Tag Archives: Michael Gordon

Kronos Quartet’s rare NYC club appearance at (Le) Poisson Rouge

 

David Harrington of Kronos Quartet at New York nightclub (Le) Poisson Rouge on Oct. 8, 2010. (Photos copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

 

Groundbreaking ensemble sells out two nights at Greenwich Village nightspot

Kronos Quartet can and does regularly fill huge auditoriums for its programs. But for its latest appearance in New York City, the ensemble picked Greenwich Village’s (Le) Poisson Rouge, arguably the most welcoming venue for New Music New York City.

 

Kronos Quartet's cellist, Jeffrey Zeigler.

 

Kronos’ two-night program included a slew of premieres and put the spotlight on many New York-based composers and collaborators, including the super-talented young composer Missy Mazzoli (founder of the hot electroacoustic chamber ensemble Victoire), Bang on a Can founder Michael Gordon, guitarist Bryce Dessner of the bands Clogs and The National (formed in Cincinnatti but now based in Brooklyn) and the Young Peoples Chorus of New York City.

The 37-year-old, San Francisco-based qua
rtet  — David Harrington and John Sherba on violins, Hank Dutt on viola and Jeffrey Zeigler on cello — played a spirited set to a packed house on Friday evening, Oct. 8. The second installment is tonight, Saturday, Oct. 9, when Kronos offers a completely different program.

 

 

At the Friday show, Kronos kicked off with Dessner’s Aheym (Homeward), which he wrote for Kronos. Mazzoli’s lovely, lyrical Harp and Altar, also composed for Kronos, followed.

The first world premiere of the evening was Aleksandra Vrebalov‘s spell no. 4, for a changing world.

But the most stunning performance moments of the evening came next, when Kronos introduced the Young Peoples Chorus, founded and conducted by Francisco Nuñez. The youngsters entered from the darkened sides of the room shrieking and howling the vocal parts of Terry Riley‘s Another Secret eQuation, which he wrote for Kronos and had its world premiere at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall in March.

 

Composer Michael Gordon cheers the Young Peoples Chorus of New York City, with John Sherba and David Harrington of Kronos Quartet.

 

After a brief intermission, the Young Peoples Chorus rejoined Kronos for the world premiere of Gordon’s Exalted, an intensely emotional composition.

Click through to the jump for more words and photos about Kronos and collaborators. Continue reading
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Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? recommends…

Shows we think you should check out during the week of Oct. 3-9

Composer Julia Wolfe (Photo by Peter Serling)

The Music of Julia Wolfe at (Le) POISSON ROUGE

Julia Wolfe is a composer of rare talent. The Bang on a Can cofounder is able to write in a classical idiom for string quartet as easily as in a rock mode for percussion ensemble.

On Oct. 3, she’ll be presenting a sampling of her work, including Stronghold for eight double basses, the string quartet Dig Deep, and LAD for bagpipes.  at (Le) Poisson Rouge. Julia will be in the house to discuss her work.

Performers include JACK Quartet, Robert Black and the Hartt Bass Band, and piper Matthew Welch.

6:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 3. (Le) Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street, Manhattan. (212) 505-FISH (3474) $15. Tickets available here.

Kronos Quartet (Photo by Jay Blakesberg)

Kronos Quartet at (Le) Poisson Rouge

Kronos Quartet, the pioneering modern string quartet, make two rare club appearances in New York City this week.

On Friday and Saturday, Oct. 8 and 9, Kronos is appearing at (Le) Poisson Rouge.

The program for Oct. 8 includes the New York premiere of Maria Schneider‘s String Quartet No. 1, a world premiere by Aleksandra Vrebalov, the premiere of Bang on a Can cofounder Michael Gordon‘s Exalted with the Young People’s Chorus of New York City and works by Bryce Dessner and Missy Mazzoli. On Oct. 9 Kronos is joined by special guest vocalist Judith Berkson for several pieces. Also featured are Clouded Yellow by Gordon as well as works by Clint Mansell, J.G. Thirlwell, and Dan Visconti.

7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8. (Le) Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street, Manhattan. $25. Tickets available here.

Also 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9. Tickets available here.

Ólöf Arnalds at The Bell House in Brooklyn on March 24, 2010. (Photo by Steven P. Marsh)

Ólöf Arnalds at Joe’s pub

Ólöf Arnalds seemed to be an uncertain, nervous performer when we saw her at The Bell House in March. But the Icelandic singer-songwriter writes lovely songs and makes delicately beautiful records.

We’re hoping she’ll be more confident when she stops in at Joe’s Pub,

9:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 9. Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette Street, Manhattan. $15. Click here or call (212) 967-7555 for tickets and more information.

12 hours of free music at the Bang on a Can Marathon

The World Financial Center Winter Garden was packed for last year's Bang on a Can Marathon. (Photo copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)

Every year, the Bang on a Can Marathon brings a wide range of new music and spectacular performers to New York City to perform in a massive free concert — and this year is no exception. The Marathon is coming up in just two weeks, from noon to midnight on Sunday, June 27, at the World Financial Center Winter Garden at 220 Vesey Street in Lower Manhattan.

