Entries tagged with: classical music

21 result(s) displayed (1 - 21 of 21):

Max Richter

Max Richter released his new album, Recomposed By Max Richter: Vivaldi, The Four Seasons, this past August and it's been getting a lot of praise in the modern classical world. As the title states, it's a re-imagining of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, and you can check it out below via a Spotify widget.

Max will be performing the album with Daniel Hope (violin) and the Wordless Music Orchestra and an ensemble (UPDATE: Wordless Music is not taking part in this show) in NYC at Le Poisson Rouge on December 19 and 20. Tickets for both nights are on sale now.

Max has also been in the studio working on the score for Ari Folman's new film, The Congress, which stars Robin Wright, Harvey Keitel, and Paul Giamatti and is due out in 2013. You can check out a video of Max working on that score in-studio below.

Continue reading "Max Richter released 'Recomposed By Max Richter: Vivaldi, The Four Seasons,' performing it in NYC"

heavy metal dog vest available at Etsy
Heavy Metal dog

"...Lead author Lori Kogan of Colorado State University found that Mozart, Beethoven and the like may reduce stress in dogs, according to a study in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior. The study found that classical music was more soothing than "psychoacoustic" music or specially-made Pet CDs that were designed to calm animals.

Kogan said the study may be helpful for the welfare of animals in stressful shelter environments...

...Classical music was linked to more relaxed and restful behavior, while heavy metal was linked to greater anxiety and unrest." [CBS]

Stressed out dog video below...

Continue reading "classical music may calm your dog (heavy metal may stress him out)"

Concerts in the Park

"A beloved New York tradition, Concerts in the Parks returns for its 47th season with five free outdoor concerts throughout the New York City boroughs, plus a free indoor concert in Staten Island. Music Director Alan Gilbert will lead the Philharmonic in concerts at Central Park and Prospect Park and conductor Andrey Boreyko will conduct concerts in Cunningham Park, Van Cortlandt Park and Central Park with violinist James Ehnes as soloist. Music under the stars with family and friends makes for a perfect summer evening. And it's free -- join us!"
The 2012 Concerts in the Parks series begins tonight (7/11) in Prospect Park - probably not at the bandshell where Dirty Projectors played last night, but right behind there in the longer field. Regardless, you can enter at the same place ("Enter at Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Park West at 9th Street or Bartel-Pritchard Circle at the intersection of Prospect Park West, Prospect Park Southwest and 15th Street."). Thursday is Queens, Friday and Monday are Central Park. Full schedule below...

Continue reading "New York Philharmonic kicking off week of free 'Concerts in the Parks'"

photos by David Andrako

Dan Deacon

When not inciting mass hysteria in children, Dan Deacon keeps it fancy, and that was the vibe last night at Merkin Concert Hall, his first of two fancy NYC shows this week. Tuesday's show was part of the Ecstatic Music Festival which continues with a show Saturday featuring John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats (which will stream live). Dan was joined by Mark Dancigers, Daniel Wohl, and new music groups NOW ensemble and Calder Quartet on a bill which featured a series of new works (setlist below). if you missed it, WQXR will have an archived stream, and here are some pictures.

The Ecstatic show before Dan's was with Oneida and Rhys Chatham, and that show is now able to be streamed.

This Monday (3/26), Dan plays another classical show, but this time at Carnegie Hall as part of a Celebration of composer John Cage.

More pictures from Dan's show below...

Continue reading "Dan Deacon played Merkin w/ NOW Ensemble & Calder Quartet (pics, setlist, streams), playing Carnegie Hall (Monday)"

by BBG

Matmos with Kronos Quartet last year

The Chiara String Quartet and NOW Ensemble come together Friday, May 6 at (Le) Poisson Rouge for a joint album release concert, celebrating two fresh albums from New Amsterdam Records with some of the foremost performers and composers of this emerging self-reliant generation: NOW Ensemble's sophomore statement, Awake (with compositions by ensemble members Judd Greenstein, Mark Dancigers, Patrick Burke, and commissioned work by Missy Mazzoli, Sean Friar, and David Crowell), and Jefferson Friedman: Quartets, performed by the Chiara String Quartet and special guest, electronic duo, Matmos.
Both Awake and Jefferson Friedman: Quartets are out now via New Amsterdam (congrats to both groups). As stated above, Matmos will join in to assist in the performance of the latter at the show, which will also house a screening of the new animated film Plan Of The City "about the architecture of New York City blasting off into outer space and resettling on Mars". Whoa, far out bro. Check out a teaser for that film below, and get you tickets for the May 6th show at LPR while they are still available.

