We musicians know that silence is as precious as sound itself. But we also, like most human beings, fear the idea of a long silence. Is it safe—is it even possible—to pause our perpetual inner soundtrack and be truly alone with our chaotic thoughts, our chaotic selves?
Multimedia is a provocative tool to combat conformity, but hardly a foolproof one. Filmmaker/sound artist Ben Russell and musician Robert A. A. Lowe (a.k.a. Lichens) presented a joint show at Cambridge’s Middlesex Lounge, and that tension in the multimedia concept proved to be a running theme.
Two Big Apple bookends operating outside of the SXSW machine served to salvage an otherwise lost Spring Break. Jace Clayton was joined by narrator/singer Arooj Aftab and pianists David Friend and Emily Manzo to perform The Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner, while Brooklyn Rider played the first of two shows of their ten-day residency with Texas Performing Arts.
The Piano Spheres concert series, a Los Angeles institution dedicated to expanding the repertoire for the instrument, was a risky proposition at first. But the LA new music community has changed in the past 20 years, and the series has evolved right along side it.
The No Idea Festival started its second decade of improvisation with six shows over a four-day period in Austin and San Antonio. Founder Chris Cogburn assembled another amazing collection of performers this year, drawn from across the country as well as Mexico.
The idea that 21st-century new music is stylistically agnostic might be somewhere between a truism and an extrapolation, but Boston’s Equilibrium Concert Series actually comes pretty close to that ideal.
While his background is as academically rigorous as it could possibly be, Tod Machover’s compositional work, as well as his instrument and software design, leans in a direction that can certainly be described as approachable to a broad audience. This was on display in the recent production of his Pulitzer-nominated opera Death and the Powers by The Dallas Opera.
The Boston Symphony Chamber Players are celebrating their 50th anniversary with five premieres, nearly doubling the group’s commissioned repertoire all at once. The four new pieces on the February 9 concert were deliberately local.
Valentine’s Day is here, and for contemporary music enthusiasts, it can be hard to compile the proper playlist. From openhearted to kinky, we’ve got some pretty wide-ranging ideas of what romance is. Without further ado, here’s your 2014 playlist of avant-garde baby-makin’ music.
Aperio curates concerts that one night might feature contemporary chamber music from the U.S. (like the one I attended last weekend) and focus on the music of Nicaragua the next. The change in focus from one region to the next over the course of a season helps Aperio track and understand trends on this side of the pond as distinct from concert series that include European repertoire.