will occur over the marathon’s 12 hours of free live music-making: check out the complete schedule online here.

Congrats to the can bangers – may you have many more seasons of marathoning!

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Musicians on the outskirts of Libbey Park performing Inuksuit (note the percussionist playing water gong in the upper left hand corner)

They say a picture is worth a 1000 words, so consider this photo album a 26,000 word review until I file my story. Inuksuit was one of the most extraordinary pieces of music I’ve heard since–well, John Luther Adams’ orchestra and tape work, Dark Waves. (On Sunday, we’ll hear JLA’s two-piano version of Dark Waves.)

Do read Paul Muller’s account of this concert and Thursday evening’s concert.

To give you some idea of what the performance was like, here are some crude videos I made on my not-designed-for-filming camera. The mike on the camera did a reasonable job of capturing the changes in sound as you moved from one spot to another, as I did throughout the performance.

If you’re reading this before or around 11 a.m. PST June 9, hop on over to the live stream from Ojai to watch/hear Marc Andre Hamelin, Christianne Stotijn, and Martin Frost perform Alban Berg, as well as an orchestral work by Eivind Buene. Watch it here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y900SzB2UMM&feature=channel&list=UL[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgnWNqAoy9Q&feature=bf_next&list=ULy900SzB2UMM[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qz6YH7z33So&feature=bf_next&list=ULPgnWNqAoy9Q[/youtube]

 

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103 year old Elliott Carter has written a new work, Two Controversies and a Conversation, which will be premiered tonight at the Met Museum as part of the New York Philharmonic’s Contact! series. The concert, conducted by David Robertson, also includes a newly commissioned work by Michael Jarrell and Pierre Boulez’sexplosante-fixe…

Carter discusses the piece in the video below.

The Contact! program will be repeated on Saturday at Symphony Space.

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This month, Gyan Riley is curating for New York venue the Stone. One of the San Francisco residents that he’s invited to visit the Big Apple for a gig is avant-cabaret artist Amy X. Neuburg, who performs there tonight (details below).

Neuburg eschews the usual instrumentation of a cabaret performer, instead using an electronic drumset. But the music isn’t isolated to percussive utterances; rather the synth drums serve as a control surface with which she can trigger live recording and overdubs. Thus, a drum hit might ‘sound’ like drums, or it might just as easily trigger backing vocals or synth patches.

Using this setup, Neuburg often creates multiple loops, each with its own place in the sound field. Her set at the Stone (her first appearance there) will introduce some new works, but also revisits her back catalog, updating several pieces to accommodate this “spatialized” aesthetic.

Amy X. Neuburg at the Stone

May 30 at 8 PM

The Stone,

Corner of Avenue C and Second Avenue

NY, NY

Tickets: $10 at the door

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Lou Bunk bows cardboard this weekend!

To many, Memorial Day weekend means the kickoff of the summer season: getaways, barbecues, traffic, and more traffic …

But the New York new music scene doesn’t seem to be on holiday from its Spring season yet. indeed, we’ll be talking a number of events in coming weeks, extending well into June.

Performers and, one hopes, audiences, aren’t even taking the weekend off. Tonight is an all Milton Babbitt concert at CUNY Grad Center. It features several pieces done by the performers who’ve made them part of their core repertoires. But any chance to hear Judith Bettina sing Philomel again or William Anderson and Oren Fader play Soli e Duettini is most welcome. Less often heard but featured here is the early “Composition for Four Instruments” and the piano duo Envoi from 1990. Though it’s bittersweet to go to hear Babbitt’s music without his convivial presence and sepulchral commentary, it is good to see that the Composers Alliance and CUNY are making every effort to keep his music alive.

Milton Babbitt Retrospective

Friday, May 25, 2012, 7:30pm at CUNY Graduate Center

Elebash Recital Hall (365 Fifth Ave, New York) Free Admission

Program

None but the Lonely Flute (1991) Patricia Spencer, flute

Envoi (1990) Steven Beck and Zachary Bernstein, piano

Soli e Duettini (1989) Oren Fader, guitar, William Anderson, guitar

Melismata (1982) Karen Rostron, violin

Philomel (1964) Judith Bettina, soprano

Composition for Four Instruments (1948) Patricia Spencer, flute; Charles Neidich, clarinet; Joshua Modney, violin; Christopher Gross, cello

My Ends are My Beginnings (1978)Charles Neidich, clarinet

More Melismata (2006) Christopher Gross, Cello

Swan Song no. 1 (2003) Barry Cooper, flute; Robert Ingliss, oboe; William Anderson, mandolin
Oren Fader, guitar; Calvin Wiersma, violin; Susannah Chapman, cello; James Baker, conductor

Music Programs The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue • New York, New York 10016-4309
(212) 817-8590 • music@gc.cuny.edu

___

On Saturday, Collide-O-Scope Music is presenting a varied program, including a Babbitt work as well, but mostly featuring music by emerging and mid-career composers. As is often the case, CoSM programs both works for conventional instrumentation and for sound objects that are decidedly unconventional. Here, the latter is represented by Lou Bunk’s “scratch-o-lin,” a cardboard contraption that he fervently attacks with a violin bow!

