Entries tagged with: Nico Muhly
photos by Chris La Putt
Iggy Pop with New Order // Sufjan Stevens with The National
The 24th Annual Tibet House US Benefit Concert took place at Carnegie Hall last night (3/11) with Patti Smith, New Order, Iggy Pop, The National, Sufjan Stevens, Robert Randolph, Philip Glass, Nico Muhly, and many more.
As always, the night featured many collaborations--Iggy Pop with New Order, Sufjan Stevens with The National, Nico Muhly with Philip Glass, and so on. Headliner Patti Smith also paid tribute to the late Lou Reed by covering Transformer's "Perfect Day." Video footage of Iggy Pop and New Order playing Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart," "Transmission," and NO's own "Californian Grass" are in this post. UPDATE: Footage of The National and Sufjan Stevens performing "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks," "This Is the Last Time," and "I Need My Girl" can also be found below.
More pictures, those videos, and the full Tibet House US 24th Annual Benefit setlist lie after the jump...
Iggy Pop at SXSW 2013 (more by Greg Cristman)
The annual Tibet House Benefit Concert is returning for its 24th year on March 11 at Carnegie Hall. As usual, artistic director Philip Glass is performing and has a typically amazing lineup of Bryce Dessner (of The National), Nico Muhly, Iggy Pop, New Order, Patti Smith (who also played last year), Techung and Joe Walsh. Tickets are on sale now and proceeds will benefit the Tibet House US.
Aesop Rock in Austin in 2012 (more by Tim Griffin)
Bang On A Can's David Lang is the 2013-2014 season's holder of the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair at Carnegie Hall, and for the season, he'll be presenting his collected stories series. On the series, David says:
My series--collected stories--divides up the narrative world into topics so we can see how the music changes from subject to subject. Music from different cultures, times, environments, and sound worlds, plus some really exciting commissions, are placed next to each other, highlighting their narrative similarities and telling a larger kind of story about how we listen, experience sound and time, and use music to make sense of the world around us.The series includes a number of shows throughout the year, notably 'collected stories: love/loss' on April 24 with The Uncluded (aka Aesop Rock and Kimya Dawson), Sam Amidon, Nico Muhly, Nadia Sirota and others (tickets); 'collected stories: (post)folk' on April 27 with guitar great Kaki King, the Alarm Will Sound ensemble, and others (tickets); and 'collected stories: spirit' on April 23 with Tuvan throat singers Huun-Huur-Tu and others (tickets). Full collected stories schedule below.
Speaking of Kaki King, she also plays the New York Guitar Festival this month.
And speaking of Bang On A Can, BOAC's marching band Asphalt Orchestra is performing the Pixies' Surfer Rosa in NYC at Le Poisson Rouge on Sunday (1/12). Tickets for that show are on sale now.
collected stories schedule below...
NPR Music posted their 50 Favorite Albums of 2013, and as usual it included a lot of classical, jazz, world music, but also many of the indie/pop/rap/metal that shows up on these lists like Bill Callahan, Blood Orange, Chance the Rapper, Deafheaven, Flaming Lips, Haim, James Blake, Kanye West, Laura Marling, Run the Jewels, Sky Ferreira, Waxahatchee and more. Their list is in alphabetical order, and you can browse the full thing below.
Nico Muhly's opera Two Boys, which opened last week, continues its run at the Metropolitan Opera run with five more shows through November 14, including this Wednesday (10/30) and Saturday(11/2). You can still grab tickets at the Met's website.
New York Times gave it a mostly positive review, writing "Nico Muhly has a voice, a Muhly sound, and it comes through consistently in his opera Two Boys, a dark, ambitious and innovative work." Plot-wise, the story is a bit of Catfish-meets-Law & Order in the sense that it follows a detective trying to unpack murder mystery (and involves chatrooms and online anonymity -- also hand jobs). The production is definitely worth seeing and tickets are as cheap as $25 (less if you don't mind standing).
It should also be mentioned that Muhly did the music for the Daniel Radcliffe-starring Beat Generation film Kill Your Darlings, which recently opened.
You can see Muhly himself, performing with violinist Pekka Kuusisto at Le Poisson Rouge on January 3 (doing the music of Bach, Arvo Pärt, Philip Glass and Muhly's own works). Tickets are on sale.
NPR did a concert with Muhly at Le Poisson Rouge in May, which included songs (and singers) from Two Boys, as well as performances by frequent collaborators Sam Amidon, Nadia Sirota and others. Check out video from that along with a trailer for 'Two Boys', below...
by Andrew Frisicano
Two Boys, the opera by Nico Muhly and librettist Craig Lucas, makes its NYC debut October 21 at the Metropolitan Opera House with a run of seven shows (10/21, 10/25, 10/30, 11/2, 11/6, 11/9 & 11/14). Tickets are on sale now. As described by the Met, the show explores "identity and desire in the shadowy world of the Internet as a detective investigates the stabbing of one teenage boy by another -- and discovers a tangled web of online intrigue." You can hear/see a preview of English National Opera's 2011 production in this post.
