We all know Hilary Hahn as Sequenza 21′s resident video blogger; oh, and she’s a world class violinist and DG recording artist.
Wearing both of those hats simultaneously, Hilary had a video chat via Skype with composer Max Richter earlier this week. Richter is one of 27 composers commissioned to write an encore for Hahn; she begins debuting the pieces this coming October. In order to spotlight the featured composers, Hilary’s planning to release a video interview with one each month. It makes us here at Sequenza 21 feel kind of special. After all, how many other websites have their video blogger booked two years out?
Maya Beiser, everyone’s favorite ex-Can Banging All Star downtown cellist, was an invited presenter at the March 2011 TED conference. The TED site recently released a high quality video of her lecture recital, and it’s already garnered over 80,000 views!
TED’s slogan: “Ideas worth spreading.” We’re glad that Maya’s getting the chance to spread the word about Steve Reich’s Cello Counterpoint and David Lang’sWorld to Come far and wide!
My parents-in-law have a long tradition of enthusiastic photography. Greta the golden retriever is less than a year old, but she’s already an accomplished model.
To those readers in the United States, I’d like to wish you a safe and happy Independence Day. While there’s a lot of music played on this holiday that is arranged to be “broadly appealing,” Charles Ives was never one to compromise. “Fourth of July” (1904), from the Holidays Symphony, complexly layers a number of patriotic tunes, which move a different speeds and simultaneously appear in different keys.
No one will mistake this piece for John Philip Sousa anytime soon, but it’s Ives’ way of paying tribute to the complex and multifaceted portrait that he saw both as America in the modern age and as the epitome of the American dream. Michael Tilson Thomas leads the Chicago Symphony in the embedded video below.
Steve Reich turns 75 this coming October, and the celebrations have already begun. Later this month is a concert at Carnegie Hall on April 30th. It features the Kronos Quartet in a new piece commemorating a more sombre anniversary: WTC 9/11.
In the lead up to the Carnegie concert, there will likely be countless interviews, features, etc.; but this YouTube video is a terrific five-minute distillation of Reich’s interests, influences, and musical style.
I love the segue early on from bebop ii-V-I changes to Steve Reich’s pulsating ostinati.
Thus far, 2011 seems to be the year of the festival. From Tune Up to Tully Scope and beyond, a wide variety of adventurous outings have been offered in New York. Starting tonight, Symphony Space joins in the fun with their Cutting Edge Concerts New Music Festival.
If each festival has had its own identity – Tune Up reveling in the Park Avenue Armory’s generous space and acoustics, Tully Scope celebrating the diversity of its offerings and its newly remodeled digs – the emphasis of Cutting Edge seems, like so many events at Symphony Space, to be outreach and interaction.
All of the composers will be present at the concerts featuring their music. Each program will include onstage discussion between the featured composers and Victoria Bond. One hopes that meeting composers “in the flesh” and learning about their works firsthand will encourage audience members to approach their works with open minds and ears.
Tonight’s concert includes a world premiere by talented up and comer Hannah Lash, as well as a New York premiere by perennial audience favorite Peter Schickele. Kathleen Supove performs a work by Randy Woolf . Topping it all off is Hidden Inside Mountains, a new multimedia work by downtown luminary Laurie Anderson.
Cutting Edge Concerts New Music Festival is on four Monday evenings at 7:30 pm on
March 28, April 4, April 11 and April 25, 2011 at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre in
Peter Norton Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th Street in New York City.
More information about the Festival, including program notes, performer and composer bios, and
Unsuk Chin (b. 1961) is a decorated composer and an important figure on the international scene. But even though she’s won the prestigious Grawemeyer Prize, one could still argue that she isn’t programmed nearly enough as yet in the United States. I was very taken with the Ensemble Intercontemporain’s 2009 performance of Akrostichon-Wortspiel at Alice Tully Hall. It sent me in search of scores and recordings to study. Sadly, I haven’t since had the opportunity to hear more of her work live.
But tomorrow, the Talea Ensemble and guest pianist Taka Kigawa will perform an Unsuk Chin Composer Portrait at New York’s Bohemian Hall on February 16, 2011 at 8:00 p.m. The concert includes selections from her Piano Etudes (1999), and the New York premieres of Chin’s ParaMetaString (1996), Allegro ma non troppo (1994), and Fantaisie Mécanique (1997). Ms. Chin will be present for the concert and featured in an onstage interview with Dr. Anthony Cheung, Talea’s Artistic Director.
JACK Quartet presents two concerts in LA this coming Sunday and Monday. On 2/13, they’re giving an afternoon concert for the Da Camera Society (tickets/details here) at the Southern California Instituteof Architecture. The program includes early music – Machaut and Gesualdo – as well as contemporary works: Philip Glass’ 5th Quartet and Tetras by Iannis Xenakis. The selections certainly suit the concert’s location: both Xenakis and Machaut are composers who should be of interest to architects!
On Monday, JACK will present a different program as part of Monday Evening Concerts at the Colburn School (tickets/details here). It includes both of Aaron Cassidy’s quartets, John Cage’s String Quartet in Four Parts, Anton Webern’s Op. 9 Bagatelles, and Horaţiu Rădulescu’s String Quartet No. 5 “before the universe was born.”
This looks to be an amazing double header of new music programs. I hope that some of our Californian readers will be able to attend. If so, please send us a report.
Tim Rutherford-Johnson has an excellent post about Aaron Cassidy’s 2nd Quartet on New Music Box today.
As Tim pointed out on his blog, Paul Griffiths’ notes for the 2/14 program are online.
Merkin Hall’sEcstatic Music Festivalkicked off this week with a seven hour long marathon of concerts on Monday. The focus of the festival is on connections between contemporary classical and current indie/pop music. Artists from both sides of the stylistic street are performing. This year, the festival runs all the way until March 28th.
This pop/classical hybridization may not be everyone’s cup o’ joe (John C. Adams has had some less than charitable things to say about it of late), but it certainly is inspiring to a number of composers in their 20s and 30s, and the energy of their work and enthusiasm of their collaborations I finding exciting.
Alas, I missed the marathon, but I’m going to see the Chiara String Quartet, performing works by Nico Muhly & Valgeir Sigurðsson, tomorrow night (review will appear in Musical Americalater this week).
Ah, this the Golden Age, my friends, when the mellifuous sound of Autotune is everywhere, bringing dulcet harmony and order to everything from the latest pop and hip-hop singles worldwide to even the news. And now, thanks to the inspiration of Toronto composer Matthew Reid, even to the veritable sounds of “silence” as well!… Of course we all know that John Cage‘s iconic piece 4’33″ is not really three movements of silence; the point is that those movements frame and draw attention to all of the other sounds present in the space where the piece is being played. What Reid has done is to create a performance of 4’33″, and then turn Autotune loose on that “silent” background. It turns the ambiance of the space into the sound of ghostly choirs and tiny chordal outbursts. While the Cageian purist might say this undermines the whole point of the piece (listening to the sounds that be as themselves), to me there’s a bit of innovation and subversion that recalls the twinkle in Cage’s own eye: