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340 W. 57th Street, 12B, New York, NY 10019

Jerry Bowles
(212) 582-3791

Managing Editor:
David Salvage

Contributing Editors:

Galen H. Brown
Evan Johnson
Ian Moss
Lanier Sammons
Deborah Kravetz
Eric C. Reda
Christian Hertzog
(San Diego)
Jerry Zinser
(Los Angeles)

Web & Wiki Master:
Jeff Harrington

Latest Posts

Love and Cow Bells
Sorceress of the New Piano
Well, That Was Fun
Naxos Dreaming
Reich@70: Let the Celebrations Begin
The Bi-Coastal Jefferson Friedman
Violins Invade Indianapolis
John Cage (born Los Angeles, 5 September 1912; died New York, 12 August 1992).
The People United Will Never Be Divided
Attention Sequenza21 Shoppers


Record companies, artists and publicists are invited to submit CDs to be considered for review. Send to: Jerry Bowles, Editor, Sequenza 21, 340 W. 57th Street, 12B, New York, NY 10019

Friday, August 12, 2005

Some interesting events coming up around New York City next week, but first � this just in: Steve Reich has another accolade to pick up. Next Sunday, Reich will head up to New Hampshire to accept the MacDowell Medal, an award whose past recipients include Aaron Copland and Edward Hopper. I wonder if ole Steve likes �To a Wild Rose?�

Also on Sunday, Lincoln Center Outdoors presents �Homemade Instrument Day.� Among the featured performers is the First Vienna Vegetable Orchestra. (Be there if you know what�s good for ya.) And on Wednesday Symphony Space plays host to an evening of music by John Eaton who�s been setting texts by the 17th century Latin American poet and playwright Sor Juana de la Cruz lately.

Back here at the ranch, Ian Moss tries to kick the Composers Forum into action by asking how much you really compose; Jeffrey Biegel salutes Claude Bolling; Brian Sacawa (hey man, long time no see!) talks theremin; and Pliable has a post just below.

Unless I chime in with something over the weekend, this is my last day as your daily guide to S21. It�s time to immerse myself in course-prep and do some last minute summer composing. And ride the Staten Island Ferry � which actually I�ve never done. And master the ocarina. Have a good weekend everybody.
Wiki classical music repository?

Watch out for a possible new project from Wikimedia which involves creating an online repository of classical music performed by student orchestras. The news comes in an interview in yesterday's Guardian (11th Aug) with Wikimedia Foundation founder Jimmy Wales.

The classical music repository could be part of a project in which the innovative and ambitious Wikimedia spreads its wings over many forms of culture, including an archive of paintings by old masters, and a new audio file format to rival MP3.

On an overgrown path has some more details and a link to the article.
Heeeey, Ocarina! (Sung like �Heeeey, Macarena!�)

William Bolcom�s headed for some reminiscing back at his old high school in Everett, WA. It�s a cute article, so give it a look.

Back here at the Situation Room, Anthony is looking for pieces written in 1969 and 1985 to demonstrate the variety of music that can be written in the same year; someone send Lou Bunk some dancing girls, huh?; and Pliable has a post just below about lots of stuff � including the Vivaldi story I�ve been willfully ignoring the last few days. Oh and I just received my new ocarina from E-bay, so I�m now cool.
Exciting new music discovery from Australia

Well OK this one is stretching it a bit. But it is the 'silly season' for news stories, and it makes a great headline doesn't it? Dr Janice Stockigt from Melbourne University has unearthed a brand new 11 movement Dixit Dominus by Vivaldi in Dresden, get the whole story at Now for some very little known Vivaldi.

But there's lots of genuine new music news as well. Next week's BBC Proms have some real gems. These include the world premiere of Marc-Andre Dalbavie's Piano Concerto played by Leif Ove Andsnes. This is a BBC co-commission with the Cleveland and Chicago orchestras, so we should be hearing a lot more of it. And don't miss Tippett's Symphony No 4 on Friday 19th September conducted by that great champion of his music Sir Colin Davis. Picking up the antipodean thread I started with listen out for Douglas Lilburn's (see photo) 1961 Symphony No 3 played on Thursday 18th by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. He is a very underrated composer who deserves a wider audience. On an overgrown path's weekly Proms preview has all the information, including links to webcasts.

Staying with not quite so new music there is an interesting thread at Whatever happened to Howard Hanson?. And elsewhwere the Gustavo Dudamel debate rages on. This one is not only about how to launch a new talent. It is also about the importance of music education as pioneered in Venezuela, and the commercial forces shaping classical music, which like an iceberg are 90% invisible. There are some really worthwhile comments and links (Including one from Felipe Izcaray who is Music Director of the Salta Symphony Orchestra in Salta, Argentina and has recorded works by contemporary Argentinian composer Eduardo Alonso-Crespo). The comments are both on the original Dudamel story, and the follow up review.
Lera Auerbach: The Total Package

The Russian-American composer/pianist Lera Auerbach (b. 1973) will pick up the 2005 Hindemith Prize, worth 20,000 Euros, tomorrow at Reinbek castle during the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. Sonia Wieder-Atherton, violoncello and the composer herself will perform the European premiere of her Sonata No. 1 for violoncello and piano at the awards ceremony in Reinbek.