Another new opera, Anna Nicole, is currently at BAM (through September 28th) as part of the Next Wave Festival. The show is possibly the last ever production by the New York City Opera (and most certainly the last for this abbreviated season) -- the group says it needs to raise $7 million by the end of September to put on its planned 2013-14 schedule. And they're asking for $1 million from regular folks by way of Kickstarter.
Two Boys preview video below.
'Anna Nicole' kicks off BAM's 2013 Next Wave Fest...
BAM has announced the 2013 Next Wave Festival which runs from September 17 - December 22. The line-up features a diverse range of programming including opera, theater, music and dance. This year's fest kicks off with the US premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage's opera Anna Nicole which has performances at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House from September 17 - 28:
The 2013 Next Wave Festival launches with the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and New York City Opera co-production of Anna Nicole, an opera by composer Mark-Anthony Turnage and librettist Richard Thomas based on the flamboyant life and tragic death of Anna Nicole Smith.Other highlights include... the New York premiere of Jem Cohen's "We Have an Anchor" at BAM Harvey Theater from September 26 - 28:
DIY auteur and consummate independent filmmaker Jem Cohen (Museum Hours, Instrument, Benjamin Smoke) collaborates with a supergroup of acclaimed musicians-- Guy Picciotto (Fugazi), Jim White (Dirty Three), T. Griffin (The Quavers), Efrim Manuel Menuck and Sophie Trudeau (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Thee Silver Mt. Zion), and Jessica Moss (Thee Silver Mt. Zion), plus guest vocalist Mira Billotte (White Magic)--in this cinematic love letter to Nova Scotia's Cape Breton.And there's "21c Liederabend, op. 3" featuring compositions by compositions by new-music's finest: Thomas Cabaniss, Christopher Ceronne, Thomas Cipullo, Anna Clyne, Mohammed Fairouz, Judd Greenstein, Ted Hearne, Marie Incontrera, David T. Little, Tod Machover, Missy Mazzoli, Nico Muhly, Olga Neuwirth, Paola Prestini, Huang Ruo, Timur and the Dime Museum, Michael van der Aa, Alexandra Vrebalov, Julian Wachner, Holcombe Waller, Eric Whitacre, and Du Yun.
There's also Questlove with "Electronium: The Future Was Then," which happens at Howard Gilman Opera House on October 25 & 26:
Following the success of Shuffle Culture (2012 Spring Season), BAM welcomes back Questlove with Electronium: The Future Was Then, a freely-associative and impressionistic musical homage to pioneers in the electronic music scene between 1948 and 1979. Questlove will be joined on stage by artists including Jeremy Ellis, How To Dress Well, Sonnymoon, and others to be announced. In Electronium, seminal electronic and archival recordings will be paired with modern riffs on classic electronic music models such as Busoni's New Esthetic in Music and Pierre Schaffer's Cinq Etudes--in addition to music from technological innovators such as Bob Moog, Stevie Wonder, and George Clinton.Choreographer Bill T. Jones will have the New York premiere of his colaborative work, A Rite at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House from October 3 - 5:
Coinciding with the centenary of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, director Anne Bogart and choreographer Bill T. Jones present the collaborative work A Rite. A true dance-theater piece, A Rite examines the revolutionary score through the lens of our present cultural moment, incorporating the writings of physicist Brian Greene, musicologist Severine Neff, and Jonah Lehrer's bestselling book Proust was a Neuroscientist. The cast of dancers and actors blend seamlessly--from a discourse on the piece and its controversial reception to large group dances that reflect Nijinsky's famous steps--all set to a deconstruction of the score that ranges from a modern recording to an old crackling one to a section sung by the cast.Then there's Gary Lucas - "The Edge of Heaven" at October 4 & 5 at BAM Fisher:
Acclaimed American guitarist and songwriter Gary Lucas returns to BAM with a live performance of his album The Edge of Heaven (2010), a series of Chinese pop tunes from the 1930s, arranged and performed with a blues inflection. Those songs were made famous by two of the biggest music and film stars--Bai Kwong and Chow Hsuan--in an era when Shanghai was known as the Paris of the East. The Edge of Heaven album reached number one on the World Music charts in Canada and was chosen as one of the Best Discs of the Year by the French newspaper Libération. Featuring Lucas, his band Gods and Monsters, and two female vocalists--Sally Kwok and Mo Hai Jin-- from Shanghai, the cabaret-style performance received standing ovations in 2011 at both the 64th Holland Festival in Amsterdam and the 28th Nijmegen Music Meeting.And also post-classical string quartet ETHEL who are premiering their new work Documerica on October 2 at BAM Harvey Theater.
Season tickets to BAM Next Wave go on sale June 10 to Friends of BAM and June 17 to the general public. Tickets to individual performances of Anna Nicole, The Blue Dragon, and We Have An Anchor go on sale August 5 to Friends of BAM and August 12 to the general public. Everything else goes on sale August 26 to Friends of BAM and September 3 to the general public.
