Tag Archives: Merkin Concert Hall

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.

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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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.