Auerbach (b. 1973) is one of the most widely performed composers of the new generation. She is the youngest composer on the roster of the prestigious international music publishing company Hans Sikorski well-known as a home to Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Schnittke, Gubaidulina and Kancheli.

Following the success of her ballet Pr�ludes CV premiered in 2003 by the Hamburg State Opera, ballet director John Neumeier asked her for a new full-length ballet. The world premiere of Auerbach�s ballet version of the Andersen fairy tale The Little Mermaid took place on 15 April 2005 at the newly-opened Copenhagen Opera House. Auerbach was in Hamburg in late April for the premiere of her String Quartet, and a stay as composer-in-residence at the Bremen Music Festival is planned for the fall.

Her new work Dialogues on Stabat Mater after Pergolesi for violin, viola and chamber orchestra will be performed there on 13 September. The soloists are Gidon Kremer (violin) and Ula Uljona (viola) with the Kremerata Baltica. Two days later, the work will received its Swiss premiere at the Lucerne Festival. Auerbach has dedicated her composition Dreams and Whispers of Poseidon to the victims of the flood catastrophe. The piece was premiered by the American Youth Symphony on 27 March in Los Angeles.

Works by Auerbach are also scheduled for performance at the International Beethoven Festival in Bonn, which will be concentrating on Russian music during the coming year.

She's also a formidable poet and what we at Sequenza21 like to tastefully call a "babe."
Wake up! � It�s Wednesday

Some good stuff happening here at the fun-house. Do you know what a �blogule� is? Arnold Rosner does. Elodie loves the Miller Theater (so do I), but she�s a little underwhelmed by the coming season�s Composer Portraits series (so am I). And get over and extend a big CONGRATULATIONS TO LARRY DILLON whose wife on Monday gave birth to their first child. Otherwise, read about the Young Eight in the Calendar; there�s some (ahem) cool new stuff in the Listening Room; and Jerry�s back just below with some words from John Luther Adams. For other news, scroll down the page and look for the �News� links down the right.
for Lou Harrison

On September 27 at the New England Conservatory, the Callithumpian Consort will perform for Lou Harrison, a 66-minute elegy for string quartet, two pianos and string ensemble composed by our northern friend John Luther Adams. Here are John's notes for the piece:
for Lou Harrison

Lou Harrison was a generous friend and wise mentor to me for almost 30 years. His faith in and support of my music was a decisive influence in my life. I learned more from my time with Lou than from any of my institutional studies. And he was an inspiring model of how to live, without regret or bitterness, as an uncompromising independent composer.

Composed in 2003-2004, for Lou Harrison completes a trilogy of large-scale memorial works that also includes Clouds of Forgetting, Clouds of Unknowing (1991-95) and In the White Silence (1998).

for Lou Harrison encompasses the most lush and active textures in my music to date, moving in four tempo layers (in the proportions 4/5/6/7)throughout. The work�s two textures --rising arpeggios over sustained harmonic clouds, and long solo lines over "procession-like" material--alternate in nine continuous sections, each of which is grounded in a different five-, six- or seven-tone harmony. The formal structures of the composition recur throughout the score, but the sound of the music
is always changing.

for Lou Harrison was not commissioned. I composed this work because I was compelled to do so in response to the death of one of the most important figures in my life. Amid the daunting realities of today�s world, Lou Harrison and his joyful ecumenical life and music seem more vital and more pertinent than ever before.

� John Luther Adams
Winter Solstice 2004
The September 27 program will open with Red Arc/Blue Veil for piano, mallet percussion and processed sounds, performed by pianist Stephen Drury and percussionist Scott Deal. Also: Next month, Mode Records will release John's Strange and Sacred Noise on CD and DVD.
Tuesday = Snooze-day

Jeffrey Zeigler is the Kronos's new cellist. Read all about it...

Otherwise, all the news is at S21 today. Check out David Hanlon's report from Banglewood just below; Ian Moss has some new CD Reviews; my baiting over at the Composers Forum hasn't exactly produced the most enlightening thread, but click on the comments for Steve Layton's enormous list of women composers from
David Hanlon at Banglewood

NB: David Hanlon is a pianist and composer living in New York City. A true Renaissance man, he graduated from Wesleyan with a degree in Classics and Music and received his MM in Piano Performance from Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Constance Keene and Miyoko Lotto. He's also a devotee of James Joyce and knows how to play the oud -- which makes him much cooler than me. David files this dispatch about his experiences at last month's Bang on a Can Institute. -- D.S.

You gotta love a place whose outreach efforts include playing the seventh inning stretch of a local baseball game in 7/8 (naturally) with instruments made of hula hoops and PVC pipes that sound like a chorus of squawking dinosaurs.

This was the Bang on a Can Summer Institute of Music, aka Banglewood. The two and a half week festival took place on the grounds of Mass MoCa, a contemporary art museum in the Berkshires. Instrument maker, guitarist, and faculty member Mark Stewart best summed up the festival�s energy in his description of his instruments. He likes to call his creations �soundmakers,� �feral� and �undomesticated� instruments on which one plays, in both the musical and childish senses of the word. Banglewood is a place where we�re encouraged at every turn to harness such adventurous glee to disciplined music making.

Every day began with a seminar in �unwritten music.� This included Mark�s class in making original instruments as well as conducted improvisation, Balinese chants, and raga. Not only was it fascinating to get a taste of these various disciplines, it was an excellent way to start a musical day. By divorcing us from our instruments and standard areas of expertise, we began the day as neither pianists, violists, nor composers but as soundmakers ourselves.

The rest of the day was devoted to rehearsals of pieces, most of which were destined for performance on the six-hour Marathon concert to take place the last day of the festival. The ensembles played everything from masterpieces by guest composer Steve Reich, to works hot off the presses by the institute�s composition fellows. In each of the groups, there was at least one faculty member playing in the ensemble. I would have learned plenty just by playing alongside such musicians, but the faculty often took the initiative to contribute even more. At one point Ethel and Steve Reich Ensemble violinist Todd Reynolds passed by a room where I was practicing Reich�s Eight Lines. Todd took it upon himself to wander in and give me an impromptu lesson on playing Reich idiomatically.

Mass MoCa proved an inspiring place to make music. We not only used their performance and rehearsal spaces but invaded the galleries themselves. The faculty gives gallery recitals in the late afternoon, while lunch is open to the fellows to do crazy things wherever they like. So in addition to more straightforward performances, we had a flutist performing Sciarrino among the denizens of a giant birdcage, a clarinetist under an upside-down car suspended from the ceiling, and so on. I was particularly thrilled when we performed a spatial piece throughout a warehouse-like space and our audience included a gaggle of young day-campers who had wandered in. That kind of audience you�re not going to get in a concert hall too easily.

I�m back in New York now and I feel more energized, creative, and musically open than I have in a long time. It�s been a good summer.
Monday Molto Largo e Doloroso

Well, one more week to go here on the frontlines of S21, and it�s a pretty slow day out there.

Back here at the chocolate factory, Larry Dillon gives us a peek into his workshop: it sounds like he�s working on a fascinating series of string quartets; and Jeff�s NewMusicReBlog has some interesting stats on what classical radio stations are playing these days. How about someone post something inflammatory in the Composers Forum? Things there could use some heating up...Oh � and Evan Johnson has a CD review just below.
Forget It, Jake. It's Chinatown.

Jason Kao Hwang � The Floating Box: A Story in Chinatown
New World 80626-2 (2 CD)

Jason Kao Hwang self-identifies, vigorously and defensively, as a �downtown jazz composer/violinist�; perhaps he fears that his street cred will be tarnished by his having written an Opera, for that is what The Floating Box sets out to be. It tells the story of a Chinese mother and daughter living in New York�s Chinatown and struggling with assimilation into American culture, guided by the ghost of the family�s father (a famous erhu player in China). A heterogeneous handful of Western and Chinese instruments forms the ensemble supporting three main singing roles.

Hwang goes all in with the idea that stylistic juxtaposition � not only of European and Chinese instruments, idioms and traditions, but of such intra-Western genres as blues, jazz, Broadway, and so on � is the way to represent the cultural disorientation of the protagonists. Musically speaking, though, the result is a disaster.

The problem with setting up a discourse on such a gross level as genre identification is that the entire work is then heard as a mere succession of stereotyped evocations of different musical styles, which shows neither the work as a whole nor the styles on which it is propped in a good light. �Atonality � blues � Broadway � Chinese opera � chromaticism � impressionism � jazz � pop,� goes the list of genres enumerated in the enthusiastic notes to this release, but none of these musical worlds can have time to fully present itself, because none of them can actually exist surrounded by quotation marks or parentheses, in disembodied and contextless snippets. The result is a messy hodgepodge that might help tell a story but does nothing compelling as music � it has no identity, no force, and no pressing need to exist. We skip blithely from one aesthetic arena to another, with each change evoking at best a smile of recognition and a flicker of interesting juxtaposition; then the libretto continues to drag the music around like an obedient puppy, and we wind up exactly nowhere.


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