Archive for the “Dance” Category

Houston-based flutist, composer, and improviser Michelle Yom

Houston-based flutist, composer, and improviser Michelle Yom

(Houston, TX) This Sunday, Houston-based flutist, composer, and improviser Michelle Yom presents FALKOR, an interactive music and dance composition featuring Yom on flute and four dancers, Kriten Frankiewicz, Erin Reck, Leslie Scates, and Sophia Torres. FALKOR utilizes video motion tracking and a wireless system triggering audio samples based on the colors of the costumes worn by the dancers as well as their movements. FALKOR takes place at Studio 101 as part of the ongoing electronic music series Brave New Waves.

Fantasy film fans (not to mention fans of 1980s pop music) will no doubt recognize the name Falkor (i.e. Falkor the Luck Dragon) from the film Neverending Story, which tells the story of a young boy who, through reading a magical book, enters into another world called Fantasia, a world sustained by human imagination. Yom uses the names of different characters and creatures from the film, each of whom represent some facet of humanity, as “venture points” to explore “the relationships between emotions, noise, sound, silence, and nothingness.”

Says Yom, “Falkor is luck and joy, Swamps of Sadness is sadness, Engywook is intellect, and Morla is cynicism. I use these characters as general ground to inspire the improvised music and dance. It seems linear, but I hope to show other sides of seemingly one-sided notions of emotion. For example, we treat sadness as a negative feeling, but it actually springs from hope in the first place, and when destroyed, begins something new.”

As a frequent participant in concerts of freely improvised music presented by the Houston organization Nameless Sound, improvisation is a crucial component to Yom’s compositional vision. Each of the four dancers in FALKOR are experienced improvisers as well. The wireless system triggering audio in response to their movement and costume colors will scramble the audience’s perception of what has been composed and what is being improvised, as well as time itself.

“I’ve been exploring silence,” explains Yom. “Different types of silence with factors like physical movement and the inevitably strong role it plays in our perception of time in a concert. I’d like to push the length of silence in a musical piece without losing the audience.”

Sunday, January 27, Brave New Waves presents Michelle Yom’s FALKOR at Studio 101 at Spring Street Studios, 1824 Spring Street, Houston, Texas, Houston, Texas 77007. Doors open at 7:45 p.m. the performance begins at 8:05 p.m. $10 cover.

Tune in to KTRU Saturday at 6:00 p.m. CT for an interview with Michelle Yom.

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Many of us love to see musical works created to accompany choreography performed with dancers involved. But this weekend finds musicians approaching these pieces from another vantage point. Ne(x)tworks, Greenwich Music House’s ensemble-in-residence, presents “Music Without Dance,”  a festival of works originally written for dance that are abstracted from movement and performed as absolute music.

What’s revealed about these pieces by listening to them while imagining (or even avoiding thinking about) the dances to which they were originally attached? Curation by subtraction: I like it!

Ne(x)tworks Presents the “Music Without Dance” Festival

Saturday, February 25th: 7:30PM concert

Sunday, February 26th: 6:00PM free panel discussion, 7:30PM concert

at Greenwich House Music School

(46 Barrow Street at Bedford, 212-242-4770)

Concert tickets: $15 at door, Students/Seniors $10 (no advance sales)

Event Link

“Music Without Dance” Program:

Saturday, Feb. 25, 7:30PM

Concert program:

Moving Spaces (2002)  by Christian Wolff

Migrations (2008) by Miguel Frasconi

Future Sight (2010) by Shelley Burgon

Relative Calm (1981) by Jon Gibson

Sunday, Feb. 26, 6:00PM

FREE panel discussion on the relationship between music and dance.

With choreographers Yoshiko Chuma, Katherine Beyar, Nai-Ni Chen, Erica Essner,

and composers Joan La Barbara, Miguel Frasconi, John King, Annea Lockwood.

Sunday, Feb. 26, 7:30PM

Concert program:

Stuplimity No. 3 (2007) by Christopher McIntyre

Desert Myths (2006) by Joan La Barbara

Jitterbug (2007) by Annea Lockwood

DELTA (dreamdeepdown) (2002) by John King

Ne(x)tworks is: Joan La Barbara (voice), Shelley Burgon (harp & electronics), Yves Dharamraj (cello), Miguel Frasconi (glass instruments & electronics, Director), Ariana Kim (violin), Christopher McIntyre (trombone), and special guest Jenny Lin (piano). Learn more on the Ne(x)tworks website  www.nextworksmusic.net.

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Opera Singer Misha Penton as Klytemnestra (photo by Kerry Beyer)

(Houston, TX) Houston based opera singer Misha Penton opens her unique performance space Divergence Vocal Theater this Friday, April 15th. Located at Spring Street Studios, home to many of Houston’s finest visual and mixed media artists. Divergence Vocal Theater will bring together Ms. Penton’s team of singers, musicians, composers, dancers, and lighting and costume designers to present new chamber opera repertoire. Klytemnestra, a collaborative opera dance theater work featuring music by composer Dominick DiOrio, sung text by Misha Penton, spoken text by John Harvey, and choreography by Meg Brooker, is receiving a great deal of positive press in advance of its premier April 15th and 16th at Divergence Vocal Theater.

