Brad Lubman conducts Signal with Michael Riesman. (Photos copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)
Signal, the stunning young contemporary chamber ensemble, did a great job performing some of the works of Philip Glass at Manhattan’s (Le) Poisson Rouge on Sunday evening. They gave the New York premiere of Glassworks, the 1981 suite that in a recorded version became ubiquitous to the point of absurdity in its day as it seemed to be on everyone’s cassette Walkman during that time. Other works performed included Music in Similar Motion and selections from the opera La Belle et la Bête and Anima Mundi.
Michael Riesman, longtime keyboardist and musical director for the Philip Glass Ensemble joined Signal for Sunday’s two shows, and made new arrangements of some of the works.
Sadly, Glass himself did not show up for the early show, which many fans hoped would happen. But the heavy-lidded senior statesmen of minimalism did make it to the second set, to the apparent delight of that audience.
If the smash Broadway musical Fela! gave you the itch to hear more Afrobeat music, Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing lineup for this summer, announced today, will help you scratch it. Fela Kuti’s son Femi and his band Positive Force are scheduled to perform on July 12, with a a lesson in how to dance to the driving African beat taught by Maija Garcia, associate choreographer of the musical and a DJ set by Sahr Ngaujah, the actor who created the title role in Fela!
And if Afrobeat’s not your cup of tea, there are plenty of other styles of music and dance on offer during the 15 nights of performances at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park.
The cutting-edge programming by Lincoln Center Director of Public Programming Bill Bragin features the New York debuts of four bands: narcotango from Argentina, The Time Jumpers from Nashville, New Orleans’ Moonshiners, and Salsa Band La-33 from Columbia.
Bragin says: “The series offers an array of dance music styles including salsa, swing, disco, and tango. For the first time this summer we are presenting a night of bhangra, the frenetic, hypnotic dance music from India by way of London and New York. Famed DJ Rekha will spin bhangra and Bollywood beats with her special guest Red Baraat for a dance party like no other on July 8th. Another highlight will be an appearance by Femi Kuti & Positive Force on July 12th. Kuti, the son of Fela Anikulapo Kuti of FELA! on Broadway fame, extends the tradition with his contemporary Afrobeat sound.”
The shows start at 6:30 pm with a dance lesson, followed by live music and dancing from 7:30-10.
Tickets and passes are on sale now. Multi-evening Swing Passes are priced at $90 for six nights, and $160 for the full season. Tickets for individual evening events are $17.
The Swing box office is located in the lobby of Avery Fisher Hall, Broadway and 65th Street. Tickets for individual events and passes can be purchased in advance or on the night of the event at a box office in Damrosch Park. Tickets and passes can also be purchased through CenterCharge at (212) 721-6500, or online. Twitter users can follow Midsummer Night Swing @LCSwing for ongoing news and updates.
Adventurous Chicago-based band Wilco has announced it will curate and headline the new Solid Sound Festival, an independently promoted and ticketed festival of music, art and comedy for three days this summer — Aug. 13-15 — at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams, Mass. Early-bird tickets ($86.50 including fees and parking) will be available starting at 10 am ET tomorrow on the band’s web site.
Jeff Tweedy, center, and Wilco.
Wilco headlines the weekend, giving its only East Coast performance of the summer. Wilco side projects, including Glenn Kotche‘s On Fillmore, The Nels Cline Singers, The Autumn Defense featuring John Stirratt and Pat Sansone and Mikael Jorgensen‘s Pronto.
The Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA also will feature additional musical performances, a comedy stage, interactive installations and exhibits (including the Solid Sound Stompbox Station, an interactive guitar pedal exhibit created and demonstrated by Wilco guitarist Nels Cline, a concert-poster screening demonstration, planned workshops by luthiers and more), plus film, video installations and DJs.
The area is beautiful, with plenty of outdoor activities nearby as well as cultural attractions in Williamstown to the west.
Ticketholders will have full access to the spectacular MASS MoCA campus, which offers 150,000 square feet of galleries. MASS MoCA, a renovated 19th century textile mill, is the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the U.S. Art on display in the galleries during the festival includes the Sol LeWitt Retrospective, Inigo Manglano Ovalleʼs Gravity is a Force to be Reckoned with, Petah Coyneʼs Material World: Sculpture to Environment, Leonard Nimoyʼs Secret Selves and a new installation by Michael Oatman.
Stay tuned to Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? for more details as they become available.
Buy your tickets now, because the price will rise to $99.50 after June 1.
Lachenmann says he believes in “music which, in order to be grasped, does not require a privileged intellectual training, but can rely uniquely upon its compositional clarity and logic.”
The audience will have the rare chance to hear Lachenmann playing 2 of his solo piano works, and he will also be joining Signal as the spoken text soloist on one piece.
Additionally, cellist Lauren Radnofsky (Signal’s executive director) will be playing Pression, a wild 1969 piece for solo cello, The JACK Quartet (which includes violist John Pickford Richards, well known to New York audiences for his work with Alarm Will Sound) will be joining Signal in the ensemble and also performing his most difficult string quartet.
Here’s a video of Lachenmann speaking about his work:
And go to YouTube to see and hear Lachenmann playing his Wiegenmusick, which is on tonight’s program.
This is one of Signal’s biggest projects to date, and is expected to lead to a CD/surround sound DVD release.
It’s also a chance to hear the wonderfully flexible and talented Signal, directed by Brad Lubman, perform Lachenmann’s challenging compositions, which are somewhat different than its typical repertoire.
The program covers four decades of Lachenmann’s composing life with these pieces: Wiegenmusik for solo piano (1963), Pression for solo cello (1969-1970), Ein Kinderspiel for solo piano (1980), String Quartet No. 2 Reigen seliger Geister (1989) and …Zwei Gefühle… featuring Lachenmann himself as spoken-text soloist (1991-1992).
The evening will also include a discussion with Lachenmann and Yale professor Seth Brodsky. It should be an amazing evening of music.
Composer Portrait: Helmut Lachenmann, 8 pm tonight, Thursday, April 1, Miller Theatre, 116th St. & Broadway on the campus of Columbia University. Tickets $25, available online and at the door.