There's lots more than this happening at BAM Next Wave and the rundown of all this season's programming is below.
photos by Amanda Hatfield
"#Planetarium brought the house down. The future is officially made of lights, lasers and projectors." - @BAM_Brooklyn
'Planetarium' at BAM, 3/21/2013
Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly, and Sufjan Stevens' long-in-the-works collaboration, Planetarium, made its debut last night (3/21) at BAM's Howard Gilman Opera House and was a symphony of light and sound. The first half featured individual works by each of them played by a sting quartet (frequent Dessner/Sufjan players Rob Moose, Nadia Sirota, Ben Russell, and Clarice Jensen) which inlcluded the debut of a new piece by Dessner, four of Sufjan's "Year of" pieces, and Muhly's "Diacritical Marks 1--8."
After that, Planetarium commenced, with each song dedicated to a planet with projections to match on a huge orb above the stage. Plus, lots of laserrs. The evening ended with autotune/vocodered cover of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
Planetarium continues tonight through Sunday (3/22 - 3/24) and Sunday is the only day there are still tickets available. You can't buy online but you can call the box office at 718.636.4100.
Meanwhile, Dessner's next BAM project is the 2013 Crossing Brooklyn Ferry festival in April.
More pics from last night's 'Planetarium' debut are below.
by Bill Pearis
With their EP Delicious release of September 2012, Birmingham's Peace showcased four distinct sides to their musical personality. There was the twitchy Foals-like number; another harking back to the ragged blues-rock of The Doors. The EP was high in quality, but posed a question: just what do Peace really sound like?UK group Peace (not to be confused with Vancouver punk band of the same name) are on the "longlist" for BBC's Sound of 2013 poll and their single "California Daze" came in at #13 on NME's Best Singles of 2012 list. As mentioned above, there's is a Foals-esque vibe to their music, but comparisons could be made to Mystery Jets as well. You can stream "California Daze" below and watch a few music videos as well, including one for their new single, "Wraith."
2013 will provide the answer - although the shape this blossoming band settles on is likely to be left malleable. Comparisons to Vampire Weekend and Friendly Fires are impressive on-paper parallels. But Peace are hinting at something rather more singular, and they'll want to deliver music that connects with unique effect, rather than via echoes of recent past. - [BBC Sound of 2013]
New Yorkers (or visitors to the area) who want to see what al the fuss is about in person will have that opportunity next week, as Peace are making a quick American visit to both coasts next week and will be in NYC on December 19 for two shows. They play a free early show (7PM) at Pianos, and will then head across the Williamsburg bridge to play Glasslands, opening for Touché, a show that also has Rarechild, and Night Shining on the bill. Tickets are still available. If you can't make it to those shows, Peace will be back in 2013 for SXSW which may include some non-Austin dates as well, we'll see.
If you're going to that Pianos show and want to stick around, the show immediately after (doors at 8PM, but not free) features a headlining set from Brooklyn's San Fermin a group that features Ellis Ludwig-Leone who has worked (as an assistant to Nico Muhly) on arrangements for The National, Passion Pit, Sufjan Stevens, and more. Sam Fermin (that also features Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe of Lucius) make music equally indebted to indie rock and theatre, and you can stream a track below which is from their self-titled debut, out in February 2013. The late show at Pianos also has Annie & the Beekeepers and Great Caesar on the bill and advance tickets ($8) are available.
Tour dates, videos are streams are below...
Crossing Brooklyn Ferry 2012 (more by David Andrako)
The inaugural Crossing Brooklyn Ferry festival that went down at BAM this past May and was curated by The National's Bryce and Aaron Dessner, was a success and they've decided to do it again in 2013. The 2013 festival will take place at BAM from April 25-27. The lineup has not been announced yet but stay tuned.
Another Dessner-related event happening in BAM's 2013 Winter/Spring season is Planetarium, "an evening of songs and instrumental works inspired by the solar system, by Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly, and Sufjan Stevens." You may remember that Bryce, Nico, and Sufjan performed one of those pieces, "Venus," at the MusicNOW Festival this year. You can watch a video of that below.
Another music event in BAM's 2013 Winter/Spring season is Mic Check, a "celebration of contemporary music from North Africa and the Middle East," which features hip-hop artists alongside traditional musicians Amkoullel (Mali), El General (Tunisia), El Deeb (Egypt), Brahim Fribgane (Morocco), and Shadia Mansour (Palestine).
All three shows are part of the just-announced 2013 Winter/Spring Season at BAM which includes 12 theater, dance, music, and opera engagements--from Jan 17 to Jun 9.
That Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly, and Sufjan Stevens video is below
Sufjan Stevens at Prospect Park in 2011 (more by Jessica Amaya)
As mentioned, the NYC Ballet will be presenting Two Hearts, with music by Nico Muhly, live vocals by Dawn Landes, and choreography by Benjamin Millepied (Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan), starting this Friday (10/5) and running through Tuesday (10/9). Also beginning Friday, is the ballet, Year of the Rabbit with music by Sufjan Stevens (from his Enjoy Your Rabbit album) and choreography by Justin Peck (who has also done work with Philip Glass). More info on Year of the Rabbit and tickets are available HERE. All dates are listed below.
