Monthly Archives: February 2010

ETA3 to shine in Nyack

The stellar trio ETA3.

ETA3, a hip, young classical trio formed at the The Juilliard School that takes its name from a star-forming nebula in our galaxy. The trio’s name also happens to use the first letter of the first name of each member: flutist Emily Thomas, pianist Tomoko Nakayama and clarinetist Alexey Gorokholinsky.

They bring their unconventional lineup of flute, clarinet and piano to the stage of GraceMusic this Sunday afternoon at 4 o’clock. (Full disclosure: Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? recently joined the board of this Nyack-based concert presenter. My only pay for that job, like the job of maintaining this blog, is the satisfaction of fostering the arts.)

Since there’s little repertoire written for their particular instrumentation, the talented trio adapt and arrange music themselves, often distilling pieces from larger orchestral compositions.

Sunday’s program features Debussy’s Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun, Bartok’s Romanian Folk Dance and Tchaikovsky’s Russian Dance,  as well as Trio in Three Movements by Khachaturian  and Carmen Fantasy, adapted from a famous transcription by Sarasate.

In some vocabularies, ETA also stands for estimated time of arrival. They’ll arrive onstage at GraceMusic at 4 pm this Sunday, Feb. 28. The concert is in the beautiful nave of Grace Church, 130 First  Ave., Nyack, NY. Tickets are $15 at the door ($10 for seniors and $5 for students). For more information about GraceMusic, go here, click on Music in the navigation bar at the bottom of the page and on GraceMusic at the top of the Music Page. Or check out GraceMusic’s facebook page and become a fan.

Missy Mazzoli’s making an uproar

Composer and performer Missy Mazzoli. (Photo by Stephen Taylor)

Composer Missy Mazzoli‘s having a great year — and it’s only February. She’s been working hard to get her music heard, and it’s really coming together.

Tomorrow night and Sunday, her chamber opera Song from the Uproar is being performed by students from the Bard College Conservatory of Music Graduate Vocal Arts Program, run by the estimable soprano Dawn Upshaw. It’s part of an opera triple bill, which also includes Vinkensport, or The Finch Opera, a world premiere by David T. Little, and L’Enfant et les sortilèges by Maurice Ravel  in the amazing Sosnoff Theater on the Bard College campus in Annandale-on-Hudson. For more info about those shows and to buy tickets, priced from $20-$75, click here. If you’re willing to take a randomly assigned seat, you can pay just $10 by clicking here and using the password “triplebill.”

The lyrical piece examines the life of 19th Century Swiss explorer Isabelle Eberhardt, with text inspired by and responding to her journals, which Missy set to music for soprano and small ensemble, against a backdrop of film by Stephen Taylor. A 40-minute version of the piece presented last May at Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn was enchanting and provocative entertainment.

Missy’s opera will be heard again in New York City in the spring, when it’s presented as part of New York City Opera’s Vox showcase of new operas. Although Vox hasn’t formally announced its season yet, Time Out New York‘s Olivia Giovetti reveals in an interview with Missy that it’ll be held April 30 and May 1 this year. Although the venue has not been announced, Vox has been presented for the past four years at Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at New York University.

Missy Mazzoli and her quintet Victoire.

Then, in her rock-club guise as leader of the quintet Victoire, Missy will be performing in March and April with American Composers Orchestra.

The first show is at 4 pm Sunday, March 21, at Dweck Center at the Brooklyn Public Library, Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn.  Admission is free. Call (718) 230-2100 or click on www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org for more information.

The second show (on a bill also featuring Arp & Anthony Moore) is presented as part of the Wordless Music Series at 7:30 pm on Wednesday, April 7 at (Le) Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street, Manhattan.  Tickets are  $15. Call (212) 505-FISH or click here.

A Klezmer/Funkadelic storm hits (Le) Poisson Rouge

David Krakauer, Socalled and Fred Wesley are Abraham Inc.

Klezmer king David Krakauer, the tirelessly inventive clarinetist who leads Klezmer Madness!, trombonist Fred Wesley (whose credits include stints with James Brown, George Clinton’s Parliament/Funkadelic and the Count Basie Orchestra) and frequent Krakauer collaborator Socalled (a DJ whose real name is Josh Dolgin), are coming together at Manhattan’s (Le) Poisson Rouge tomorrow night to celebrate the release of Tweet Tweet, their debut CD as Abraham Inc.

If you’re one of those people who still thinks that the clarinet isn’t cool, and that klezmer is the music of your grandparents— something you’ve worked hard to escape — think again. Krakauer has been at the forefront of a modern movement to make klezmer cool, and he succeeds more every day.

