Tag Archives: Bryce Dessner

Check out the Bang on a Can Marathon: Hear amazing music for free

Bang on a Can founder Michael Gordon introduces a performance of his composition "Exalted," featuring the Young People’s Chorus of New York City and JACK Quartet, at the 2011 Bang on a Can Marathon. (Photo  © 2011, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Bang on a Can founder Michael Gordon introduces a performance of his composition “Exalted,” featuring the Young People’s Chorus of New York City and JACK Quartet, at the 2011 Bang on a Can Marathon. (Photo © 2011, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Roomful of Teeth, Jherek Bischoff, Anonymous 4, So Percussion, more featured on 8-hour program

Head to the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place at the World Financial Center  in lower Manhattan on Sunday afternoon for a fantastic exploration of New Music.

The 2014 edition of the annual Bang on a Can Marathon starts at 2 p.m. and runs through 10 p.m. You can come and go as you please, sampling everything from serious compositions by Bang on a Can‘s founding composers — Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe, and David Lang — to works by rock band The National’s Bryce Dessner, along with performances by the inimitable Meredith Monk, Jherek Bischoff, So Percussion, and female vocal quartet Anonymous 4.

Tap or click here to see the full performance schedule.

This event is really a must to experience in person — you’ll see artists mingling with audience in chance encounters throughout the show, get to see and buy CDs and merchandise at the huge merch table, and maybe even take a break to go shopping in the urban mall.

And be sure to check out Found Sound Nation, which hosts its Street Studio – a mobile recording studio where anyone can spontaneously create and record original music!

If you can’t get there, you don’t have to miss out, though. It will be webcast in HD audio and videol.

Tap or click here to WATCH LIVE.

 

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Sandy can’t stop New Amsterdam from forging ahead with plans for Ecstatic Music Festival 2013

Clogs

Clogs, Bang On a Can, Deerhoof, Shara Worden, Karla Kihlstedt among the acts on adventurous music series’s killer lineup of shows coming up in January and February

Superstorm Sandy did a real number on the New Amsterdam Records headquarters in Red Hook, Brooklyn, a month ago. The good folks at the nonprofit record company/concert presenting organization are still struggling to recover from the devastation. (Please help them with a donation if you haven’t already — or even if you have. Just click here.)

Despite the devastation, they folks at NewAm have forged ahead with plans for a killer lineup for the next installment of their groundbreaking concert series at Merkin Concert Hall in Manhattan. It’s something we here at Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? always look forward to.

The 2013 edition, which kicks off in late January, offers one of the strongest lineups ever. It’s hard to know where to start.

My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Worden with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus? Check.

Clogs with NewAm founder Sarah Kirkland Snider? Check.

Deerhoof and Dal Niente with Marcos Balter? Check.

Laurel Halo, Julia Holter, Daniel Wohl and Transit (an adventurous ensemble that my pal Andie Springer is involved in)? Yep.

The Bang on a Can People’s Commissioning Fund Concert? Yes, indeed.

I could go on. But you get the idea. Check out the full schedule. And buy tickets. Now. You won’t want to miss any of these shows.

For schedule, tickets and more info, click here. Single tickets are just $25, while a festival pass is a mere $150 — and worth every penny.

Trust me on this one.

Hey, Buke and Gass, ummm, GASE, are back with new music

Thoughts on a name change

Buke and Gass keep their feet busy, too. (Photos © 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Plus a PREVIEW OF THEIR NEW SONG!

It’s been more than a year since Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone?  mentioned Buke and Gass. We’re overdue.

Arone Dyer on buke.

Maybe you’ve already noticed that there’s something different about this intense duo — their name. They’re now Buke and Gase, in what appears to be a slightly sad surrender to phonetics.

For those who have been paying close attention, the morphing began late last fall when the band posted this brief, cryptic bulletin on its website:

October 26 – Just played a show in Canada and our name is morphing.

But the reality didn’t sink in until we saw announcements for the band’s May 4 appearance at The National‘s Bryce and Aaron Dessner-curated Crossing Brooklyn Ferry series at BAM. We thought somebody had made a typo. On further investigation, we discovered the band had indeed changed the spelling.

Aron Sanchez on gass.

Although the pronunciation of the band name was easy to remember once you knew what it stood for — baritone ukulele=Buke, while guitar+bass=Gass — it appears the second half of the name was too often the butt of jokes rhyming with ass. So Arone Dyer, who plays the buke, and Aron Sanchez, on gass, gave in and changed the spelling.

