No matter how you slice it, overseeing the development of an opera seems a lot like marshaling forces for the invasion of a small country. Hagen’s recently performed (a fully-staged, “pre-professional” workshop) full-length “opera noir,” A Woman in Morocco is no exception.
What happens when musicians are asked to play from a page of notation that is not standard? How do they approach it? Curator Steve Parker’s latest installment in his SoundSpace series at the Blanton Museum featured several hours of folks doing just that.
The irony of intimacy found in a giant old warehouse is not lost on me, but the cordoning off of spaces within these huge buildings makes for a very personal and connected chamber music experience.
When considering new directions in music education, examining how students are taught is important, but so to is developing ways to reach students who otherwise might not have the opportunity at all. Through El Sistema, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan musicians have been educated over the past three decades; El Sistema USA is now providing ensemble music lessons to thousands of underserved students throughout the US as well.
Born and raised in Austin, Travis Weller came up playing violin and listening to all sorts of music, eventually gravitating to sounds and instruments that were well outside the norm. We’ve talked about composition, performance, and curation, but I’d never taken the time to speak with him about the instruments he builds. To remedy that, we sat down and talked about three of his creations: The Owl, The Skiffs, and The Steel Bells.
The conference is among the old guard of summer composer institutes and will celebrate its 70th anniversary next summer. Headed by Mario Davidovsky for nearly 40 years, the primary goal of the conference is to provide emerging composers with an opportunity to work with some of the best players from New York and Boston and to have their works performed and professionally recorded.
Austin Chamber Music Center has been around for decades—long enough to have existed when the governor was a Democrat, SXSW was a baby, and Austin was just a gleam in marketers’ eyes. Its summer festival is more recent, and the inclusion and promotion of new music even more so.
The allure of Austin (like many places I suppose) is partly genuine and partly manufactured. Spending a few days at the New Media Art and Sound Summit and the REVEL Summer Solstice Festival might be all it takes to renew one’s faith in this live, weird town.
A few months after seeing the potential of the guitar/percussion duo during the Living Earth Show this past spring, I stopped in to hear Houston’s Liminal Space present a concert that included two commissioned premiers.
Taking a page from the “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” book, Stephen Lias has figured out a way to combine his love of composition and pedagogy with his love of trail-blazing and bear-dodging with his Composing in the Wilderness project.