Tag Archives: Ecstatic Music Festival

Ecstatic Music Festival brings together 5 musicians in a unique collaboration

Ecstatic_Music_Festival_2

It’s hard to believe that the 2014 edition of the Ecstatic Music Festival is nearly over. I suppose it’s because I haven’t been able to get to most of the shows in the festival, which kicked off Jan. 31 and ends this Saturday, March 29.

Two shows remain this year: Wednesday’s bill featuring So Percussion and Buke & Gase, and Saturday’s program with Man Forever and William Basinski. Both shows start at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are a reasonable $25, but if you attend both shows, you can get in for $20 apiece. Click here to buy tickets online, or visit the Merkin Concert Hall box office at 129 West 67th Street in Manhattan.

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Bang on a Can introduces new compositions at the Peoples Commissioning Fund concert

See what a little cash from a lot of people can do

While we’re generally ecstatic about New Amsterdam Records’ Ecstatic Music Festival, we’re particularly psyched about the latest installment of Bang on a Can’s long-running Peoples Commissioning Fund concert series.

It’s slated for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 14, at Merkin Concert Hall in Manhattan.

The contemporary classical organization since 1997 has been collecting contributions, mostly small, from lots and lots of music lovers (that’s the “Peoples” part), aggregating them (the “Fund” part), and using them to commission (the Commissioning part) new work from composers new and established.

Bang on a Can calls this “a radical partnership between artists and audiences” that uses crowd-sourcing to fund new work. While the idea probably never was unique to Bang on a Can , it no doubt opened the door to other funding machines, such as Kickstarter and PledgeMusic.

The concept shatters the longstanding model of big-bucks patrons fueling the production of new work. This crowd-sourcing concept, which predates the social media boom, has raised almost $300,000 since its inception and made it possible for Bang on a Can to help in create more than 50 new works. Continue reading

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.

The Mountain Goats and Anonymous 4 bridge the centuries at Merkin Concert Hall

Anonymous four and John Darnielle, right, of the Mountain Goats at Merkin Concert Hall

UPDATE: Audio link to full concert added

Hear the full concert by clicking here.

Who knew John Darnielle had a secret wish to work with Anonymous 4, the a cappella quartet that specializes in music of the 12th through 15th centuries? The Ecstatic Music Festival, created by New Amsterdam RecordsJudd Greenstein, gave him a shot, and the result was Transcendental Youth, a song cycle presented Saturday,  March 24, at Merkin Concert Hall.

Darnielle, the writer and singer who performs as the Mountain Goats (and for this evening, he was the lone Goat) got the “why” question out of the way first.
As he was getting ready to finish college, his dad gave him a gift — a CD of A4’s 1993 An English Ladymass— an intense listen, he said, and one he returned to over and over as he coped with the more mundane stresses of completing two thesis papers (in English and Classics).

The Mountain Goats set list is after the jump.

John Darnielle (Photo © 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

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Musical ecstasy: Ecstatic Music Festival starts tonight

John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats. (Photo © 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

John Darnielle's band The Mountain Goats is one of the great acts in this year's Ecstatic Music Festival lineup. (Photo © 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Friends have been asking for recommendations on what shows to check out in the second annual Ecstatic Music Festival at Merkin Concert Hall.

Sxip Shirey (© 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

The two-month festival, put together by Judd Greenstein and New Amsterdam Presents, an arm of the innovative New Amsterdam Records label, is an absolute must. It’s so chock full of great artist pairings that it’s tough to pick just one or two. Last year’s festival was strong, and the lineup this year looks even stronger. And ticket sales seem to reflect that, given that some of the shows have been sold out for awhile.

But some shows are still available, and tickets are around even for the sold-out gigs.

There’s one I’m really looking forward to is the Saturday, March 24 bill featuring The Mountain Goats, the homemade indie-rock project of John Darnielle, paired with the early music vocal quartet Anonymous Four. We’re not sure how this one will play out, but both groups are so good at what they do, and so genre-busting, that it should be remarkable.

Todd Reynolds (Photo © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

Another highlight early in the festival is the amazingly indescribable music-maker Sxip Shirey and Angélica Negrón, with special guests electro-violinist Todd Reynolds, Noveller, Jonny Rodgers& Face the Music on Tuesday, Feb. 7.

And we don’t mean to give tonight’s opening show short shrift, but we have to think tickets for this one evaporated in seconds: Jherek Bischoff and the Wordless Music Orchestra, with special guests David Byrne, Craig Wedren, Greg Saunier, Mirah, Zac Pennington, and more. But if you’re willing to try to score a ticket, we’re sure it’ll be worthwhile!

For the full schedule, click through to the jump for the festival press release, courtesy of our pal, New Amsterdam publicist Jill Strominger.

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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