But they didn’t change the sound, as you’ll hear on this great preview track from their next album, which they hope to release in September.

If you can’t make it to Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, or you just want more Buke and Gase, check out the lineup they’ve curated (they’re not listed as performing, just curating) through May 15 with Terry Riley‘s son Gyan Riley, at The Stone, John Zorn‘s music venue in Manhattan’s East Village.

Doveman delivers the best show of the year so far

May edition of The Burgundy Stain Session featured Rufus Wainwright and The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl)

Doveman opening his latest edition of The Burgundy Stain Sessions at (Le) Poisson Rouge. (Photos copyright 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

I’m not sure what it is about Thomas Bartlett, aka Doveman, that makes him so brilliant.

Like many of you, I first discovered him when he was the man behind Salon‘s late, lamented Daily Download feature. At that point, I had no idea who he was, but enjoyed his tight writing about music and really enjoyed his taste and his ability to spotlight tunes that I might have missed and would have lived to regret.

Rufus Wainwright.

But soon he gave that up and turned to his real love, making music. Those who were paying attention soon discovered that Thomas is a very talented singer-songwriter in his own right with his beautiful, fragile style that he calls “insomnia pop.” He’s made some beautiful albums under his nom de stage.

But Thomas is probably more familiar to audiences as the guy will lots and lots of amazingly talented musical friends.

Rob Moose, Doveman, Rufus Wainwright and Brad Albetta.

He’s been presenting The Burgundy Stain Sessions (the next edition is June 24) shows on a more or less monthly basis lately at (Le) Poisson Rouge. The format is pretty straightforward. He gets  the room set up in the round, invites some of his talented friends, does a little rehearsing and puts on a show. It’s the kind of event where just about anything can happen.

The sessions we’ve see have been beautiful, sloppy things. And we don’t mean sloppy in a bad way. No, we mean sloppy in a warm, wonderful surprise-wet-kiss way.

Continue reading

Sufjan Stevens joins Clogs at Merkin Concert Hall

Sufjan Stevens joins Clogs onstage at Merkin Concert Hall. (Copyright 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

The minute I settled into my seat at Merkin Concert Hall on Saturday night, March 12, it struck me that we’d be seeing Sufjan Stevens before the night was out. (Forgive me, I hadn’t checked Brooklyn Vegan before I went. If I had, this would have been much more than just a hunch!)

I wasn’t sure whether it would be as a member of the audience or the onstage ensemble — though I hoped for the latter. After all, the prolific Stevens has never been shy about sharing his talents with his friends. We’ve seen him hang quietly in the back of clubs like (Le) Poission Rouge, listening to the music of one of his musical idols, Steve Reich. And we’ve seen him take the stage with other friends before, including Clogs at the Bell House last March.

Shara Worden and Sufjan Stevens at Merkin Concert Hall. (Copyright 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

Sufjan did not disappoint us. He came, he played banjo and sang We Were Here, acting in his self-effacing way just any other hired musician. It was a wonderful moment and a delightful surprise. But I don’t want to sell Clogs short. The concert was delightful even before Sufjan arrived onstage.

Clogs put on a beautiful show as part of the excellent Ecstatic Music Festival. Wonderfully quirky vocalist Shara Worden, in an extremely colorful ensemble, joined Clogs to sing and play some guitar on several tunes from the latest Clogs album, The Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton, on which she appears. The band also did some older tunes and a new song cycle, called Unattended Shadow, by the band’s violist, Padma Newsome. (Clogs’ lineup is rounded out by Rachael Elliott on bassoon and Thomas Kozumplik on percussion.)

(Sorry for the iffy photo quality, but Merkin is pretty strict about its no-photography policy.) Continue reading

People’s Commissioning Fund: Make your own music

Want to feel like a Medici or some other patron of the arts but don’t have the treasury to make it happen?

Everyone who gives — even just a few dollars — to Bang on a Can’s People’s Commissioning Fund is a minimogul responsible for the creation of a handful of musical works every year.

Commissioners, as Bang calls its donors to the PCF, get to hear the fruits of their efforts in concert in Manhattan on Thursday evening, Feb. 10. This year’s commissioned composers are Nick Brooke, hometown hero Bryce Dessner of the Brooklyn-based rock band The National and tabla-electronic-hip hop wizard Karsh Kale

This year’s concert is programmed as part of the Ecstatic Music Festival, a two-month cornucopia of music by like-minded composers and performers being presented at Merkin Concert Hall near Lincoln Center.