Watch the video below, then check out this show, or get the CD, and you’ll be convinced. Sure, they’re three kinda goofy guys, but when they start grooving, they skillfully weave together elements of klezmer, funk and hip hop to create a really fresh sound.

Abraham Inc. with Girls in Trouble. 7 pm tomorrow (Thursday, Feb. 25) at (Le) Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street, Manhattan. $25 in advance. Tickets available here.

It’s time to Bang on a Can

Composer David Longstreth of The Dirty Projectors.

Tonight’s the night that Bang on a Can shows what it’s made of — and what its supporters are made of, too!

The People’s Commissioning Fund Concert kicks off at 7:30 pm at Merkin Concert Hall. The concept of the People’s Commissioning Fund is pretty simple, and pretty much what the name suggests. The lovely folk at Bang on a Can reach out to their supporters (that’s the people part of the equation) for donations (the fund) that they use to pay composer to write new works (the commissioning) for their super-talented house band the Bang on a Can All-Stars. The band is capable of playing just about anything off the shelf with a little arranging. But because of its particular lineup (piano, cello, clarinet, bass, percussion and guitar), it really shines on pieces written for it.

Christine Southworth

Of late, Bang on a Can has been using the fund to commission three new works. We’ll be hearing four commissions tonight, however. David Longstreth, the inventive composer and performer who created the pop band The Dirty Projectors, was awarded a commission last year, but was on tour and not around NYC for the PCF concert last April. So instead of premiering the piece without the composer, BoaC decided to delay it a week. That was disappointing to PCF supporters like me, but a real boon to Longstreth’s growing numbers of Dirty Projectors fans. I’m sure many will be in the audience tonight.

But let’s not shortchange this years commissions.

Christine Southworth (born in 1978),  has degrees in math from MIT and composition from Brown. She brings a scientific mind to bear on the challenge of composition. Her debut recording, Zap!, featured actual sparks and static from the Boston Museum of Science’s Van de Graaff Generator and Tesla Coils along with voices and instrumentation. She’s also co-founder and director of Ensemble Robot, a musical performance group that, you guessed it, features robots!

Nik Bärtsch

Swiss pianist-composer Nik Bärtsch (born in 1971)  performs in three guises — as a soloist, in a “zen-funk” group called Ronin and an acoustic group, Mobile. Loosely defined, he works in the jazz vein, and is known for his workshops that combine training in music and body movement.

U.K. native Oscar Betttison (born in 1975) works with invented instruments, finds unconventional uses for traditional concert instruments and combines them with rock instruments.

Oscar Bettison

This concert, which is part of WNYC’s New Sounds Live series, will also feature the All-Stars playing a recently commissioned (though not by PCF) work by Michael Nyman for film by the celebrated 1920s NY photographer Paul Strand and a selection from the group’s arrangement of Brian Eno’s Music for Airports.

Some tickets for tonight are still available at $25. Click here to buy. Showtime is 7:30 pm at Merkin Concert Hall in the Kaufman Center, 129 W. 67th St. (between Broadway and Amsterdam) in Manhattan. BoaC normally tops off the show by giving away collections of CDs from its Cantaloupe label.

If you can’t make it to the show, be sure to listen to it on WQXR’s Q2 internet feed.

EXCLUSIVE: How you can attend a reading of The Last Goodbye

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Daily Variety reported last night that The Last Goodbye, New York director Michael Kimmel’s musical play pairing Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet with the music of Jeff Buckley, is headed to the stage next season. The item also said there would be a developmental reading in NYC soon. What Variety didn’t tell you is when that reading will be and how you can attend. But Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? has those answers for you exclusively.

The reading will be held at 2 pm on Friday, March 12. The New York City venue hasn’t been named yet, though the creative team will have that finalized soon.

As for getting tickets, it’s a bit of a crap shoot, but the rules are simple: Just drop an email, including your full name, email address and telephone number to newsletter@jeffbuckley.com by 12 am ET on March 1. That will put you in the running for a free pair of tickets.

I’ve been a huge fan of Jeff’s work for ages. After I saw the concert version of this show at Joe’s Pub last year, I wrote that it blew my mind and I couldn’t wait to see it develop. That time is fast approaching!

The new Stew review, comin’ right at you!

Stew in his breakup show, "Making It," at St. Ann's Warehouse on Feb. 21. (Copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

I avoided reading reviews of Stew and Heidi Rodewald‘s new show, Making It, playing  at St. Ann’s Warehouse through tomorrow night. I wanted to go to tonight’s show with fresh, unsullied eyes, ears and mind.

