Field Reports

Postcard from Pittsburgh: Contemporary Chamber Music Thrives in the Steel City

A view of the Pittsburgh skyline at night

Pittsburgh has more going on in new music, and the arts in general, than you would expect for its size (around 300,000 people in the city, and 2.4 million in the metro area). This is due in part to a high density of universities with good music programs, but new music events aren’t confined to the academic year. When summer comes and many cities offer little in the way of classical music besides orchestral pops, Pittsburgh has more modern sounds than you can shake a 4th of July sparkler at.

Digital to Analog: Poems and Histories

Piano

What Andrew Pekler’s project and Vicky Chow’s recital had in common was that they both prompted consideration of a particular feature of technology: the technology you notice is almost always, at the same time, pushing another technology into the unnoticed background.

Meeting of New Music Minds at SF Gathering

Lavena Johanson in performance at the Gathering.

The inaugural New Music Gathering in San Francisco was proof in action that an environment that removes the problems of proximity, competition, and ego can generate an immense amount of collaboration, friendship, and growth.

Chicago: The Spektral Quartet goes to pieces (and rots)

Spektral Quartet

I can’t tell if the Spektral Quartet is getting bigger or smaller. At the quartet’s Saturday night concert, “Snowpocalypse Antidote,” I had the opportunity to reflect on “miniaturization” and the pleasure of small forms. They’re “doing small” in a very big way.

Chicago: A scavenger hunt of world premieres

openhouse13

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.

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