Posted by Chris Becker in Composers, Concerts, Contemporary Classical, Dance, Electro-Acoustic, Experimental Music, Flute, Houston, Improv, Women composers, tags: FALKOR, Michelle Yom, Nameless Sound, Neverending Story
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.
It is no secret that violinist, violist, and sometime vocalist Miranda Cuckson is one of File Under ?’s favorite contemporary music performers on the New York scene. An excerpt of her recent Nono recording can be heard on our December Mix (see embed below).
Miranda has started a new non-profit music presenting organization called nunc. On Friday at Mannes College of Music, nunc has its maiden voyage. Miranda is joined on an 8 pm concert by mandolinist Joseph Brent, percussionist Alex Lipowski, bassoonist Adrian Morejon, mezzo Mary Nessinger, and pianists Matei Varga and Ning Yu. The program includes music by Michael Hersch, Charles Wuorinen, Iannis Xenakis, Georges Aperghis, Sofia Gubaidulina, and more.
You can read read Miranda’s program notes here. Admission is free.
File Under ? December 2012 Mix by Christian Carey on Mixcloud
Strutting their stuff, before and during the duel Photos: Matthias Bothor
The 19th century virtuoso was familiar with the idea of proving one’s prowess at the keyboard with gusto, by competing against another virtuoso. Thalberg/ Liszt are perhaps the most famous example of having such a duel, facing each other down -keyboard to keyboard.
German pianists Andreas Kern and Paul Cibis pick up their own Piano Battle, delivering both an amazing entertainment-factor to their audiences, in accordance with some powerful competitive talent demonstrating hair-splitting virtuosity.
Now they are ready to not play it safe here; Kern and Cibis will bring their novel concert-concept for the first time to the United States. Following an invitation from the Goethe-Haus, they will perform Piano Battle in Washington, at the Embassy of Austria, on January 18th.
While neither of the two accomplished, classically trained pianists are huge fans of the traditional competition arena, Kern’s search for the pursuit of different ways to present piano music on stage started long before Piano Battle. He had always looked for an intensified congregational effect between the audience and what was happening on stage. He enjoyed integrating verbal, explanatory sections into his early recitals, sensing that the audience felt more at ease when they learned something which connected them further with the performance and the performer, rather than through formal printed programs. “Even the way those programs are usually constructed requires some familiarity with the musical material – or at least with the names dropped within the biographies of the artists– which creates a rather condescending effect, “mentions Kern, when the three of us met in New York. Read the rest of this entry »
Q2, The online “Living Music, Living Composers” arm of New York’s classical radio station WQXR (105.9 FM) is requesting some feedback from its listeners. Their Listener Survey (available online here), subtitled “Help Us Serve You!”, provides Q2 listeners with an opportunity to let the station know what’s working and what you would like to see changed. Please take a few minutes and let the good folks at Q2 know that you’re out there listening with discerning ears and an appetite for more contemporary classical listening fare.
Sometimes a phone interview is the way to go, even if you live in the same town. And so it was on a rainy Friday afternoon this past December that San Francisco-based composer and cellist Joan Jeanrenaud and I “sat down” for a chat about her latest music theatre collaboration Your Body Is Not A Shark, which ran 7 11-13 January in San Francisco, and 17-20 January in Santa Cruz The celebrated and much sought after musician was the Kronos Quartet cellist from 1978 until 1999, when she “retired ” due to having been diagnosed with MS, which she’s been successfully battling ever since. With such a broad musical history behind her, plus a solo career as a composing and performing cellist and music theatre collaborator before her it’s hard to know how to begin. But how did it feel to play and record the second cello part in Vladimir Martynov’s Schubert-Quintet ( Unfinished ) ” after” Schubert’s Quintet in C D.956, with Kronos two years ago? ” We had so much fun. I really enjoyed playing with them again. It was like I’d never left, ” she recalls in a voice which still has a tinge of her Memphis, Tennessee roots. ” And I’ve always loved the cello because it’s such an expressive instrument, and composing–though I’d never thought of being a composer before–became a way of being really involved in music and playing.”
