Category Archives: Contemporary Classical

Music for the End of the World (VIDEO)

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However we feel about what happened Tuesday, we all could use some decompression right about now.

What’s better than music for soothing the savage breast, after all?

There’s a perfect opportunity in Nyack, New York, at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov.13, when TRANSIT, a New Music collective, presents a program that includes a rare — for this 21st Century-oriented group — performance of Olivier Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time” at GraceMusic.

TRANSIT describes itself this way:

A New Music collective based in NYC, TRANSIT takes a comprehensive twenty-first century approach to new and experimental music by performing, commissioning, and recording the music of emerging composers, while also fostering strengthened relationships between living composers and the general public through TRANSIT-produced concert series and special initiatives.
TRANSIT’s members include a resident composer (Daniel Wohl) and five performers who are amongst the most vibrant young players in the NYC New Music scene. Its core ensemble consists of a mixed chamber
instrumentation: violin (Andie Springer), cello (Evelyn Farny), clarinet (Sara Budde), piano (David Friend), and percussion (Joe Bergen), and
often incorporates electronics, non-traditional instruments, and multimedia components.
TICKET INFO AND DETAILS AFTER THE JUMP

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Rockland County’s Martha Mooke performs music from ‘No Ordinary Window’ on Sunday

martha-mookeNyack composer and electro-acoustic violist Martha Mooke brings her spectacular sounds to ArtsRock‘s Music at Union Arts Center series this Sunday afternoon.

She’s a spectacular violist, and her compositions on her latest album, “No Ordinary Window,” are beautiful, boundary-busting windows into her own sonic imagination.

“I slip through the cracks of defined boundaries,” she told me in a recent interview.  “I keep re-creating my way…. I try to take on challenges.”

Read my recent interview with Mooke for The Journal News/lohud.com by going here, and then grab some tickets for Sunday afternoon’s show.

IF YOU GO

When:  2 p.m., Sunday, April 3.

Where: Union Arts Center, 2 Union St, Sparkill, New York

Tickets: $20 in advance/$25 at door/$10 students, available online by going here.

 

Glenn Kotche revisited: Spectaculs in concert with So Percussion

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Glenn Kotche

I have to confess that Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche‘s forays into New Music were beginning to rub me the wrong way.

Maybe it was the Delta faucet commercial that set me on edge. I can’t say for sure.

But it had begun to feel to me that he was trying far too hard to prove that he’s not just the drummer in one of the world’s best rock bands. He seemed to be crying out to be taken seriously as a percussionist with depth and breadth as well as great rock chops.

His most recent serious album, “Adventureland” (Cantaloupe Music, 2014), is well done and pleasant, but for some reason it never really grabbed me. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to appreciate it.

When I got the opportunity to attend a concert on Saturday in Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall the featured some of his work,  I decided to open my ears again.

I’m glad I did. Kotche’s work was a big part of what made the evening a spectacular musical event.

The evening opened with some older work — four selections from his 2011 Drumkit Quartets — performed by So Percussion (Eric Cha-Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, and Jason Treuting) alone.

So  Percussion clearly had an enormous amount of fun with the compositions. All of them featured a wide array of drums and myriad other percussion. The first, “Drumkit Quartet #50 (Leffinge, Chicago), kicked off with each member of the ensemble playing a hand-cranked siren, while the third, “Drumkit Quartet #51 (Tokyo, Brisbane, Berlin),” featured Japanese rock band Cibo Matto‘s Yuka Honda (who is married to Wilco guitarist Nels Cline) reciting haiku.

It’s no surprise that So  Percussion knew the pieces well, as the ensemble has recorded a “Drumkit Quartets” album due out Feb. 26 on Cantaloupe.

Kotche joined the ensemble for the world premiere of “Migrations,” a Carnegie Hall commission, that testified dramatically to Kotche’s admiration for minimalist composer Steve Reich with rhythms playfully produced on marimbas struck with fingertips and combs.

A hard-driving “Drumkit Quartet #1,” featuring a strobe-like animated film by Patrick Burns, closed the Kotche section of the show in memorable fashion.

The evening also featured a short piece by composer Steven Mackey, “Before It Is Time,” sung by Shara Worden, a performer and composer who works in rock and New Music like Kotche. (She performs in the rock world as My Brightest Diamond), in its New York premiere.

A 45-minute Worden song cycle, “Timeline” — commissioned jointly by Carnegie Hall and the University of Texas at Austin — closed out the evening. Worden sang and, at times played the guitar, a distracting move that took the focus off of the rhythms and interesting tonal qualities of the percussion, which included a mean steel drum number played by Quillen.

 

Get a taste of Nyack violoist Martha Mooke’s new CD, ‘No Ordinary Window,’ with brunch this Sunday

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Pioneering composer and electro-acoustic violist Martha Mooke of Nyack at the Art Cafe in Nyack on Nov. 17, 2015. (Photo: Peter Carr/The Journal News)

Veteran electro-acoustic violist Martha Mooke is unleashing her new CD on the world with a brunch and concert on Sunday, Jan. 13, at Manhattan’s Cutting Room.

She’s no ordinary violist, so it’s fitting that her new disc, with its beautifully rhythmic, meditative tunes that open windows that offer a peek at the sonic world of her imagination, is titled “No Ordinary Window.”

“I slip through the cracks of defined boundaries,” she says. “I keep re-creating my way…. I try to take on challenges.”

I had a chance to spend an hour talking with Mooke about the project, her career, and her life in Nyack.

Click here to read the full interview I wrote for The Journal News/lohud.com.

And be sure to check out her live performance on Sunday.

IF YOU GO

When: Sunday, Dec. 13. Doors at 11:30 a.m., show at 1 p.m.

Where: The Cutting Room 44 E. 32nd St., Manhattan, thecuttingroomnyc.com/.

Tickets: $30, including brunch, concert, and cocktail. Available online at Ticketfly by clicking here.

 

Mother Falcon will fly into your heart, head and ears

Mother Falcon onstage at Brooklyn's Littlefield on Tuesday, June 24, 2014. (Photos © 2014, Steven P, Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Mother Falcon onstage at Brooklyn’s Littlefield on Tuesday, June 24, 2014. (© 2014, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Violinist Todd Reynolds to be guest on the orchestral pop band’s ‘Symphonic Sundays With Mother Falcon’ program at Joe’s Pub this Sunday

I’ll admit that I’m a little late to the party where Mother Falcon is concerned.

But I knew I’d fall in the love the minute I started checking out the orchestral pop band’s music on the recommendation of a friend — somebody who’s more often asking me for bands to check out.

Mother Falcon (Nick Gregg on mandolin) onstage at Brooklyn's Littlefield on Tuesday, June 24, 2014. (Photos © 2014, Steven P, Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Mother Falcon (Nick Gregg on mandolin) onstage at Brooklyn’s Littlefield on Tuesday, June 24, 2014. (© 2014, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

It didn’t take long for the upbeat, passionate sound to reel me right in.

But I learned at Littlefield in North Slope, Brooklyn, last night that their recordings pale in comparison to their live performances. There were 12 members of Mother Falcon (the band, always big, varies in number as I understand it) on Littlefield’s generous stage. Every one of the players obviously put heart and soul into the set. Continue reading

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.

 

Julia Wolfe’s ‘Anthracite Fields’ takes coal mining personally

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It’s hard to believe that the Bang on a Can All -Stars haven’t performed on a New York Philharmonic bill before.

But Friday night’s New York premiere of a work by Bang on a Can cofounder Julia Wolfe was the stellar New Music sextet’s debut.

And what a way to start!

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