Matmos is also scheduled to head out to the Manchester International Festival in July to join Marina Abramovic, Antony Hagerty, Willem Defoe (yes, Green Goblin from Spider Man) and more as part of the stage production of The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic:

Manchester International Festival and Teatro Real Madrid present the world premiere of a startling new piece for the stage: The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic, a biography of the godmother of performance art, re-imagined by visionary director Robert Wilson.

The show features scenes from Abramovic's life and career, from her Serbian childhood to her work as a performance artist. Featuring original and traditional music, including songs written and performed by the incomparable Antony (Antony & The Johnsons), this ground-breaking show brings together the worlds of theatre, art and music to thrilling effect.

No word on if the pieces compsed for the production will ever see the light of day outside of the UK.

In semi-related news, the ever-collaborative Matmos has worked with members of The Princeton Laptop Orchestra (PLOrk) in the past and the collective will play 92YTribeca TONIGHT. PLOrk will bring an "evening of wildly innovative electronic music, live 3D video and hacked video game hardware." Tickets are still available.

Matmos is hitting the road in Europe in May much to the semi-disappointment of Matmos member Drew Daniel:

"Drew is very sad that he will be missing Maryland DeathFest this year, but touring Europe with Jay Lesser and John Wiese will make up for missing Corrosion of Conformity's reformation of the Animosity lineup." - Matmos
Turn that frown upside down Drew, you can still catch the Animosity lineup on tour (they play Brooklyn Bowl on 7/20, tickets go on sale at noon today).

Tour dates for that Matmos trek, the Plan of The City Teaser video and more, below...

Continue reading "PLOrk is here, Chiara String Quartet & NOW released LPs, Matmos playing with them, won't be at Maryland Deathfest"

by Andrew Frisicano

Magnus Lindberg

New York Philharmonic will be hosting three raucus performances of "Kraft," a piece by their composer-in-residence Magnus Lindberg, on October 7th, 8th and 12th at Avery Fisher Hall. Also on the bill for those nights will be music by Debussy and Sibelius.

As the musicians banged and tapped against all manner of junk, it became clear that these noises are actually small motives of organized sound that will spring to life on stage in a couple of weeks. And not just any stage: the mountains of scrap metal will get their New York premiere at Avery Fisher Hall.

Composed in Berlin at a time when aggressive, post-punk bands like Einstürzende Neubauten would fill the stage with equipment rife with smoke and industrial might, Kraft became for Lindberg an attempt to channel that brutality and experimentation into the confines of a post-Sibelius classical world. Part installation, part theater, part surround-sound immersion, the performance envelops its audience with mobile percussion sections stationed around the hall, encroaching on and surrounding the audience, while a huge gong is suspended above the stage. The complex sounds of contemporary, urban life have never been so powerfully rendered. [WQXR]

Tickets for all three are on sale.

Speaking of Einstürzende Neubauten, they have some special shows coming up too.

For more Lindberg soon, Julliard ensemble Axiom will play his piece "Joy" along with Stravinsky's Symphonies of Wind Instruments and Iannis Xenakis' Okho at Peter Jay Sharp Theater on Monday, October 11th. Tickets are free (while they remain) at the box office at Julliard. Axiom also has a performance of Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians coming up in December. More info on that is below.

Lindberg recently scavenged through Edkin's Auto Salvage on Staten Island for pieces of scrap metal to be used in the piece. A video of that trip and another clip are below...