If you’ve already donated and have some free time at 5 p.m. on the day before the concert, you can see the musicians, and some or all of the composers, up close in a free dress rehearsal. You’ll even get the chance to ask questions and rub elbows with the artists and other commissioners at an informal reception afterward. Contact BoaC’s director of development, Tim Thomas, tim@bangonacan.org, for more info.

The Bang on a Can All-Stars, the house band, handles the playing duties for virtually all the commissions. They also be filling out the program with some other great music, including Steve Martland‘s Horses of Instruction, Convex/Concave/Concord by Danish minimalist Pelle Gudmundsen Holmgreen, and Believing by BoaC cofounder Julia Wolfe.

Here’s how BoaC cofounder David Lang describes the PCF process in a nutshell: “Over 14 years the People’s Commissioning Fund (PCF) is as liberating a force in music as we had imagined it would be. We are still pooling together the contributions large and small of hundreds of music lovers from around the world, adding penny to penny, combining lonesome individual gifts into awe inspiring communities of power and cold cash.  And then we give that money to bold, innovative, questioning, dedicated and highly inventive composers. We commission them, we rehearse their music intensively, we hold special events so that the members of the PCF can meet the musicians and composers that their generosity supports, and then we play that music in New York and often all around the world.  It is an amazing and beautiful thing.”

Beautiful, indeed. We here at Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? have supported the PCF from the beginning. We couldn’t be more proud of what our pennies have helped create.

The details:

7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 10. Bang on a Can 2011 People’s Commissioning Fund Concert, Merkin Concert Hall, 129 W. 67th St. (between Broadway and Amsterdam), Manhattan. $25.

Kronos Quartet’s rare NYC club appearance at (Le) Poisson Rouge

 

David Harrington of Kronos Quartet at New York nightclub (Le) Poisson Rouge on Oct. 8, 2010. (Photos copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

 

Groundbreaking ensemble sells out two nights at Greenwich Village nightspot

Kronos Quartet can and does regularly fill huge auditoriums for its programs. But for its latest appearance in New York City, the ensemble picked Greenwich Village’s (Le) Poisson Rouge, arguably the most welcoming venue for New Music New York City.

 

Kronos Quartet's cellist, Jeffrey Zeigler.

 

Kronos’ two-night program included a slew of premieres and put the spotlight on many New York-based composers and collaborators, including the super-talented young composer Missy Mazzoli (founder of the hot electroacoustic chamber ensemble Victoire), Bang on a Can founder Michael Gordon, guitarist Bryce Dessner of the bands Clogs and The National (formed in Cincinnatti but now based in Brooklyn) and the Young Peoples Chorus of New York City.

The 37-year-old, San Francisco-based qua
rtet  — David Harrington and John Sherba on violins, Hank Dutt on viola and Jeffrey Zeigler on cello — played a spirited set to a packed house on Friday evening, Oct. 8. The second installment is tonight, Saturday, Oct. 9, when Kronos offers a completely different program.

 

 

At the Friday show, Kronos kicked off with Dessner’s Aheym (Homeward), which he wrote for Kronos. Mazzoli’s lovely, lyrical Harp and Altar, also composed for Kronos, followed.

The first world premiere of the evening was Aleksandra Vrebalov‘s spell no. 4, for a changing world.

But the most stunning performance moments of the evening came next, when Kronos introduced the Young Peoples Chorus, founded and conducted by Francisco Nuñez. The youngsters entered from the darkened sides of the room shrieking and howling the vocal parts of Terry Riley‘s Another Secret eQuation, which he wrote for Kronos and had its world premiere at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall in March.

 

Composer Michael Gordon cheers the Young Peoples Chorus of New York City, with John Sherba and David Harrington of Kronos Quartet.

 

After a brief intermission, the Young Peoples Chorus rejoined Kronos for the world premiere of Gordon’s Exalted, an intensely emotional composition.

Click through to the jump for more words and photos about Kronos and collaborators. Continue reading

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? recommends…

Shows we think you should check out during the week of Oct. 3-9

Composer Julia Wolfe (Photo by Peter Serling)

The Music of Julia Wolfe at (Le) POISSON ROUGE

Julia Wolfe is a composer of rare talent. The Bang on a Can cofounder is able to write in a classical idiom for string quartet as easily as in a rock mode for percussion ensemble.

