Fast Forward Austin is run by three Austin ex-pats who know what the town is all about and who keep that in mind when putting this annual circus together.
Willie Nelson and Lyle Lovett have been honored as the Official Texas State Musician of the Year in the past, but last year’s honoree was Conspirare founder and artistic director Craig Hella Johnson. There’s a very good reason for that.
Providing great performances and cultural snapshots of Austin then and now, Copland and Mexico and Brooklyn Rider gave us an inside look into where we’ve been and where we’re going.
Two Big Apple bookends operating outside of the SXSW machine served to salvage an otherwise lost Spring Break. Jace Clayton was joined by narrator/singer Arooj Aftab and pianists David Friend and Emily Manzo to perform The Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner, while Brooklyn Rider played the first of two shows of their ten-day residency with Texas Performing Arts.
The No Idea Festival started its second decade of improvisation with six shows over a four-day period in Austin and San Antonio. Founder Chris Cogburn assembled another amazing collection of performers this year, drawn from across the country as well as Mexico.
While his background is as academically rigorous as it could possibly be, Tod Machover’s compositional work, as well as his instrument and software design, leans in a direction that can certainly be described as approachable to a broad audience. This was on display in the recent production of his Pulitzer-nominated opera Death and the Powers by The Dallas Opera.
Aperio curates concerts that one night might feature contemporary chamber music from the U.S. (like the one I attended last weekend) and focus on the music of Nicaragua the next. The change in focus from one region to the next over the course of a season helps Aperio track and understand trends on this side of the pond as distinct from concert series that include European repertoire.
Three very different albums showed up on my desk recently, and the wildly varied music reminded me of what NewMusicBox is all about: exploding the idea that contemporary American music is any one thing.
Kevin Puts’s new work, How Wild the Sea, premiered in Austin by the Miro String Quartet and the University of Texas Symphony Orchestra. And Los Angeles-based composers Sepand Shahab, Colin Wambsgans, and Michael Winter battle fierce winter weather to bring their own music to a small Austin club.
Put down that taco, Austinites! Whether it’s a delicate touch with nail and flesh or vicious pick scrapes run through seven stompboxes, there are whole worlds of great sounds being created by guitarists you’ve never heard of…yet.