Continue reading "'Kraft' opening - postpunk sounds performed with junk"


Rocks Off Concert Cruises are not the only way to see live music on a boat in NYC. Bargemusic, a much less punk rock series of shows, kicks off its 'Jazz Thursdays' series tonight, 4/29, with music from Foldersnacks (Terrence Mcmanus, Guitar; Tyshawn Sorey, Drums; Jesse Elder, Piano, Keyboard and Vocals; Zack Foley, Vocals; Aidan Carroll, Bass). The barge, which also hosts classical shows, is parked in the East River under the Brooklyn Bridge on the Brooklyn side, Ticket info is here. The rest of the schedule is below...

Continue reading "Bargemusic hosts jazz & classical shows on the East River"

by Andrew Frisicano

Signal at LPR

New music ensemble Signal will visit (Le) Poisson Rouge on Sunday, April 11th for two performances of Philip Glass's 1981 album Glassworks (its NY live premiere) along with Glass's "Music in Similar Motion" and other works. Tickets for the early set and late set are both on sale. Clips from Glassworks are posted below.

Also coming up, Signal will be at Merkin Hall on May 27th to debut a new piece by Nico Muhly and UK composer Harrison Birtwistle's The Corridor (its US premiere). The show is part of Kaufman Center's Contemporary Contexts series and Face the Music, "Kaufman Center's critically-acclaimed teen ensemble," will open with a pre-show performance of Muhly's "Honest Music" and "How About Now." Tickets are on sale for that.

Nico Muhly (who worked on the new albums by Jonsi and Sam Amidon, and who played himself quite a bit at Big Ears Fest) was commissioned along with composers Sean Shepherd and Matthias Pintscher to write a piece for Contact!, the NY Philharmonic's new music series that kicked off last December. All three pieces debut April 16th at Symphony Space (and played again a day later at Metropolitan Museum of Art). Tickets for Symphony Space show are on sale.

Outside of NYC, Signal travels upstate to join Eastman School of Music's Musica Nova and others in performing Steve Reich pieces in Rochester and Buffalo this May and June (works include Music for 18 Musicians and Pulitzer winning Double Sextet).

Another thing Signal has on its calendar is the 2010 Bang on a Can Marathon, set for Sunday, June 27th, noon-midnight, at World Financial Center Winter Garden. At the fest, the group will participate in Shelter, a multimedia work co-composed by BoaC founders Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe and David Lang. The initial lineup also includes the US premiere of Professor Bad Trip by Fausto Romitelli. A video of that piece is below.

Most recently, Signal joined Shara Worden and others to perform Sarah Kirkland Snider's Penelope at Galapagos on Saturday, April 3rd.

All the above-mentioned videos posted below...

Continue reading "Signal's upcoming shows include Bang on a Can Marathon, works by Philip Glass & Nico Muhly (who has shows too) "

DOWNLOAD: New York Philharmonic - Lei Liang's Verge (MP3)

words by Andrew Frisicano, photos by Chris Lee

composer Lei Liang speaks with conductor Magnus Lindberg...
New York Philharmonic

The New York Philharmic's Contact! new music series kicked off its first installment on Thursday, December 17th at Symphony Space with four pieces written for the occasion by four very different composers (and repeated two days later at the Metropolitan Museum of Art). Conductor and NYP composer-in-residence Magnus Lindberg guided the audience in with a brief onstage conversation with each piece's composer. The personal and distinct voices that came out helped immensely in absorbing their sometimes abstract work. Arlene Sierra noted the Darwinian inspiration for her Game of Attrition, which politely pits similarly voiced instrument against one another (imagine a busy garden full of competing life). Lei Liang labeled the sources for his piece - his new son (literally, picking notes from his name, Albert) and the sounds of his Chinese roots - but those gave little warning for what came next. The piece's otherworldly, almost-electronic introduction expanded into an awesome burst of melody and abrasion. A clip of the piece, Verge, is above. NYTimes described is as such...

The opening, an atmospheric haze of sounds laced with soft bow scrapes and cosmic high harmonics, seems not very pitch-oriented. Soon, however, melodic fragments and thick, piercing chords emerge, along with a plaintive theme meant to evoke Mongolian chant.

At one point the music breaks into a grimly urgent episode, as the instruments dispatch perpetual-motion riffs. "Verge" ends in spiritual calm, though the sustained chords are still pierced with ethereal scratching sounds.