Burkina Electric, an African band organized by composer Lukas Ligeti (second from right) is just one of the great acts at the Bang on a Can Marathon.

This year’s program will, as always, feature Bang on a Can’s house band, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, and a host of other great acts, including Living Colour’s eclectic guitarist Vernon Reid, African band Burkina Electric, John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, Signal ensemble and Gamelan Galak Tika.

Bang on a Can has been presenting these marathons since 1987 at various locations around NYC. Since moving to the WFC, thanks to the generosity of co-presenter Arts World Financial Center and the River to River festival, admission has been free. The Marathon turns the Winter Garden into a big, 12-hour party, with people coming and going and the mood shifting with the performers and the changing natural light pouring through the glass walls.

Click here to check out photos and coverage of last year’s Marathon by Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone?

Click to the jump for the full list of performers and schedule.

Continue reading

A stairway to purgatory

The dancers of [purtgatorio] POPOPERA in dress rehearsal at the Joyce Theater. (AFP photo)

Vocalist Michaela Riener, center, and two dancers in a dress rehearsal at the Joyce Theater. (AFP photo)

I couldn’t help but think of Led Zeppelin as the score Michael Gordon wrote for Emio Greco | PC‘s dance piece [purgatorio] POPOPERA unspooled at the Joyce Theater last night. Michael, one of the three founders of the Bang on a Can new-music organization, is very much a product of rock and roll, and his compositions are heavily influenced by a rock aesthetic, in this case Zep.

Dance is not my favorite form of performance, but the prospect of hearing interesting and provocative music keeps drawing me into the dance theater. I’ve sat through many mystifying dances just to hear the music.

But [purgatorio] POPOPERA was a pleasant surprise. Emio Greco‘s choreography and the dancing were as inspired — and inspiring — as the music. That seems to stem from the fact that the work is a total collaboration between the visual and the aural, as Michael uses the dancers as the band, making them play the score on electric guitars while dancing. Continue reading

Steve Reich at MASS MoCA

Composers David Lang and Steve Reich at MASS MoCA on Saturday, July 25. (Copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)

Composers David Lang and Steve Reich discuss the life and work of artist Sol Lewitt, whose wall drawings are the subject of a retrospective at MASS MoCA. (Copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)

Every summer for eight years running, a New England museum of contemporary art becomes a museum of contemporary sound for a couple of weeks when Bang on a Can moves in.

This year’s festival started July 14 when NYC-based Bang on a Can’s founders Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe and David Lang, plus staff, and a crew of teachers joined  35 young musicians and composers at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams, Mass.

While there, the students, called fellows, spend their days working with faculty members — some of the best players, conductors and composers on the contemporary music scene today — and preparing music for two gallery recitals a day over the course of the 2 1/2 week program. It’s a musical boot camp, where the boundaries between work and play are happily blurred as participants flow from gallery recitals to concerts to informal jam sessions at working-class town taverns.

Every year, the festival also eatures a major figure from the contemporary music scene as special guest, an artist who typically interacts with the fellows and often plays with them onstage.

Performing Music for Pieces of Wood while the composer looks on.

Performing Music for Pieces of Wood in a gallery adjacent to the Sol Lewitt exhbit while the composer looks on.

This year’s festival is a little different. Steve Reich, a master of minimalism, who, like Meredith Monk, Don Byron, and Terry Riley, has been in a guest artists at previous Bang on a Can summer festivals, is more  featured artist. He made an appearance on Saturday, July 25, to reminisce about his friendship with the late Sol Lewitt, whose wall drawings are the subject of a massive retrospective show at the museum.

Sol Lewitt turned to bright colors in his later wall drawings, like these on the third floor of the MASS MoCA exhibit.

Sol Lewitt turned to bright colors in his later wall drawings, like these on the third floor of the MASS MoCA exhibit.

Reich was also feted with performances of his music in the gallery and the courtyard of the museum and in a more formal way with an evening concert including one of his best-known works, Music for 18 Musicians, and one of his toughest, Eight Lines.

Reich and wife Beryl Korot listen to David Cossin play drums.

Reich and wife Beryl Korot listen to a percussion performance in the MASS MoCA courtyard.

It was a splendid day, with lost of spirited playing. Reich looked quite pleased with the results, and I was thrilled to see the black box theater packed for the evening performance.

Bang on a Can’s rendition of Music for 18 Musicians (which actually involved 19 musicians in this particular presentation) was played well and with emotionally satisfying results. Eight Lines, written for eight players, but performed herre in a version for 16, came together well. It was a testament to the professionalism and dedication of the players that they were able to pull together a credible performance of the difficult piece in less than two weeks.

If you haven’t checked out MASS MoCA yet, I urge you to do it. The museum is spectacular and the art changes dramatically from year to year. And Bang on a Can’s festival, dubbed Banglewood as a play on the much more conventional Tanglewood Music Festival nearby, will open your eyes and ears.

The crowning achievement of each summer’s festival is the marathon. This year’s six-hour marathon runs from 4-10 p.m. this Saturday, Aug. 1, in the Hunter Center at MASS MoCA. It will feature a host of works, including George Antheil’s Ballet Mechanique and Shaker Loops, one of John Adams‘ early works. Tickets are available by clicking here. $24.