But somehow I just couldn’t resist. And then, once I read the pan by Jon Caramanica, I just knew Stew had to have had something to say about it on his blog. Stew goes in fits and starts, but recently he’s been taking to the blog to set the record straight about inaccuracies in things that have been written about his work. And boy, he didn’t disappoint with his response to Caramanica. He wrote  a highly entertaining, deliciously acerbic post that you can read for yourself by clicking here. (One inaccuracy that Stew didn’t correct in The New York Times review is the tagline that said  the show “continues through Sunday,” it has another performance tomorrow (Monday) night. Has the Times‘ fact-checking  department been eliminated?)

Bottom line here, is that everybody’s entitled to an opinion. But I couldn’t disagree with Caramanica more. Stew’s response may have been rather, ummm, emotional (understandably), but he’s still right. I don’t know what Caramanica was seeing the night he reviewed the show, but he must not have seen the show I saw tonight.

Sure, Making It is not Passing Strange. But it doesn’t pretend to be. It’s a document of a breakup — somewhat fictionalized, like every good work of art— presented in the form of a staged concert. And it rocks!

If you want to see this show, you are probably out of luck. The last show is tomorrow (Monday, Feb. 22) night, and as of a couple of minutes ago, there were only three seats left, priced at $78 apiece. But don’t take my word for it, check out the St. Ann’s Warehouse  web site. If you do get to see it, you’ll be glad you made the effort. It is an amazing show.

New music from Philadelphia heroes Marah!

The news at 11, Smithereens style

Jim Babjak, Severo "The Thrilla" Jornacion and Pat Dinizio of The Smithereens rock B.B. King's. (Photos copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? has been preoccupied with paying the bills and going to shows in the first weeks of this year. As a result, we’re way behind in posting.

Sid Bernstein introduces The Smithereens at B.B. King's.

The Smithereens played their annual B.B. King’s show last month. It was a powerful set, the first half of which was a beautiful rendition of the hard-rocking band’s third official album, 1989’s 11. They opened the show with some early footage of the band performing and an introduction by Sid Bernstein, who brought the Beatles to Shea Stadium and who’s been a huge supporter of the Smithereens.

The band also played some of its superb cover of The Who’s Tommy, in anticipation of its participation in the March 2 Carnegie Hall tribute to The Who, in which The Smithereens have been invited to participate.

Dennis Diken keeps the beat.

Yes, this really is Pat DiNizio in the early days of The Smithereens.

The Smithereens have a great time.

Care Bears on Fire playing Nassau Coliseum

Care Bears on Fire, Izzy, Sophie and Jena (from left) rock Cake Shop on Saturday afternoon. (Photos copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)

Amazingly fun teen pop-punkers Care Bears on Fire pulled together the second in their series of Saturday afternoon showcases on Feb. 6 at Cake Shop on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The tiny basement club is a perfect place for the girls to work on their sound and snarl in front of hardcore fans and with little to distract them from the music.

Things will be very differen this Saturday, when CBoF is on the Pop-Con bill at Nassau Coliseum opening for riot-inducing kiddie pop star Justin Bieber. Saturday’s show is probably one for parents to drop off their children and pick them up later. It’s not the kind of show that even I, a hardcore CBoF fan, will probably be able to tolerate. But it’s a great opportunity for the high-energy trio. And you can catch their next Let Them Eat Cake show at Cake Shop, 152 Ludlow St., on the Lower East Side on Saturday, March 6.

Check out more photos of the Cake Shop show and the other bands that performed at the showcase to benefit Haiti after the jump. Continue reading

Stew sez: The Negro Problem is touring this fall!

Stew and Heidi perform as The Broadway Problem at Lincoln Center Out of Doors last summer. (Copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)

Deep in his critique of the New York Magazine‘s piece about his upcoming show Making It, composer and bon vivant Stew lets drop a little bomb that is sure to please his fans, especially those outside of New York City: “The Negro Problem will be on tour this Fall.”

Stew, is that a promise? Or a tease? Let’s hope it’s the former.

Some form of The Negro Problem —  with Stew and Heidi Rodewald at the core but under names like The Broadway Problem — has played around NYC in the last year. But fans elsewhere have had to rely on the movie version of Passing Strange (on the big screen, on PBS, On Deman, or on DVD) to get anything resembling a TNP fix. So this is nothing but good news.

More on Making It, which begins its six-show run at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Dumbo, Brooklyn on Feb. 17, will follow. I just wanted to get this tidbit on the table.