French composer Marc-André Dalbavie struck up a friendly chat with Lindberg as they reminisced about old times. And last up, Arthur Kampela absolutely bound off the stage with excitement and ideas about his piece, based on the fantastical Brazilian novel Macunaíma (from his summary, well worth checking out). It was more physically experimental than the others, with orchestra members entering and exiting through the aisles and hiding offstage for a portion of performance (to hold what sounded like a party behind a black curtain). The music resembled his verbal retelling - intriguing and quixotic - leaving a strong impression.

Hear it for yourself: The performance is bring broadcast on WQXR's Q2, the classical station's classical online stream, Tuesday, December 22 at 7pm (now) and Sunday, December 27 at 2pm. You'll have to wait until April for the next event of the series, which focuses on three composers - Nico Muhly, Matthias Pintscher and Sean Sheperd.

More pictures and a video clip from the show are below...

Continue reading "the New York Philharmonic Contact! series - first show pics, video, & broadcasts online tonight & Sunday "

by Andrew Frisicano

ACME...outdoors in warmer times

Tonight (12/17) at the Tank, American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) perform music from Phil Kline and John Cage (two earlier works, String Quartet in Four Parts and Credo In Us). Kline's annual Unsilent Night event just happened in NYC on December 12th (and is still to come in other cities). His piece Exquisite Corpses, on the program for ACME, also prominently features boomboxes. He's also put together a new acoustic arrangement of his string quartet The Blue Room and Other Stories (originally written for Ethel whose version is below), which ACME will be debuting. Tickets are on sale.

Kicking off tonight and running through this weekend, the Tank heads to Brooklyn to present the Blip Festival at the Bell House. If you can't be there, you can listen on WFMU.

Across town and also tonight (12/17), the New York Philharmonic will be launching its Contact! new music series at Symphony Space (95th and Broadway). Four composers - Arlene Sierra, Lei Liang, Marc-André Dalbavie & Arthur Kampela - will be debuting very different compositions with the group. Video and audio previews of those are below. Tickets are on sale. An encore performance (to borrow a phrase) takes place Saturday, December 19th at Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The second Contact! program - with new music from Sean Shepherd, Nico Muhly and Matthias Pintscher - comes April 16th at Symphony Space and April 17th at Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Videos and more info are below...

Continue reading "NY Philharmonic launches Contact! series tonight & ACME performs @ The Tank ++ other dates & videos"

words by Andrew Frisicano, photos by Steven P. Marsh

In C RemixedIn C Remixed

As its length [about an hour] suggests, this was a leisurely "In C," and it began [at Le Poisson Rouge on Sunday the 8th] with a prelude of sorts: a rich aural haze surrounding a honking, spirited saxophone line that darted about for five minutes before the steady, pulsing C signaled the start of Mr. Riley's work. The ensemble, which included standard strings and woodwinds, as well as a few guitars, an accordion, a piano and percussion, moved between extremes of dense, flowing textures and transparent pointillism, with Mr. DeSantis's additions -- including what sounded like instrumental sounds played backward -- occasionally providing otherworldly effects.

By design, "In C" sounds different in every performance, and this was as good a reading as many, but not the best I've heard: that distinction is still held by the vigorous Darmstadt performance at Galapagos in 2007. [NY Times]

That's a review of the 'In C Remixed' album release concert that took place at (Le) Poisson Rouge on Sunday, November 8th. The night's performers, Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble, were joined by 'remixer' Dennis DeSantis on laptop and electronics. The piece moved casually and steadily, and wasn't without its charms (the opening sax breakout noted above was an especially warm introduction), but my only regret was not finding a chair for the hour-long take. The two pictures here are from that show.

Terry RileyThe 2007 "best" In C performance referenced above will happen again when the Darmstadt series brings "In C" back to Galapagos on Monday, November 30th. The performance celebrates the five year anniversary of the series, which is curated by Nick Hallett and Zach Layton. For the piece they've recruited "a battery of avant-guitar gods (David Grubbs, Alan Licht among them), veteran composer-performer Jon Gibson (who played in the very first performance of In C), singers, instrumentalists across a wide span of tones and timbres, electronic musicians....all keeping to the beat of drummer Ryan Sawyer." All that and visuals by Joshua Light Show (who did the trippy background for Yo La Tengo at Roseland in September). Tickets (only $10+fees) are on sale.