Sufjan is also releasing Christmas music this year (for a change). He'll release a five-EP box set, Silver & Gold: songs for Christmas, Volumes 6-10, on November 13 via Asthmatic Kitty. The box set features guest appearances by Aaron and Bryce Dessner (of The National), Richard Reed Parry (of Arcade Fire, Cat Martino (who plays NYC soon), Ray Raposa of Castanets (who recently released an album), members of Danielson, and more. Check out the cover art(s), tracklist, and a free download of one of the songs below.
photos by Tim Griffin
Glen Hansard @ Hotel Vegan (BV-SXSW 2012)
Over 20 years in the making, singer songwriter Glen Hansard will release his first ever solo album, Rhythm and Repose, on Anti- Records June 19. Best known for his work with The Frames, The Swell Season and in the feature film Once, for which he won an Academy Award, Rhythm and Repose is Hansard's debut solo album and first album of new material since his 2009 release Strict Joy with The Swell Season. The album will be available for presale at http://www.anti.com/storeGlen Hansard previewed some of those new songs at SXSW where one of the shows he played was the BrooklynVegan day party at 'Hotel Vegan' on Thursday, March 15th. Some pictures and videos from his 12:45pm set are in this post.
In recent months Hansard has been seen in the documentary The Swell Season which has toured the film festival circuit this year, contributed two songs to the blockbuster soundtrack, The Hunger Games, and been active in the promotion of Once, The Musical which successfully opened on Broadway on March 18 to rave reviews, including the New York Times who explains, "what was always wonderful about 'Once,' its songs and its staging, has been magnified." Hansard will support the new record on a U.S. tour.
Rhythm and Repose is a result of Hansard's last year and a half of living in New York City. The album was recorded by Patrick Dillett (David Byrne, Arto Lindsay, Laurie Anderson) and produced by Thomas Bartlett (Doveman, The National, Antony and the Johnsons). The record features the musical talents of Brad Albetta (Martha Wainwright) on bass, Ray Rizzo on drums, Nico Muhly and Rob Moose on strings (Bon Iver, Y Music), David Mansfield on slide guitar (Dylan's Rolling Thunder Tour), Javier Mas (Leonard Cohen touring band) and half of Bruce Springsteen's current horn section. Assisting on vocals are Cristin Milioti (Once, The Musical), Sam Amidon, Marketa Irglova and Aida Shahghasemi (Marketa Irglova touring band).
As the above blurb points out, the Once musical is running NOW in NYC, though Glen does not personally act or sing in it.
Glen, who meanwhile is hitting the road with Eddie Vedder, will headline four select shows in June including one on June 29 at Beacon Theater. Tickets for the NYC show went on presale today, and will become available to all as of 9am on Thursday (4/5).
All tour dates, the new solo album tracklist, and a Once musical video, below...
A thick cloak of darkness draped the stage of Radio City when Antony Hegarty began to sing. My eyes trained on his white floor-length robe, the only thing that shone through the fog and shadows.
With its piano melodies and strings arrangements, the Antony and the Johnsons discography is far from sonically lacking. But after hearing the opening measures of "Rapture," the aptly named first song of the evening, it quickly became clear that Hegarty's music was destined to be bigger. And tonight it got that chance, thanks to the addition of a talented sixty-member orchestra. Under the guidance of conductor Rob Moose, Hegarty's music unfurled and exploded into a host of symphonic crescendos. And soon, the darkness on stage subsided as one-by-one, the screens that blanketed the stage began to lift to reveal a dream-like installation of hanging 3D geometric shapes. A restrained laser show only added to the mystique, at times blanketing Antony in a twinkling world of colorful light.
It was that rare kind of performance that breaks your heart only to have the pieces lovingly reassembled, down to the tiniest, most tender bloody shard. Hegarty's lyrics may reveal inner turmoil, but filtered through his sprawling multi-octave voice and unflinching poise, the painful material becomes mesmerizing, life-affirming, and wildly triumphant.
Combining songs from all four Antony and the Johnsons albums and at least one EP, the set revealed the evolution of the band's music, as well as Heggarty's emotions. He even threw in a surprisingly moving rendition of Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" (slowed down and fleshed out to make it nearly unrecognizable). Hegarty powered through the majority of the set, playing some fourteen songs without speaking. But following the dramatic unveiling of the orchestra during "Her Eyes Are Underneath the Ground," Hegarty broke his spell of silence to introduce and sincerely thank everyone who helped make the MoMA-commissioned one-night event possible, including Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman) on piano and Nico Muhly who - along with Maxim Moston and Rob Moose- arranged much of the music. "Well that's quite the bulk of the show," said Hegarty. "I'm so fucking glad. It was so ambitious, this production! It was really insane."
After the applause and laughter died down, Hegarty and his 60+ band mates signed off with two additional songs before the golden velvet curtain slowly made its descent, prompting the audience to collectively exhale before erupting into an elated standing ovation that resonated beautifully throughout the cavernous hall.
More pictures and the setlist from the 1/26 show, below...
photos by Toby Tenenbaum
The guest-filled six-night run of National shows came to an end on Saturday night (12/17), complete with an opening set by Bristol, England-based group This is the Kit who the National discovered on their recent tour of Europe. Maybe you watched the whole show livestreaming online.
Most of the guests on Saturday were the same as Friday, though no Trey. Saturday guests were Thomas Bartlett, Nico Muhly, Richard Reed Parry, Rob Moose, Nadia Sirota, Conrad Doucette and yMusic. Ben Lanz, who also played Thursday and Friday, was on trombone again after leaving the band earlier this year to join Beirut full time.
As mentioned, the Ecstatic Music Festival kicks off on February 4 at Merkin Concert Hall with Jherek Bischoff, who plays with Parenthetical Girls and The Dead Science. He's teaming up with Wordless Music Orchestra and an incredible list of guest vocalists from his upcoming album, which comes out this February, including David Byrne, Craig Wedren (Shudder To Think), Greg Saunier (Deerhoof), Mirah, and Zac Pennington (Parenthetical Girls. Tickets are still on sale now.
Speaking of Parenthetical Girls, their tour began last night (12/1) at Glasslands with Gauntlet Hair, Dinowalrus, and Eraas. If you missed it, they'll also be in NYC this Friday (12/3) at Santos Party House with YACHT and Midnight Magic (tickets).
As previously mentioned, Brassland Records is celebrating its 10th anniversary as a label and debuted a new/old track every day of November via various methods including Soundcloud. None of those tracks can be heard in the player that's embedded below. Those include "Spinney" by This is the Kit (who are opening for the National at Beacon Theater on 12/17) and "Secret of the Machines (instrumental)" by Jherek Bischoff. The latter also features drums by Greg Saunier (Deerhoof), and will have vocals by Caetano Veloso in its album version.
Antony w/ an orchestra in 2010 (more by Richard Termine)
This is awesome:
The Museum of Modern Art has commissioned artist/musician Antony to conceive, produce, and perform a large-scale concert and performance event, Swanlights, with Antony and the Johnsons, on Thursday, January 26, 2012, at 8:00 p.m. at Radio City Music Hall. Featuring a 60-piece orchestra, the performance piece is conceived as a new commission especially developed for the January 26 performance, and an evolution of the highly acclaimed The Crying Light, which was presented at the Manchester Opera House for the 2009 Manchester International Festival. Envisioned as a meditation on light, nature, and femininity, Swanlights includes songs from all four of Antony and the Johnsons' albums (self-titled, I am a Bird Now, The Crying Light, and Swanlights), set to symphonic arrangements by Nico Muhly, Rob Moose, and Maxim Moston. It is produced in collaboration with light artist Chris Levine, lighting designer Paul Normandale, and set designer Carl Robertshaw. Antony and the Johnsons: Swanlights is organized by Klaus Biesenbach, Chief Curator at Large of The Museum of Modern Art and Director of MoMA PS1, with the assistance of Eliza Ryan, Curatorial Assistant, MoMA PS1.Tickets go on sale Saturday, 11/12 at at 10am.
This month also sees a work-in-progress screening of TURNING, a film by Charles Atlas and Antony on November 11th at Copenhagen's Documentary Film Festival CPH:DOX.
photos by Vincent Cornelli
Doveman played another guest-filled show at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC on Saturday night. The backing band was comprised of Brad Albetta (bass), Ben Perowsky (drums), Rob Moose (guitar, violin), and Doug Wieselman (clarinet, bass clarinet). Thomas Bartlett was joined by guests Martha wainwright, Justin Bond, Hannah Cohen (whose record Thomas is producing), Jennifer Charles of Elysian fields, Norah Jones (as advertised), Sara Quin (of Tegan and Sara), Nico Muhly, and Frames/Swell Season singer Glen Hansard. Pictures from the party are in this post.
No guests have been announced for Doveman's next shows yet, but this pats show's lineup has been the norm (read about past shows HERE and HERE), so get your tickets in advance if you want to go on May 26th or June 24th.
Meanwhile, Thomas/Doveman and Doug Wieselman will be two of the special guests at Jesse Harris's final residency show at the same venue this Tuesday night (4/26), as will the recently-added Kaki King. Tickets are still on sale.
You can also catch Martha on May 12 and 13 at the two shows honoring her late mother at Town Hall.
More pictures from Saturday's LPR show, below....
photos by Richard Termine, words by Andrew Frisicano
At Friday's performance, Nico Muhly warned early on that Tell the Way--a loosely tied together collection of 11 songs--would be a "casual sort of thing." He was right, for the most part; its compositions skirted around the unifying theme of travel in a range of styles: Sam Amidon's traditional folk songs; Bishi's eclectic, musical-theater-inspired chansons; the ever-busy Bryce Dessner's slow-building "Tour Eiffel," with dramatic vocal swoops that mimicked its subject; and Nico's unifying arrangements and short compositions. The voices of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus brought the works together in a brief 65-minute program, which moved quickly and offered small treats along the way (the three-night run at St. Ann's Warehouse finishes tonight, and a few tickets are still on sale).
More than any thematic thread, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus gave the evening consistency, as did ACME, who performed as a string quartet with a trombonist and a percussionist attached. The two groups had fun with the material, especially Muhly's pieces, which he composed with inspiration from historical texts (The Book of Common Prayer, and the travel writings of Sir John Mandeville) and commissioned texts (like the humorous, bite-sized "A Korean Girl," by writer Mary HK Choi, which inspired giggles at the appropriate moments).
Each composer brought what was basically their signature dish, with the wild card being Bishi, a British singer who I knew nothing about before the show, other than that she played the sitar. The sitar was the least of her contributions, the foremost of which was sheer stage presence. Her compositions--and her entrances, first in a coat of white fur (fake we hope) with hair done up like a Cinnabon, then in a black-and-white corset and skin-tight pants--added some danger and surprise to the program.
Bishi's singing was similarly attention-grabbing: a cabaret-style coo that blended with and added depth to the chorus (where someone like Sam Amidon sounded distinct and other). The theatricality of a musical pulsed through the songs, with Bishi as the preening lead. "Look the Other Way," her second number, progressed with a martial beat before delivering a string of awesomely WTF moments: a synthesized disco beat, then a man in white-tie formal-wear adding Vincent Price-esque narration, and finally a heavy metal breakdown with crushing drums and Bryce Dessner shredding away. Of course, it was also delivered with a wink. "That's probably the most metal guitar Bryce has played since high school," said Nico, of the best part of the evening.
A few more pictures from the show are below...
photos by Bao Nguyen
Tell The Way is a newly commissioned collaborative work created for the Brooklyn Youth Chorus (Dianne Berkun, Artistic Director) by the ubiquitous Nico Muhly. Loosely based on medieval and colonial English travel narratives, the work draws from American folk sources, prayers for the Royal Navy, early colonial diaries, Mandeville, Herodotus and Marco Polo. Nico Muhly's music is propulsive travel-music, but at the heart of Tell The Way are three meditative collaborations between Muhly and Bishi, Muhly and Bryce Dessner and Muhly and Sam Amidon. An ensemble of strings, percussion, piano, and flute augment the voices of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Bryce's guitar, Sam's banjo and fiddle, and Bishi's sitar.Tell The Way premieres at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn this weekend. You have three chances to see it: February 10th, and 11th and 12th. Tickets are not only still on sale, but you can get a discount if you use the coupon code "NICO" at checkout.
Bao stopped by their rehearsal the other day, at Brooklyn Youth Chorus's headquarters on Pacific Street in Brooklyn, and more of his pictures, with some video previews of the show are below...
photos by Amanda Hatfield
Beth Orton, Glen Hansard & Dawn Landes @ LPR
When Glen Hansard sets foot on the stages of a sold-out City Winery TONIGHT, it'll be his third visit to an NYC stage in a month. As advertised, The Frames frontman/Swell Season sensitive-man recently hopped on stage with Beth Orton, Sam Amidon, Nico Muhly, Dawn Landes, and as hinted, St. Vincent at the Doveman "Burgundy Stain Session" at Le Poisson Rouge in January (where these pics come from)...
"Thank you so much for coming," Thomas Bartlett (Doveman) began. "This is the first of these concerts that I'll be doing, and I thought it would be nice to start with just me and Sam because me and Sam have been playing music together since we were five."Hansard's other recent NYC appearance happened this past Sunday at Justin Bond's Joe's Pub show (it was a surprise). Justin Bond returns to Joe's on 2/13 and 2/20 (perhaps with special guests again), and Justin is one of the announced guests at the next Doveman show at Le Poisson Rouge which happens on February 8th. Beth Orton returns that night too, and The Poison Tree rounds out the currently-announced lineup of Thomas Bartlett collaborators that will be there. Tickets are still available for that show and for the one happening on March 16th (lineup TBA).
The two kicked off the show with a simple, lovely, and faintly religious little song, "All is Well." Ringing out with repeatedly, the titular refrain seemed like a perfect starting point for the evening...
...After Sam had played through a few of his songs, he casually announced, "We're in a gospel mood," which was apparently Annie Clark's (St. Vincent) cue to make her way to the stage to fulfill her role as a "great gospel guitarist." Crouching down on stage in the shadow, Clark joined Amidon for one more song before the spotlight officially shifted to her. As she stood up, the stage lights shone through her messy main of curly hair, creating a halo that complimented her Amidon-annointed title....
...The evening proceded with a potpouri of performances. Hardly a song or two would pass before the configuration on stage would change. Beth Orton, Glen Hansard, and Dawn Landes would each have their turn. "One thing I realized is that I hate talking on stage so much that things are really going to need an emcee," Bartlett joked...." [Rachel Kowal]
The Poison Tree, as I wrote back in August 2009, "is Brooklyn, NY singer songwriter Steve Salett [of the King of France] and a rotating cast of collaborators borrowed from acts including The National, Rufus Wainwright, Antony and the Johnsons, and David Byrne." The Poison Tree's debut album will be released this March 15th on Embarque...
In recording its debut album, The Poison Tree leader Steve Salett, drew on a community of extraordinarily talented musicians that formed around Salett's Saltlands Studio and Saltmines rehearsal spaces in Brooklyn. "I approached it as, 'if you build it, they will come.' After that, a space and community coalesced organically around the rehearsal rooms," says Steve. "For The Poison Tree, we were able to pull musicians who regularly use the Saltmines. If we needed violin, trumpet, whatever, we just walked down the hall."Lots of names repeating themselves in this post. You can also catch The Poison Tree at Pete's Candy Store on February 11th.
The supporting cast is extraordinary: Thomas Bartlett, better known as Doveman and briefly a member of King of France, provides much of the atmospheric Wurlitzer, piano, and organ parts. Of The Poison Tree, he says, "Steve is one of my favorite songwriters. Each song is a simple, perfect gesture, but with an elusive, enigmatic quality that will never lose its fascination for me."
Singer Dawn Landes, who will open for Justin Townes Earle on the road next month and also sang on Josh Ritter's latest album, also sang on 'The Poison Tree' record and did some engineering work. Others include bassist Jeff Hill (Rufus Wainwright), drummer Konrad Meissner (Graham Parker), and trumpeter C.J. Camerieri (Rufus Wainwright). Gary Mauer of Hem co-produced the album with Salett.
Lastly, besides writing all of the songs and playing guitar and vocals, the multi-talented Salett also co-produced and plays dulcimer, Rhodes, and whistle.
Don't forget that Sam Amidon has a show coming up at Glasslands on 2/16 (tickets), and even before that will join Nico Muhly, Bishi, Bryce Dessner, and ACME at St.Ann's Warehouse as part of Nico Muhly's Tell The Way. Tickets are available for all three shows, Feb 10th-12th.
More pictures from the 1/14 Doveman are below...
Buke & Gass and Victoire @ Merkin Concert Hall - 1/17/11 (by David Andrako)
For the dozens of artists who participated in the opening marathon concert of the Ecstatic Music Festival at Merkin Concert Hall on Monday, the event was less a defining breakthrough moment than the establishment -- temporary or not -- of an uptown beachhead for a flourishing alliance normally encountered in downtown and Brooklyn spaces like Le Poisson Rouge, Galapagos Art Space, Issue Project Room and Joe's Pub."The Chiara String Quartet and the Music of Nico Muhly & Valgeir Sigurdsson" happened last night (1/19), and the Ecstatic Music Festival continues tonight with a now-sold out Dan Deacon & So Percussion show. Some videos from previous shows below..
The notion of a mission seemed too heavy for the feel of this sprawling showcase, which was meant to run for seven hours and consumed nearly eight. If there was a core statement, it could have been -- to twist slightly the title of a song by Sarah Kirkland Snider, a gifted composer to be featured in a later festival event -- "This is what we're like." [NY Times]
As previously announced, the 2011 Ecstatic Music Festival, presented by New York City's Merkin Concert Hall in association with New Amsterdam Records, is a showcase of imaginative collaborations between more than 150 genre-pushing composers, songwriters and performers who represent a new generation of artists combining diverse influences and techniques to explore the intersection of classical and pop music. All concerts will include premieres. The festival opens with a free seven-hour marathon on January 17, 2011, and continues with 13 additional concerts until March 28, 2011. All concerts will take place at Merkin Concert Hall.The Ecstatic Music Festival 2011 is almost here. Subscriptions and single show tickets are on sale. The full updated schedule (tUnE-yArDs, So Percussion, Dan Deacon, Craig Wedren, ACME, Nadia Sirota, Buke & Gass, Doveman, Owen Pallett, Bang On A Can All-Stars, and more included), and a trailer, below...
words by Rachel Kowal
On Friday and Saturday night, singer Sam Amidon has hosted a series of sold-out shows at The Kitchen, an arts space in Manhattan that boasts an impressive Board of Directors that includes the likes of Philip Glass, Nico Muhly and Bryce Dessner to name a few.
With its austere, DIY theatre vibe, the setting was a bit unconventional, but then again, so was the performance. Much more than simply an evening of folk songs, ballads, and hymns, Amidon projected random video clips and odd, hand-drawn cartoons onto the large screen lining the back wall.
There were two clusters of instruments and laptops on stage - one for Amidon and the other for one of his regular collaborators, Shahzad Ismaily. Due to Amidon's mesmerizing presence, it's easy to overlook Ismaily on percussion, but only because his contribution is effortlessly subtle and effective.
Amidon began his multimedia show with a series of video clips, including one of himself in a rowboat, narrating the tragic tale of "a young child of indiscriminate gender, wearing a green raincoat who ran away from home at the age of 10." With such a vivid and candid performer like Amidon, it's often hard to tell if it's all an act or if he's a bit crazy, but that's part of the appeal.
As was quickly evidenced by both his home videos and his live performance, Amidon can hardly contain his odd stories and asides. With Amidon, it's about the journey - however winding or disjointed it may be. And with a fair amount of sing-a-longs thrown in to keep the audience engaged, it's hard not to feel that we're all weary travelers on the same odyssey.
Of course, the bulk of Amidon's show comprised songs from his last two albums, but he also played a quick succession of short folk songs. And yes, besides the more conventional aspects of the performance, he displayed everything from 'liturgical dancing' and chaotic vocal exercises to a book review (Peter Biskind's "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and-Rock 'N' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood" - apparently terrible), a conversation between a piece of broccoli and a jar of maple syrup (naturally, about love and depression), and an R. Kelly cover ("Relief").
