Posts in Field Reports
Aside from the spectacular content, these shows illustrated (to me at least) the impact of the venue and how spaces shape the experience and help guide the audience.
What’s the role of the writer—or, more ominously, the critic—in today’s musical ecosystem? Does anyone even read concert reviews anymore? In this series of interviews, I’m going straight to the source—music critics themselves—to find out why they do what they do.
Kezar Pavilion was an atypical but fitting venue for the West Coast premiere of David Lang’s battle hymns, a large-scale reflection on war.
The goals of Fast Forward Austin are to provide a forum for local and national performers of new music, to explore new performance spaces, and to enhance educational opportunities for underserved communities. With a pentient for variety and an eye on the visual, this year’s show built on past accomplishments and added a half dozen commissions to boot.
Not surprisingly, Paul Fromm made the production of new music into something resembling the wine business. He took the same approach to music that he did to wine: cultivate relationships with the producers, invest up front, and endeavor to get the subsequent delivery, whatever the quality of the vintage, into the marketplace.
Music is at once the most anti-social and social of the arts, the solitary pursuit of proficiency—practice, composition, study—only manifested in extroverted gestures directed towards and among collaborators and audience. Trust and generosity are, in music, not really sentimental qualities. They’re the currency, the supply chain, the raw materials.
Each of Jonathan Berger’s two chamber operas, Theotokia and The War Reporter, explores the interior psyche of men haunted by voices, presenting an expansive psychological inquiry in addition to a contained musical experience.
Created by composer and percussionist Nick Hennies, electro-acoustic musician/visual artist Sean O’Neill, and designer/UT lecturer Clay Odom, CLOTS is performed in a museum-like environment in which the audience members can move throughout the space and spend whatever amount of time they like experiencing the art.
You never know exactly what you’ll encounter when you walk into the annual Switchboard Music Festival, a gleefully eclectic eight-hour extravaganza at the Brava Theater consisting of music that avoids easy characterization.
Old First Concerts, a series founded in 1970 in a Presbyterian church in San Francisco, presented two exceptional young chamber ensembles performing contemporary music in late March. Both concerts demonstrated O1C’s commitment to emerging and mid-career artists who are exploring non-standard repertoire.