On December 3rd, 4th & 5th, Darmstadt: Classics of the Avant Garde series will bring its second annual "Essential Repertoire" festival to the Issue Project Room. The theme for this year's fest focuses on the "30th anniversary of the seminal New Music New York concerts curated by Rhys Chatham and held at The Kitchen, which put the still-burgeoning Downtown Scene...under a mainstream spotlight and redefined the presentation of experimental music." The concerts are programmed accordingly, with music from "'Blue' Gene Tyranny, Connie Beckley, David van Tieghem, Jill Kroesen, Jon Gibson, Ned Sublette, Peter Gordon, Peter Zummo, Petr Kotik, Phill Niblock, and a performance of Meredith Monk's Dolmen Music by the M6 (who are at the Stone in December). Advanced tickets for night one are on sale, but not for two and three.

If more Terry Riley is your thing, he's been announced as the artist-in-residence at this year's Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, TN, March 26th-28th. A retrospective of his work will take place during the fest, and that'll be sure to include "In C." Tickets and more info TBA.

More details on Darmstadt and a clip from last year's festival are below...

Continue reading "Terry Riley's 'In C' was @ LPR, will be @ Galapagos +++ Darmstadt @ Issue Project Room & Big Ears Fest info"

by Andrew Frisicano

Philip Glass

Mode Records has etched its name in the annals of music history, producing the avant-garde and modern classical music of influential composers such as John Cage, Morton Feldman, Iannis Xenakis, and Harry Partch. In its twenty-fifth year, they are hosting a six-hour benefit concert featuring very special performances by Philip Glass and John Zorn and a rare performance of John Cage's "Concert for Piano and Orchestra" with "Aria." This marathon of experimental music luminaries in the intimate Abrons Playhouse helps Mode Records to continue producing the best of New Music into the 21st century.
The Mode Records "Marathon" will happen this Saturday, November 21st at the Abrons Arts Center with a 6pm early show and a 7:30pm late show. Glass, whose opera Kepler makes its US debut at BAM this week (Nov 18, 20 & 21 at 7:30pm) (tickets are still on sale), will be at the early show only, performing solo piano work. That'll also feature a John Zorn-directed performance of his piece "Cobra." The later show will run four hours (the marathon part) and includes Respect Sextet playing music by Sun Ra and Stockhausen, John Cage's Concert for Piano and Orchestra with Aria (performed simultaneously) and The Jack Quartet with a performance of Iannis Xenakis' Tetra. Tickets are still available.

John ZornThanks to the recession (and the other more nuanced factors we can lump in with it), the Mode concert is neither the only benefit nor the only marathon happening this week. Another benefit marathon this week (also with John Zorn) is happening at the Clemente Soto Vélez (CSV) Cultural Center (dubbed "The Suffolk" for CMJ this year) on Friday, Nov. 20th and Saturday, Nov. 21st. The beneficiaries of the 28 hour marathon are non-profit Arts For Art and the annual Vision Festival, which is going into its 15th year. Night one acts include Sex Mob, John Zorn solo, pianist Connie Crothers and her quartet, Sam Hillmer's Regattas and $KELETON$ Big Band (who are also at the Stone in December). Night two includes Milford Graves & Marshall Allen Duo and a cast of rotating musicians and groups. A full schedule is here. Tickets are on sale.

Yet another (!) benefit marathon comes from WFMU, who is currently holding a 24-hour benefit that runs until Wednesday, November 18th (today) at 7pm. More details on the fundraiser and why it's needed are below. Donate here.

A poster, the full Mode Fest lineup and relevant videos and info are posted below...

Continue reading "Mode Records benefit w/ Philip Glass (whose opera is @ BAM tonight) & John Zorn (who plays the Vision Fest marathon)"

by Andrew Frisicano

Nadia Sirota
Nadia Sirota

There were (more) strings at September 25th's inaugural show for the Archipelago music series, which happens at Galapagos one Friday a month through next May. Like the Undiscovered Islands fest in May, the shows will be featuring music that crosses boundaries between classical, indie, etc. (and like that fest, it's also being set up by the New Amsterdam label.)

