Ah, Thanksgiving: a holiday as rich in calories as it is in cultural significance. What’s the proper soundtrack for a day that means so many different things? Why not canvas the work of Chicago composers for music that’s as complex as Turkey Day?
It was Open House Chicago this weekend. Open House is, apparently, a worldwide celebratory architectural free-for-all phenomenon that started in London. But I’ve only ever experienced it in Chicago. Here, it usually falls in late October, when each rainstorm is a tender rite of passage that strips the city of a bit more color.
I asked my friend and colleague Andrew Tham to join me in attempting to create a new kind of concert review: one that embraced, rather than attempted to deny, our subjectivity; one that could be a bit rough around the edges. What follows is the story of our experience of the Chicago Wandelweiser Festival.
A 60-minute tour de force, performed completely from memory and without pause, Colombine’s Paradise Theatre is a stunning display of physical and musical virtuosity on the part of its performers.
For composer and sound artist Ryan Ingebritsen, Song Path is a practice that explores guided meditation and hiking as a compositional form. Ellen McSweeney caught up with him to chat about what it means for a primarily electronic artist to lead troupes of people through the woods.
Is there a mess on the desk? Evidence of vice or obsession? A disruptive cat or two? Billie Jean Howard’s blog By Measure offers the voyeuristic pleasure of vicariously poking around another artist’s home.
Why were we silent for nine months as we awaited sums of money that, to us, make or break our ability to pay the rent? For me, the story of the Beethoven Festival is a story of vulnerability: my own individual vulnerability, that of my colleagues, and that of our entire musical community.
Sam Scranton’s Detritivore is an evening-length ensemble work that is both theatrical and restrained, simultaneously epic and intimate, and was so absorbing that I could not write about it without participating in the reverberations of the piece itself.
Matt Pakulski, the founder of new Chicago record label FPE, discusses his wide-ranging tastes, his approach to the curation and creation of musical objects, and the label’s first release—an album from Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble.
For her most recent commissioning project, composer and pianist Joann Cho invited a large group of composers to write a solo piano piece for her and asked them to write their piece “for children.”