Archive for the “Support” Category

…and the results were not good… One of the brightest small labels for new music in the last 4-5 years has been NYC’s New Amsterdam Records. Founded by Judd GreensteinSarah Kirkland Snider, and William Brittelle, its catalog is full of some of the best young, fresh composers working today, performed by a bevy of equally fresh & talented players. This label has quickly risen to the forefront in capturing and disseminating the newer American scene.

All of that hard work has unfortunately just gotten a lot harder; Their offices are in the Redhook area of New York City, and weren’t dealt kindly with by Hurricane Sandy. As Sarah Kirkland Snider writes on her Facebook page:

Our new New Amsterdam HQ in Red Hook was totaled by Sandy. The water mark is over 4′. We had moved much of the office to higher ground prior to the storm, and elevated everything else, but we still lost all files/paperwork, a hard drive, some furniture, vintage synthesizers and music gear, and most of our CD stock. Our landlord does not have flooding insurance, and our attempts to acquire it before the storm were denied. There is some talk of FEMA helping uninsured Red Hook businesses, but that seems like a long shot. Stunned and heavy-hearted we are.

Truly a catastrophe for a small company like this… Clean-up and picking through has begun, but they’re certainly going to need a lot of help to get back to a point where they can continue the outstanding service they’ve done to new music listeners, performers and composers alike. Nothing is set yet, but at the very least you can “like” their Facebook page to show your support, and to stay aware of any coming requests for help, donations, or benefits.

New Amsterdam is truly a treasure, and we’re absolutely rooting for a comeback.

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Composers under 30, listen up - the world famous Kronos Quartet wants you.

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On September 11, 2011 the United States marks a decade since the deadliest terrorist attack on our soil, one that has left an indelible mark on the nation’s psyche as a whole. A number of musical tributes, from modest concerts to widely publicized record releases, will be taking place. One of the most unique and interesting is the marathon concert being curated/organized by composers Eleonor Sandresky and Daniel Felsenfeld at Joyce Soho, 155 Mercer Street in Manhattan. Music After, as the event is called, will begin at 8:46 a.m. on Sunday, September 11, 2011 and extend till just after midnight and will feature music by composers who were living in downtown Manhattan on September 11, 2001, a veritable “who’s-who” of the international new music scene including Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, Joan LaBarbara, Phil Niblock, Michael Gordon, Phil Kline, Nico Muhly, Judd Greenstein, Morton Subotnick and Rosanne Cash, among many others.

Music After is as much a commemoration of community as it is a memorial for those lost on that morning ten years ago. “So many people I spoke with (after 9/11),” says Sandresky, “talked about how important it had been for them to join in their community and help out. It was definitely something that I had wanted to do as well but couldn’t. Living as I did then with the “pile”–as it was known–literally just around the corner, it was too overwhelming for me, but there were many that did volunteer.
“On the first anniversary [of 9/11],” adds Felsenfeld, “when so many large-scale memorials and commemorations were laid out, I remember thinking that the best way to actually acknowledge the event musically had less to do with ‘requiems’ and ‘threnodies’ and more to do with people. I was a few blocks from the World Trade Center that morning, I saw (and smelled and felt) everything. And I was certainly not alone. So I imagined a LONG concert where every composer or songwriter we could locate who either lived there or happened to be there would be represented with a short and modest work. Then the event becomes not about the fallen or the horror of the day, but about the sheer scope of composers–different kinds of composers, many of whom define what we think of in terms of various musical “scenes”–who were in the thick of the morning.” “This event,” says Sandresky, “is about bringing our community together to stand and sing and play together on this day. And we are coming together as a community and reaching out to our greater community with music.”

Felsenfeld adds that “it is the scope of the concert that makes its point: that so many were affected so directly. Even a four-hour concert would require us to leave out people, and we didn’t want to have to do that. Besides–and I will speak for myself here but suspect I’m not the only one who feels this way–every year September 11 is a difficult day to get through, and we liked the idea that there was a place where, from 8.46am, the moment the first plane hit, until the earliest moments of September 12, there would be somewhere for people in our own community to go. Even if they don’t come,–even if none of them come–it is just a good thing to have as an option.”