Collide-O-Scope Music presents “The Medium is the Music”
Alexandra GardnerNew Skin (2002)
James RomigWalls Like These (2012)
Lou BunkShreds of New Walls (2012) *
Christopher BaileyFantasy-Passacaglia After Hall and Oates II (2012) *
Lou Bunk: Study for Bowed Cardboard (2010)
Christopher BaileyOutlying Afterward (2012) *
Michael Klingbeil: Vers La Courbe (2012) *
Milton BabbittPreludes, Interludes, and Postlude (1991)

* World Premieres

Saturday, May 26 at 8:00 PM
The Cell Theater
338 West 23rd St., New York City
Tickets: $15/$10 (students)
For tickets and more info:
http://www.thecelltheatre.org/

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Report by Tyran Grillo (between sound and space)
Photos by Evan Cortens

Music: Cognition, Technology, Society set a formidable intellectual task before participants of the selfsame conference at semester’s end on the quieting campus of Cornell University. Under the attentive care of organizers Caroline Waight, Evan Cortens, Taylan Cihan, and Eric Nathan, what might have been an overwhelming conceptual storm proved smooth sailing through a series of back-to-back panels. The lack of overlap meant that everyone in attendance could take in the full thematic breadth and draw connections that might otherwise have been missed in the three-ring circus of a larger conference, thereby allowing interaction, a building of new relationships while strengthening the old, and dialogue conducive to the intellectual goals at hand.

The Panels
I had the privilege and the honor of presenting first in the opening Friday morning panel, entitled Patterns, Schemata and Systems, for which I was joined by Bryn Hughes (Ithaca College) and Joshua Mailman (Columbia). I did my best to set a tone in my discussion of Modell 5, a museum installation piece by Vienna-based duo Granular Synthesis, whose eponymous approach to motion capture and digital manipulation of synchronous sound and image activated, I hope, our shared interest in the intersection of technology and sonic arts. Hughes was interested in more mainstream sonic outlets. In problematizing expectation in rock music through harmonic progression as both a function of context and of socialization, he asked: Does harmony behave in a universal way? Why do some chord progressions sound “wrong” and how do we gain knowledge of these rules?

Hughes plotted a matrix of influences on such choices, discovering through controlled testing that expectations are genre-specific (diatonic successions, for instance, are preferred by classical over blues listeners) and that the impact of voice leading, lyrical (a)synchronicity, and other variables must also be taken into account. Mailman took a more phenomenological approach to music as a site lacking in expectation, advocating a cybernetic model of listening and feedback practices. In positing retrospection as an active shaping force of musical experience, Mailman privileged context over convention in musical structure. By looking at otherwise undeterminable aspects of musical form and development—what Boulez might group under the term “listening angles”—as a means of analysis, Mailman made a provocative case for cybernetic phenomenology as a viable site for sonic inquiry.

Qualities emerge through change and exist by virtue of being measured as such. Hence the assertions of David Borgo (UC San Diego), who in the second session on Improvisation challenged the dominant paradigm of musical spontaneity as an individual act, seeking rather to enlarge the notion of agency to its extra-corporeal aspects. Because action of response happens more quickly than consciousness can grasp, our interpretations of the very same can only come a posteriori, subject to the same misinterpretations as any and all memory. Consciousness, argued Borgo, is autopoetic and under constant perturbation. Improvisers must therefore negotiate contingencies in all directions. To locate them at the center of webs as amorphous as their melodic constitutions is as difficult as it is to locate the true center of a universe that is forever expanding.

Neither are improvisational gestures simply plucked from the ether, as Jeremy Grall (University of Alabama at Birmingham) showed in his exploration of the hierarchies at work in seemingly indeterminate music-making. Grall’s interest was the divide (or lack thereof) between composition and improvisation and whether or not the two can be subject to the same analytical vocabularies. For him, improvisation is an already problematic term, one that may be absorbed into composition insofar as improvisation abides by underlying schemata. In order to negotiate the ambiguities of perception and the phases of concrescence therein, he looked to 16th-century improvisational models and their inherent blend of immediacy and indeterminacy.

A fascinating Demonstration Session kicked off the conference’s first evening. William Brent (American University) gave us a visual and aural tour through his Gesturally Extended Piano and Open Shaper, while Mailman returned with Columbia colleague Sofia Paraskeva for a demonstration of their “comprovisational” interface. Both of these technologies take advantage of the primacy of the body in communicating information at once inter- and intra-musical.  Read the rest of this entry »

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