Ms. Penton’s mission is to subvert the social mores and business paradigms preventing singers from creating their own works. In the wake of reality after graduate school, more and more classical instrumentalists are creating their own business and career models, going further and further out into what is, for many musicians, uncharted territory. Violinist Todd Reynolds, the ensemble Alarm Will Sound, and Houston based pianists Jade Simmons and Kris Becker are a few examples of musicians who are each developing a sustainable means for commissioning, performing, and deriving an income from playing contemporary classical music. Their approaches are as varied as their personalities, and there is much to discuss when it comes to what is actually working for one musician as opposed to another. But in the near future, these intrepid instrumentalists are going to find that more and more singers, including Misha Penton, are “out there” with them.

Misha and I met shortly after my relocating to Houston and I quickly recognized a kindred spirit. This interview took place via email in advance of the premier of Kyltemnestra.

Chris Becker: In a recent interview you said: “One of the things I want to do…is restructure the way people think about who does opera, how it’s done, who makes it, and who performs it…What I do with Divergence is…create my own works and I sing in them. It’s very much something actors and dancers do, but singers are not encouraged to create their own products.” Do you think this model that you’re describing is the future of classically trained musicians?

Misha Penton: Actually, I do – but it’s already happening. And it really isn’t anything new…instrumentalists in particular have been savvy to this model for a long time – the success of independent ensembles like Eighth Blackbird comes to mind immediately. Some conservatories are starting to take entrepreneurship seriously. Opera America has a great feature about entrepreneurship in its spring magazine and about singer-led initiatives, and entrepreneurship is the theme for the conference this year as well. Obviously rock and jazz musicians work this way and always have. I’m seeing more classically trained singers take on their own projects, but it doesn’t seem to be as encouraged by the vocal teaching tradition as it could be…but again, that is all changing. The more opportunities we, as artists create, the better we’ll be able to define success for ourselves. As a singer, I’m only partly an interpretive artist. I’m a theater artist and writer too, so I’ve always done creative work. I think of myself as an independent artist who happens to create work collaboratively.

Opera Singer Misha Penton (photo by Kerry Beyer)

CB: Who are some of your peers among singers that are doing something similarly subversive?

MP There are more and more small opera companies popping up that singers are joining forces to create – that’s absolutely fantastic. And classically trained singers are branching out into all sorts of music projects. I meet singers all the time who say, “Hey I have this idea for a project” – I just love that. Go do it!

In general, I question the traditional company and nonprofit structure – so I’m not sure that’s the best survival tactic nor the best creative model. There are so many options for funding work now without forming a nonprofit (fiscal sponsorship, crowdfunding, etc). The last thing I want on my back is an “organization”. I work project-to-project and I’m aspiring to a Robert Fripp-ian model – a “small mobile intelligent unit”.

Read the rest of this entry »

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[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BY4bL_bO8sA[/youtube]

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Nico Muhly is set to appear at the Santa Monica Apple Store on the Third Street Promenade Wednesday, September 8th to mark two new releases from Decca. “A Good Understanding” will be released exclusively on iTunes on September 7, with physical copies available on September 21 alongside “I Drink the Air Before Me”.

Composer Nico Muhly


Muhly along with Los Angeles Master Chorale conductor Grant Gershon will take part in a Q&A session – where Muhly will demonstrate how he creates his compositions with GarageBand on his MacBook Pro. The talk will end with a performance by members of the Los Angeles Master Chorale featuring two works from “A Good Understanding” and two related works, “Like as the Hart” and “Wayfaring Stranger”.
John Clare spoke with Muhly about the works and event: mp3 file
Nico Muhly and Los Angeles Master Chorale conductor Grant Gershon appear at the Santa Monica Apple Store on Wednesday, September 8, 7:00 p.m.
Bonus – listen to the rest of the conversation as Muhly interviews Clare: mp3 file

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We covered some great shows coming up this month in the Bay Area and NYC, now it’s Seattle’s turn. For the next two weekends (June 4-6 & 11-13) On the Boards will be hosting the 2010 NW New Works Festival which features “emerging and established artists from a variety of performance disciplines” and “highlights artists who are pushing themselves to take on new challenges.” Looking over the list of showcases it seems that the festival is primarily focused on new theater and dance, but there are a few music related sets in there if you look hard. The Mint Collective, Josephine’s Echopraxia, and Corrie Befort all appear to be cross-disciplinary/music/multimedia/collaborative productions.

On the Boards is also bringing back “PODFEST” as part of the festival.  From June 4-13, On the Boards will roll out 6 short videos (video podcasts featuring performance made for film), one each Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the festival. They can be viewed at ontheboards.org and in the lobbies prior to each festival showcase.

All the information about the festival, including youtube videos for all the artists, can be found here.

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I know, short-short notice for the NYC crowd … But there’s a pretty giddy concert to attend this (Wednesday) evening at 8:30 PM, St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery (131 East 10th Street, Second Ave. and 10th Street / $10).  The International Street Cannibals — a happy cabal of composers, chamber players, filmmakers and painters, conceived by in 2005 by composer, cellist, conductor Dan Barrett, and steered by composer/guitarist Gene Pritsker — are presenting “Desperately Seeking Stravinsky”.  Now, Stravinsky was always amenable to the dance, and I don’t think there are many of his works that haven’t been choreographed, but I don’t think he or I ever considered what’s on this concert’s bill: a performance of L’Histoire du Soldat with tapdancer, and the piano suite from Petrouchka with breakdancer!  And our old composer pal Joseph Pehrson‘s Blacklight for cello and electronics (in the near-just-intonation tuning system of “blackjack”) will also be performed, and danced as well by Linda Past. So get footloose and flashdance your way down there tonight!

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