Author Archives: Andrew Sigler

Keep Dallas Wired: The Dallas Opera Plugs Into Death and the Powers

Hal Cazalet as Nicholas in Tod Machover's Death and the Powers

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: Indie-A-Go-Go

Aperio

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.

All Venues Great and Small

Kevin Puts

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.

Other Guitars

Les Freres Meduses

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.

It Takes a Village: Daron Hagen’s A Woman in Morocco

Natalie Cummings and Samantha Liebowitz

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.

SoundSpace: Graphic Notation

Tom Echols performs Cornelius Cardew’s Treatise Photo by Steve Sachse

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.

Double Trio: line upon line and Konk Pack

The three-station setup for Kate Soper’s In the Reign of Harad IV

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.

Austin Soundwaves: A Challenge Like Nothing Else

Austin Soundwaves rehearsal

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.

The Travis Weller Instrumentarium

The Bells with contact mics and mixer

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.