The full schedule is below. It's full of treats (like a way-off show with music by Shara Worden aka My Brightest Diamond in April). The first show featured violist Nadia Sirota and percussion quartet Line C3. Coincidentally, Worden and Nadia will both be playing with the Dessner Bros.' BAM Next Wave show, The Long Count, at the end of October.

Both acts on the first night performed works by Nico Muhly (Line C3 did "Ta and Clap," written by Nico for them in 2004, and he joined Nadia for his piece "Keep in Touch," which features a vocal sample from Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons). Nadia & Nico actually discuss their collaborations in an episode of New Amsterdam's Podcast series.

Speaking of New Amsterdam, they also have a CMJ showcase coming up with Cantaloupe Records at (Le) Poisson Rouge on October 21st. Tickets are on sale. That will feature the music of David Lang and Julia Wolfe (Bang on a Can co-founders) and performances by NOW Ensemble, Darcy James Argue's Secret Society and more. Clips of the Lang-scored film (Untitled) will be screened between performances (the soundtrack of which will be out October 13th).

Full details on the Archipelago series below...

Continue reading "Archipelago music series to feature Shara Worden, Craig Wedren & more ++ New Amsterdam & Cantaloupe do CMJ"

Central Park - July 14, 2009 (Noel Y C)
Central Park

One down, five free shows to go.

words by Martin Longley, photo by Dan Mazuz

Steve Reich (left) with conductor Brad Lubman & Signal...

Signal commemorated Steve Reich's 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winning piece "Double Sextet" with a performance of the work on June 22nd at (Le) Poisson Rouge. The night consisted of an early set and an added late set, both of which also included a performance of Reich's 1984 piece "Sextet." Wordless Music put on the show -- they're hosting Johann Johannsson and American Contemporary Music Ensemble at the venue tonight (doing an early and late show as well). Martin Longley was there...

Continue reading "Signal played Steve Reich's 'Double Sextet' @ LPR"

by Andrew Frisicano

Steve Reich clapping

Steve ReichSteve Reich

Tonight (5/22) the Undiscovered Islands/New Amsterdam Records series at Galapagos continues with two sets: Sarah Kirkland Snider's Penelope performed by Signal, guitarist Steven Mackey and singer Rachel Calloway (conducted by Brad Lubman), and an opening performance by So Percussion. Tickets are still on sale.

So Percussion, who played with Dan Deacon at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple in December, was to premiere a new Deacon piece, but that debut has been postponed. Instead, Jason Treuting from So Percussion, writes...

we are playing some new music that we've been working on as meditations on the concept of city. the music has been focusing on the task oriented nature of a city and the parallel task-oriented nature of playing music. loops are made out of tasks and we have taken to transforming mundane objects into musical instruments like we haven't before. turning on lamps, writing on paper, pouring gravel, putting down ordinary objects in rhythm, etc. a few new videos by my sister jenise treuting will be busted out as well.
The other ensemble on that bill, Signal, has several other gigs coming up. They're performing Michael Gordon's Trance, for a second time, at the Bang on a Can Marathon on May 31st.

Signal just did the music of Philip Glass at (Le) Poisson Rouge on May 17th. They'll return to the venue on Friday, June 22nd for a concert and party to celebrate Steve Reich's 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Music for Double Sextet. Reich's original Sextet (1984) will be performed at that show, presented by Wordless Music, as well. Tickets are on sale.

That gig is your only way to check out the piece (except for streaming excerpts), as there's currently no way to buy a recording of it. Reich discussed this in a recent interview...

Newsweek: I missed the premiere of "Double Sextet" last year, and when I heard it had won, I found myself upset that there was no way to buy the piece yet.

Reich: Yeah, that's just part of the recording business. When you have a 24-minute piece, the official recording hinges on finishing and recording two other pieces to go with it [on a CD]. I'm working on two other pieces right now, and have to finish writing the second one, actually. I've got a piece for all rock-and-roll people already completed, and it's going to premiere later this year. [Nico Muhly's blog]

Commenters on Nico Muhly's post about the situation rightly point out that Double Sextet should be released ASAP to capitalize on the Pulitzer publicity. The 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Music, won by Bang on a Can cofounder David Lang for his the little match girl passion (streaming here), is just seeing a CD release, with four other Lang works, on June 9th via Harmonia Mundi.

