I do, on occasion, enjoy putting on a coordinated outfit and drinking from something with a stem prior to my fiddle intake, but for me this is more of a Thanksgiving/Presidents’ Day once-a-year deal than a monthly water bill situation. For my regular listening, I prefer smaller, less formal venues, and fortunately I’m not alone.
Vessel, a recent concert presented by the Convergence Vocal Ensemble, featured an evening of commissions for four voices combined with a variety of instrumental combinations, including new instruments created specifically for this event. But what was that air compressor for?
Doing anything in Austin in the summer can be a bit of a drag, but checking out week after week of top notch chamber players is a pretty spectacular way to pass the time. This annual three-week festival has developed over the years by taking its broad and general title quite literally. It’s not summer classics, new music, or jazz; it’s all that and more.
Written over several years in the late ’60s and early ’70s, Cornelius Cardew’s The Great Learning was performed over two evenings by the Austin New Music Coop in the spring of 2011. Terabytes of high definition audio and video were recorded during those performances, excerpts of which appear throughout this podcast.
San Antonio has a vibrant musical community, and the chamber ensemble Soli is among the strongest proponents of new music in the region. Formed in 1994, Soli has commissioned 17 works in as many years, including the May 8 world premiere of Steven Mackey’s Prelude to the End.
Curated by Matthew Teodori, the recent festival Perspective: Xenakis featured local, national, and international performers and scholars plying their wares around Austin.
Videos preceded each piece on the Austin Symphony Orchestra’s second annual Texas Young Composers Concert program. They provided not only information about the background of the composer and the generation of the work, but also insight into the maturity and character of each artist.
Ian Dicke, Robert Honstein, and Steven Snowden upped the ante at this year’s Fast Forward Austin festival by tripling the call for scores winners, bringing in a headliner, and moving to a big, multilevel venue near downtown complete with a bar, soundman, and a dude who stamps your hand.
Austin choral ensemble Conspirare recently received a leadership gift of $1 million from the Kodosky Foundation towards their $2.2 million “A Legacy of Sound” major gifts campaign. This five-year fundraising initiative coincides with Conspirare’s 20th anniversary season in 2012-13.
Austin is still a relatively small city, but the ease with which one can find a last-minute replacement for that “contrabassoonist who also owns his own unicycle” part is impressive, and it’s this high concentration of strong, adventurous players coupled with a titanic work ethic that has allowed ANMC to flourish in the last ten years.