Her current music theatre adventure seems to have as many texts and sub-texts as music itself. And the focus of the project, which involves three other “gals –Cid Pearlman, choreographer; Denise Leto, poet; and Maya Barsacq, who conducts seven string members of the chamber orchestra, Cadenza, in Jeanrenaud’s score– is human fragility, in both body and spirit. That should be something everyone can relate to, or as the composer puts it “all of us have issues to deal with and the interesting thing is how you take that and make it your own,” which in her case means living with MS, which felled conductor-pianist Daniel Barenboim’s cellist wife Jacqueline Du Pre, but also involves Leto, who’s disabled, and whose words will be projected as she writes. The piece casts the net even further by using a dance company of six, which ranges in ages from 18 to 62, and Jeanrenaud says that the navigation of Pearlman’s moves will naturally be more effortful for the 62 year old. The 10 section piece, which the composer calls ” a collage of interesting elements,” will also feature ace new music percussionist William Winant, “and there are a couple of sections of just me and Willy which are quite rhythmic.”
There’s a strong visual look as well. “One piece has the orchestra creating a bed of sound, and there are staging elements like a bed platform that moves around,. Stairs and chairs are used, and there’s a desk where Denise will be seated while the audience watches her.” Jeanrenaud has also added sound files to her score, which though not a visual element, will likely add both space and sonic weight to this intensely collaborative whole. It’s an ambitious and hopefully pertinent work for our increasingly fragile time where everybody either puts on a tough face or gets in touch with what’s really happening around and in them. But one thing’s certain. The composer-cellist is one of the most gifted musicians of her generation, and like any true artist, or human being for that matter, she’s here to learn. She put it this way in a firming up e-mail regarding her time with the great French cellist Pierre Fournier who was renowned for the elegance and depth of his playing. ” Working with Fournier was a great transition from being a student to becoming a professional musician.My lessons were very clarifying regarding technical issues I would be uncertain of in my own practice. It was wonderful working with him! “
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As the Director of the 92nd Street Y’s Tisch Center for the Arts, overseeing the 92Y’s concert series and Unterberg Poetry Center endowed by the Tisch Family, Hanna Arie-Gaifman indulges her deep love and knowledge of literature and music. “I came to the 92Y in 2000,“ shares Gaifman, sitting at her small desk, loaded with papers, messages, and catalogues, in her office on the 4th floor of the Y. The building she works in inhabits a Lexington Avenue city block between 92nd and 93rd street, and represents a staple of its surrounding community, as well as a buzzing cultural center. “It is an amazing combination of everything I love, in its presentation of excellence in literature and music. It has a long history and tradition of being true to itself, carrying on its own integrity with an honest search for changing responsibilities within its community and reaching out beyond its margins, to society at large.”
Having studied piano at the Rubin Academy in Jerusalem, Gaifman certainly could have considered a career in music performance herself, but did not, feeling that her skills could allow her to make a bigger difference in other areas of the music field. It is precisely her talent for bringing concepts and cultures together that has shone through the many different roles she held as music presenter, long before making her impact at the 92Y.
As dean of the Mozart Academy in Prague, director of artistic management and international relations of the Czech Philharmonic, and director of Prague’s annual Musica Judaica Festival from 1993 -2000, Gaifman showed her skill for international cooperation and management, as well as her keen talent for enriching cultural life in post-communist Czechoslovakia. Read the rest of this entry »
Have you seen the leaden snark about new music that recently passed for a column on Huffington Post? Penned by composer Daniel Asia, it was ostensibly about John Cage’s centenary year celebrations, but was really just a rehash of reactionary vitriol against experimental art.
Aren’t we yet tired of attacking those whose aesthetic viewpoints differ from our own? Can’t we composers all just get along? Apparently not. My reply to Huff Post follows below.
With all due respect to Daniel Asia, it is very easy to write an essay excoriating a dead man and griping about centenary festivals: both are easy targets. It is not so easy to create a body of work that outlives you and continues to provoke thought. John Cage’s music may not suit Professor Asia, but it certainly engaged audiences throughout the world in 2012.
I wrote about several of the events and came away with a very different impression (from that portrayed in the article above) of Cage’s music and the music of those who admired him. Much of it I found invigorating, stimulating, and yes, often entertaining.
Assistant Professor of Music
Westminster Choir College,
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It takes real enthusiasm and a vision to bring about the change politicians speak about. In real life, it is only the most invigorated doers, like YCA’s Susan Wadsworth, who are able to implement new strategies and changes that have an enduring significance for the future.