Speaking of Reich and Bang on a Can, the composer will perform his own "Clapping Music" at the Bang on a Can Big Benefit Bash taking place Wednesday, June 3rd at (Le) Poisson Rouge. Other special guests include Meredith Monk, David Cossin, Wu Man, Maya Beiser, Talujon and Doug Aitken. Tickets will run you a $400 donation to the non-profit...

...which is why the regular-people-friendly festival is hosting a "Bang on a Can't Afford the Other Benefit" show at LPR later that same night (6/3) with So Percussion, Gutbucket, Newspeak and NOW Ensemble. Tickets for that are a more reasonable $20.

Speaking of new ensembles, Bang on a Can is forming a new street band called Asphalt Orchestra. That group will make its debut later this summer at Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival.

Full info on BoaC's Asphalt Orchestra, and its Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival plans, below...

Continue reading "So Percussion (but not Dan Deacon) tonight, Steve Reich's Double Sextet, Bang on a Can benefits, street band & more"

by Martin Longley

Philip GlassLike many other new music ensembles, Signal have the ability to shape their membership to the needs of each interpretation. Their recent performances of pieces by Steve Reich and Michael Gordon called for line-ups that were heavy on percussion or amplified guitars and keyboards. Sunday's selection of works by Philip Glass called for a more traditional spread.

Now, Signal's membership is pared down to a string orchestra form, the dancefloor of (le) Poisson Rouge arrayed with double basses, cellos, violas and violins. Signal are following their own precedent at the venue by taking up much of the club's space, and with a few more tables placed around the perimeter, there's even less room for an actual standing audience. Nevertheless, the joint looks packed once the tables are filled, with folks squeezed in front of the bar, their absolute silence falling with uncanny suddenness once conductor Brad Lubman takes his position. This is a very positive factor for the venue. Just before commencement, David Bowie's Hunky Dory album is strumming out of the speakers, the crowd chattering loudly. Then, a complete switch takes place within moments, as the audience snaps into concentration mode. This is the kind of musical schizophrenia that helps make the club a crucial addition to the scene, now fully established after nearly a year's innovative activity.

continued below...

Continue reading "Signal performed Philip Glass @ (le) Poisson Rouge"

by Andrew Frisicano

Darcy James Argue
Darcy James Argue

New Amsterdam Records is putting on Undiscovered Islands, a month-long exhibition of work by label artists and friends at Brooklyn's Galapagos Art Space (16 Main St in DUMBO). The series' four Friday shows start May 8th. Tickets are on sale now.

The lineups include two record release shows: one for Darcy James Argue's Secret Society's Infernal Machines on Friday, May 8th; and another on May 15th for Nadia Sirota's first things first. Sirota will be appearing with the Chiara Quartet, itsnotyouitsme, Clarice Jensen, Nico Muhly and others.

Friday, May 22nd's show will feature ensemble Signal premiering Sarah Kirkland Snider's Penelope with Brad Lubman, Steven Mackey and Rachel Calloway, and So Percussion playing new works.

The final Undiscovered Islands of the month will feature NOW Ensemble and Abigail Fischer premiering Missy Mazzoli and Stephen Taylor's "Song from the Uproar" followed by a preview premiere performance of William Brittelle's Television Landscape on Friday, May 29th. New work Television Landscape is described in the release as "a fully-notated concept album that brings together the epic tradition of Pet Sounds, Purple Rain, and OK Computer with Brittelle's idiosyncratic... compositional style."

Continue reading "Undiscovered Islands - an 'indie' classical series in May @ Galapagos, Matmos in Princeton & more "

by Andrew Frisicano

DOWNLOAD: Michael Gordon - Trance 2 (MP3)

Michael Gordon

For over an hour on Wednesday, April 21st, downtown space (Le) Poisson Rouge roared with the sound of Michael Gordon's Trance . Signal's performance was its debut of the work, the first of any group outside UK's Icebreaker, but it won't be Signal's last. Trance is on the schedule for the Bang on a Can Marathon on May 31st. Other acts at the fest include Ryuichi Sakamoto with Bill Frisell, Tortoise, and more.