It may not have been the most coherent experience, but Sam Amidon's grab bag performances never cease to entertain and enliven.
Both Sam Amidon and Shahzad Ismaily also play in Thomas Bartlett's Doveman, so maybe they'll be there in March when Doveman goes on a very short tour with Nadia Sirota in March. That very short tour includes two shows in Minneapolis and that one taking place at Merkin Concert Hall on March 9th with Owen Pallett.
Nadia Sirota and Sam Amidon, along with The National's Bryce Dessner and Bishi, will also participate in Tell The Way at St. Ann's Warehouse on February 10th, 11th and 12th...
Tell The Way is a newly commissioned collaborative work created for the Brooklyn Youth Chorus (Dianne Berkun, Artistic Director) by the ubiquitous Nico Muhly. Loosely based on medieval and colonial English travel narratives, the work draws from American folk sources, prayers for the Royal Navy, early colonial diaries, Mandeville, Herodotus and Marco Polo. Nico Muhly's music is propulsive travel-music, but at the heart of Tell The Way are three meditative collaborations between Muhly and Bishi, Muhly and Bryce Dessner and Muhly and Sam Amidon. An ensemble of strings, percussion, piano, and flute augment the voices of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Bryce's guitar, Sam's banjo and fiddle, and Bishi's sitar.Tickets for all three shows are on sale.
All tour dates and Sam's Kitchen setlist, below...
photos by Richard Termine
DOWNLOAD: Antony - Thank You For Your Love (MP3)
"This is how it must feel to be an ovum," the singer Antony Hegarty said with a tone of gentle amusement as latecomers flooded down the aisles of Alice Tully Hall during the concert he presented there on Saturday night. It was the second time this singer, who goes by his first name, stopped to let stragglers find their seats. Earlier he had abruptly cut off a song just started -- "Ghost," from his rapturously lovely new album, "Swanlights" -- then tried to smooth over an awkward silence by whistling Satie's "Gymnopédie" No. 1...Reading that first paragraph of the Times review makes me feel a little better, since I was also late to the show, but I was so late I actually missed all of that starting and stopping happening.
...Here, performing as part of Lincoln Center's White Light Festival, Antony stood shrouded in shadow and sheathed in a flowing black gown. In place of his Johnsons, the Orchestra of St. Luke's accompanied him in songs largely drawn from "Swanlights" and its predecessor, "The Crying Light." Rob Moose, elsewhere a musically polyamorous violinist, conducted; at the piano was Thomas Bartlett, a sensitive chamber-pop singer otherwise known as Doveman. [NY Times]
I think there were at least two big issues that caused people to be late. One of them was the show's kind-of-unfortunate 7:30pm start time (7:30 sharp on a Saturday night with no opener). The other was that the 1/2/3 trains were all screwed up, and I personally spent the first 30 minutes of the show sitting underground in a train that wasn't going anywhere. At least there were people dressed up for Halloween adorning all the stations and cars. That made the situation feel slightly less tense. That said, by the time I got there, every seat in the house was full, so late or not, everyone eventually got there, and what I saw was unsuprisingly beautiful and worth finally making it there for.
Nico Muhly was responsible for many of the arrangements of the night, and behind Antony and the orchestra was the film "Mr. O's Book of the Dead", a 1973 film by Chiaki Nagano featuring the Butoh master Kazuo Ohno and his troupe. Kazuo is the one on the cover of Antony and the Johnsons' 2009 CD The Crying Light. And as the NY Times sums up nicely, it was "Projected overhead throughout the performance -- even during the awkward breaks -- it was both a potent visualization of gender ambiguity, vulnerability and pain, and a garish distraction from music's transfixing intensity and beauty."
It was Antony's only North American show this year. Hopefully he'll tour some more in support of his new album "Swanlights" which was released on October 12th via Secretly Canadian. Download "Thank You For Your Love" from that LP above, and watch Antony's performance of the same song from the October 8th episode of Letterman in the video, under the rest of the pictures from Lincoln Center, below...
photos by Tim Griffin
The Kitchen Spring Gala BenefitWednesday night's $500-a-ticket Gala event (the afterparty was cheaper) at Capitale didn't include any surprises (no on-stage collaborations or surprise guests), but it did include performances by Dirty Projectors, Doveman, Nico Muhly, and St. Vincent as advertised, and raise a lot of money for non-profit venue The Kitchen (whose upcoming events include two talent shows curated by Robert Melee).
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Capitale 130 Bowery at Grand Street, New York City
6:00 pm COCKTAILS AND HORS D'OEUVRES
7:30 pm DINNER AND PERFORMANCES
by Dirty Projectors, Doveman, Nico Muhly, and St. Vincent
9:30 to Midnight AFTER-PARTY with open bar, desserts, and dancing with DJ Scott Campbell & Leo Fitzpatrick and a live music performance by Chief
Hosted by The Smile and The Journal
The honoree, David Byrne, rode his bike to and from the party. More pictures from the event (though none of Chief who play two more NYC shows in June), below...