It all started on the ground floor loft space of a restaurant on Waverly Place in New York’s Greenwich Village. The owner, a young Armenian architect, liked the idea of Susan curating concerts at his venue. So, on his off-days he cleared away the tables and added aYoung Concert Artists sign to his own sign board, and simply raised it up in front of Harout‘s, to promote the budding concert series.
“Steinway charged me 100 dollars for cartage each way and gave me a great gift… a beautiful concert grand piano that could stay at the venue during the whole season,” says Susan Wadsworth, an energetic powerhouse of small stature and hefty goals.
A trained classical pianist herself, she had studied with pianists-pedagogues Mieczyslaw Munz, Jean Casadeus and Nadia Boulanger, and was always surrounded by musician friends, some of whom she had met during her years at the Mannes College of Music, studying with Frank Sheridan.
But while she admired some of her friends’ amazing talent and felt deeply connected to music and its world, she rejected the pursuit of a career as concert pianist for herself. The decisive moment came, she explained, “When I was asked to perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23, A-major with the Mannes orchestra. I quickly realized that I really did not want to perform,” she confesses, with relief in her voice. Read the rest of this entry »
Drummer, composer, and web radio star Chris Cutler
Radio Web MACBA is a radiophonic project from the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) website that explores the possibilities of the internet and radio as spaces of synthesis and exhibition. The programs are available on demand, and as a podcast subscription.
Beginning with a program called Probes #1, drummer extraordinaire Chris Cutler (one of the founding members of the legendary band Henry Cow) examines the side-effects of the collapse of tonality in the 20th century, and intriguingly addresses the idea of Western music notation and modern recording as “memory technology.” As Cutler explains, “Different forms of memory will engender different forms of music.”
“In the late nineteenth century two facts conspired to change the face of music: the collapse of common practice tonality (which overturned the certainties underpinning the world of Art music), and the invention of a revolutionary new form of memory, sound recording (which redefined and greatly empowered the world of popular music). A tidal wave of probes and experiments into new musical resources and new organizational practices ploughed through both disciplines, bringing parts of each onto shared terrain before rolling on to underpin a new aesthetics able to follow sound and its manipulations beyond the narrow confines of ‘music’.”
“This series tries analytically to trace and explain these developments, and to show how, and why, both musical and post-musical genres take the forms they do. This first program sets the scene and investigates early reconsiderations of pitch: probes that postulate new scales to be constructed through the ever-greater subdivision of the inherited intervals of equal temperament.”
Probes #1 is a fascinating podcast, just one of several on the RWM website. Special thanks to composer and sound artist Douglas Henderson for bringing this site and Culter’s podcasts to my attention.
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From Friday 2 PM to Saturday 2 PM (EST), broadcaster Marvin Rosen will be hosting “Viva 21st Century,” a marathon of recent classical music on Princeton’s WPRB 103.3 FM (also on the web at www.wprb.com). The broadcast will include over eighty composers.
Marvin has informed me that my “Gilgamesh Suite EP” (out now on BandCamp) will be featured sometime between 7 and 9 PM on Friday.
More details below.
Viva 21st Century
Classical Discoveries will present the 10th Annual program and the 6th 24-Hour Marathon totally devoted to music composed in the 21st century.
VIVA 21ST CENTURY – INTERNATIONAL EDITION
24-HOUR LIVE WPRB RADIO BROADCAST with Marvin Rosen
starts: Friday, December 28, 2012 – 2:00pm
ends: Saturday, December 29, 2012 – 2:00pm.
Approximately 80 composers will have their works aired during this marathon.
Milosz Bembinow, Thomas Blomenkamp, Sylvie Bodorova,Christian Carey, Jennifer Castellano, Daniel Dorff, Hugues Dufourt, Rosemary Duxbury, Ivan Erod, Vladimir Godar, Ola Gjeilo, Jennifer Higdon, Matthew Hindson, Mary Ann Joyce-Walter, Lei Liang, Michel Lysight, Peter Machajdik, Franco Antonio Mirenzi, Andrew Rudin, Carl Ruttl, Somei Satoh, Ravi Shankar, Ylva Skog, Allan Stephenson, John Tavener, Giel Vleggaar, Joelle Wallach and many, many others.
For Internet listeners link to excellent Time Zone Converter: http://www.timezoneconverter.com/cgi-bin/tzc.tzc
Facebook event page here: RSVP and invite your friends!
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