On Oct. 3, she’ll be presenting a sampling of her work, including Stronghold for eight double basses, the string quartet Dig Deep, and LAD for bagpipes.  at (Le) Poisson Rouge. Julia will be in the house to discuss her work.

Performers include JACK Quartet, Robert Black and the Hartt Bass Band, and piper Matthew Welch.

6:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 3. (Le) Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street, Manhattan. (212) 505-FISH (3474) $15. Tickets available here.

Kronos Quartet (Photo by Jay Blakesberg)

Kronos Quartet at (Le) Poisson Rouge

Kronos Quartet, the pioneering modern string quartet, make two rare club appearances in New York City this week.

On Friday and Saturday, Oct. 8 and 9, Kronos is appearing at (Le) Poisson Rouge.

The program for Oct. 8 includes the New York premiere of Maria Schneider‘s String Quartet No. 1, a world premiere by Aleksandra Vrebalov, the premiere of Bang on a Can cofounder Michael Gordon‘s Exalted with the Young People’s Chorus of New York City and works by Bryce Dessner and Missy Mazzoli. On Oct. 9 Kronos is joined by special guest vocalist Judith Berkson for several pieces. Also featured are Clouded Yellow by Gordon as well as works by Clint Mansell, J.G. Thirlwell, and Dan Visconti.

7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8. (Le) Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street, Manhattan. $25. Tickets available here.

Also 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9. Tickets available here.

Ólöf Arnalds at The Bell House in Brooklyn on March 24, 2010. (Photo by Steven P. Marsh)

Ólöf Arnalds at Joe’s pub

Ólöf Arnalds seemed to be an uncertain, nervous performer when we saw her at The Bell House in March. But the Icelandic singer-songwriter writes lovely songs and makes delicately beautiful records.

We’re hoping she’ll be more confident when she stops in at Joe’s Pub,

9:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 9. Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette Street, Manhattan. $15. Click here or call (212) 967-7555 for tickets and more information.

Sufjan Stevens, Shara Worden guest with the Clogs

Bryce Dessner, Shara Worden and Padma Newsome. (Photos copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Sufjan Stevens joins the Clogs on banjo.

The Clogs, with Padma Newsome on vocals, violins, harmonium, keyboard and a few other instruments, and Bryce Dessner (The National) on guitars and other strummed strings, entranced the crowd at The Bell House in Brooklyn on Wednesday night.

A very pregnant Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) added her own beautiful, haunting vocal vocal touches. Other permanent members of Clogs are Rachael Eliott on bassoon and Thomas Kozumplik on percussion. The Bell House performance was supplemented by a second percussionist and horn section at times.

But the real surprise of the evening was greeted by an audible gasp when Sufjan Stevens appeared onstage to play banjo on one song.

Clogs music is a bit difficult to pigeonhole. It’s definitely not rock, but it’s not classical. It bridges the two and winds up being unique. At one point Bryce made reference to a review that called one of the group’s songs “knotty.” Shara promised to try to sing in as knotty a fashion as possible.

Click through to the jump for more information and photos. Continue reading

The Long Count: From baseball saga to creation story

Long Count Dessners Ritchie

Stereogum Senior Writer Brandon Stosuy, left, interviews The Long Count creators Aaron Dessner, Bryce Dessner, Matther Ritchie at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. (Copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)

What did I learn from the artist talk for The Long Count at the Brooklyn Academy of Music last weekend?

For starters, that twin brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner (of rock band The National) wanted to write a baseball saga when Joe Melillo, BAM’s executive producer,  invited them to create a show for this year’s Next Wave Festival. They wanted to work with acclaimed writer and baseball fanatic Michael Chabon, but that didn’t work out. Then the teamed up with British visual artist Matthew Ritchie, who persuaded them to adopt the structure of the Mayan Popol Vuh creation story, which involves a heroic set of ball-playing twins. It was a good move.

The resulting show, which ended its run at BAM on Halloween, was a treat for the eyes, ears and mind.

The Dessners chose to work with a great orchestra, many of whom, like violist Nadia Sirota, are very active in the same contemporary classical-rock crossover circles they are. And their featured collaborators, Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond and Kim and Kelley Deal, twin sisters from The Breeders.

Check out great photos and info about the performance at Brooklyn Vegan.