At LPR, the 22-piece band set up in the middle of the floor. Electric guitar and bass sat centerstage -- and those two familiar rock signatures weighted the piece, signaling its shift in movements and tones with their repeating figures. In particular, the three-note electric bass pattern that starts Trance becomes intimately familiar as the work goes on and provides a through-thread of sorts for the listener (especially one attuned to rock).

It's not impossible to paint your own narrative on Trance, as its dominanant thrust shifts between bass guitar, brass, woodwind, and percussion. A sort of musical fencing match emerges, with each rhythmic component opening and closing to let another expand in its place. In the cracks of each pulse, a section across the room comes through, usually seeming to lag slightly behind.

One dialogue, between the reeds and the center sax (rocking back and forth as if in a trance himself), was particularly engaging. For a while, that group held the floor while other sections maintained side conversations, only apparent in the preeminent instruments' pauses.

In the cozy space of LPR, Trace seemed to confront each listener at different times. Parts of the piece will scare the shit out of you. Unannounced drums early on set the expectations for volume, which get continually torn down and built up again as Trance progresses. Its pre-finale lull cuts the pace to a meditative drone, before the musicians build to an inevitable, gratifying climax. Conductor Brad Lubman almost jumped out of his Jack Purcells as he cued the piece's cresting volume. It's always a pleasant surprise when an extended, nearly-hourlong piece of music leaves you wanting more.

continued below...

Continue reading "a review of Signal's 'Trance' performance @ Le Poisson Rouge & an interview with its composer Michael Gordon"

by Andrew Frisicano

Steve Reich

New York-based composer Steve Reich has won the Pulitzer Prize for music with his piece Double Sextet. Reich composed the work for two identical sextets of instruments, each made up of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, vibraphone and piano.NPR]
The award-winning piece was commissioned by new-music ensemble eighth blackbird, who toured with Double Sextet as part of their The Only Moving Thing program in 2008. That show visited New York's Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall on Thursday, April 17th, 2008.

The second half of The Only Moving Thing was a new joint composition by Bang on a Can artistic directors David Lang, Michael Gordon and Julia Wolfe, called singing in the dead of night. Gordon's Trance is being performed at (Le) Poisson Rouge on Wednesday, April 22nd.

On May 20, BAM is hosting a screening of The South Bank Show: Steve Reich. The event, which also includes a reception and a Q&A with Reich himself, is free, but "exclusively for Friends of BAM".

More info on Double Sextext, with a NYT review of its debut and videos of eighth blackbird rehearsing and recording the piece below...

Continue reading "Steve Reich wins a Pulitzer, appearing at BAM for a Q&A "

by Andrew Frisicano

"Great Lawn, 15 minutes before the concert" (jamescastle)
New York Philharmonic

This July, the New York Philharmonic will play free outdoor concerts in all five NYC boroughs. Two shows are set for Manhattan, while Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx each gets one... which is one more than Long Island's East Islip. The NY Phil has been performing annual free shows in the town for more than 30 years, but had to cancel its appearance at this year's concert, "cit[ing] the current economic downturn and a resultant loss of sponsors." The Long Island Philharmonic has announced it will take the group's place at the July 18th event.

At least the New York Phiharmonic is doing better than the Brooklyn Philharmonic. The 50+ year old group (vs. the NYP's 150+ years) was less well-equipped to deal with funding losses and recently canceled the remainder of its 2009 season. That's in addition to being sued by a composer who claims the orchestra "'butchered' [his] piece to avoid paying musicians overtime."

Recent Brooklyn Phil shows, that didn't get cancelled, include one with Grizzly Bear and Final Fantasy, and another with Clogs and Bell Orchestre.

The NY Philharmonic also has an upcoming free Memorial Day show. That concert will take place at Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine on Monday, May 25th.

Last year, the NYP ran a photo contest -- the above snapshot was last year's winner in the "Overall Favorite Shot" category.

All free outdoor dates below...

Continue reading "New York Philharmonic's 2009 free summer schedule + cancellations, lawsuits & other orchestra news"