During the heyday of the laterna, an early mechanical musical instrument popular in Greece in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, playing instrumental music and singing were gradually being supplanted by gramophones and radios in most households. It was the beginning of on-demand home listening and drastically reduced the amount of amateur at-home music making.
As if to assuage my soul’s re-awakening sense of being pilloried by life in the Big Apple (something I forgot I had become used to while I was on the Left Coast), I heard a husky and familiar voice on my radio singing Vincent Youmans’s “Sometimes I’m Happy.” I searched my memory, but couldn’t come up with a name to attach to the voice.
As someone who both creates and teaches for a living, I find myself in a continual and simultaneous state of reflection on the past and projection towards the future. I’m curious: How do you “stay the course” in your own career and life?
Virtuosity is not what a public sing is about; rather, it’s about having fun with a piece of music that you love. Might such an enterprise be possible with new music?
The parallels between the emergence of cable television and contemporary music-focused chamber ensembles are numerous. Both are definitely creating new paradigms within their disciplines. However, both fields still experience significant challenges.
Improvising with complete strangers is really hard, and playing music isn’t always about having a good time. I have found that having fun while playing is a perk, and not a necessity to playing good music. And it should be emphasized that not having fun isn’t a reflection on the people one is playing with—it’s about how one feels at the moment.
The metaphor of “submission” as my ideal audience intake position has now reached a whole new level for me. Last week, for the John La Bouchardière production of Lera Auerbach’s opera The Blind I attended at Lincoln Center, the entire audience is required to be blindfolded.
It was understood by anyone who called on the services of jazz bassist Chuck Metcalf (1931-2002) that he would go the extra mile. Part of that effort included organizing sessions, gigs, and recording dates; in a word, Chuck was a leader. But he led from the back of the band.
Two seemingly unrelated events over the past week—a fire and a conversation—have demonstrated to me the power of support and encouragement from those around you.
I don’t exactly need to point out that Milktape is a preposterous rip-off; savvy consumers could purchase a 20 GB flash drive off of eBay or from discount retailers for about the same price.