In this spirit of community, Music After is a completely grass-roots organized, produced and funded event. There are no corporate or institutional sponsors. Sandresky and Felsenfeld are, therefore, relying on the new music community to rally together to make this event happen, providing yet another avenue for participation for those of us who may not have been directly affected by the events of September 11, 2001 (because we did not live in New York or Washington) but who still bear the scars of this national tragedy. To that end, there are a number of ways to contribute: you can give to Music After’s IndieGoGo campaign or if you have a PayPal account and would like to contribute using that service, you can visit the event’s web site and click on the “give” tab; for large donations, please contact Eleonor Sandresky and/or Daniel Felsenfeld directly via musicafter911@gmail.com for further information on how to make your contribution. “As far as giving goes,” says Felsenfeld, “both Eleonor and myself are strictly volunteers–nothing is going directly to us–and the Joyce SoHo has generously donated their space for the day. All the money we need is going to pay for the people who are going to make the event happen that day: the performers, the crew, the tech, as well as the rental of the equipment. Almost everyone is working at a reduced rate, but with eighteen hours of music, over 50 composers, and somewhere around 75 performers as well as a full staff, you can see that we’ll need your help.”

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photo by Keith TalleyFriend, trumpeter, Co-Artistic Director of ANALOG arts and S21 pal Joseph Drew, today on his own ANABlog space shared a few more thoughts on the economic realities of today’s orchestra. Joe had already written some about this earlier this year, but was prompted to bring it up again after spotting a post by the Music Director of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Bill Eddins, over at his own blog.

An excerpt from Joe:

Sounds like other folks are starting to wake up to the reality of the orchestral labor market. Last April, in response to the argument that salary cuts at major orchestras will prompt their members to flee to better-paying jobs, I argued: …where exactly are all these top-flight musicians going to go? To one of the other 17 full-time orchestras with a yawning budget deficit? The market for orchestral talent is hardly dynamic. There is far more supply than there is demand, and the dirty little secret is that the players aren’t what makes the orchestra great (see NY Phil: great players, underachieving ensemble). Buried in that BSO announcement last month is the fact that they are actually replacing two professional seats with amateurs from Peabody. What matters in an orchestra is who’s on the podium and who’s leading the sections. There’s plenty of room for fair to middling talent in even the great orchestras. [...] For now, I’d just point out that what you are generally seeing in Baltimore, Detroit, Philly and other orchestras in similar straits is a dim recognition on the management’s part that the party might just be over, and a determination on the players’ parts to rebuild the bubble. Given their druthers, I get the impression that both sides would be happy to return to their Quixotic days inside the bubble, and that fundamental delusion is the biggest problem facing these institutions.

And an excerpt from Bill:

Two interesting situations are developing that on the surface may not seem connected but are actually deeply related. For better or for worse. Detroit. Charleston. One’s a biggie.  The other’s a … not so biggie … though I’m sure that the musicians in Charleston who rely on those jobs to make a living would argue otherwise, and I can’t really blame them. What they have in common is that for years no one has taken adequate responsibility for the long term health of these organizations. Now they’re paying for it. [...] While the big boys were jacking up their salaries over the past 40 years, and everyone else was trying to Keep Up With The Joneses, some serious systemic imbalances got contracted into the picture. No one seemed to mind deficit after deficit after deficit. But, unfortunately for us, only the Government has license to print money. The general economy is retrenching and the orchestra business isn’t going to be far behind. The admittedly excellent orchestras like Detroit are now in the position where decades of deficit spending and endowment raiding are going to come home to roost. Whether we like to admit it or not, we musicians have been complicit in this debacle. At some point the long-term health of an organization must be more important than how much the salary will increase during the next year of the contract.

So, how long until we’re a country with maybe 1000 living-wage musicians in 10-15 orchestras in only the biggest cities, and everybody else scraping what they can from wherever; and does that mean that most folk would be fools to invest years learning instruments that so few will pay them to play?

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