Field Reports

It Takes a Village: Daron Hagen’s A Woman in Morocco

Natalie Cummings and Samantha Liebowitz

No matter how you slice it, overseeing the development of an opera seems a lot like marshaling forces for the invasion of a small country. Hagen’s recently performed (a fully-staged, “pre-professional” workshop) full-length “opera noir,” A Woman in Morocco is no exception.

New England’s Prospect: Anniversary Waltzes—Kronos @ 40 in Providence

Kronos Quartet

After four decades, Kronos is still a new music group that takes its citizenship in the new music community seriously: show me another ensemble that has given more composers both the opportunity and the benefit of a meticulous, passionate performance. The music they cultivate might be geared to what they do well, but what they do well, they do better than anyone.

Mixed Media: Collaborative Music and Visual Art Making for Ten x Ten: 2013

Edie Fake's "10 x 10 colors"

Ten x Ten: 2013 is a collaborative venture between ten Chicago visual artists and ten composers. Working in pairs, they crafted joint “statements of intent” and created pieces of music and art which speak to each other. Andrew Tham and Edie Fake speak here about their journey from collaborative “blind date” to finished piece.

Guided By Sound: Crissy Broadcast Debuts in San Francisco

Images from Crissy Broadcast

Described as a “spatial symphony” composed and directed by Lisa Bielawa, Crissy Broadcast involved hundreds of musicians drawn from a dozen or so local ensembles, including middle school and high school bands and orchestras, adult amateur musicians, two choruses, a traditional Chinese instrument orchestra, and a gaggle of electric guitarists with portable battery-powered speakers slung over their shoulders.

New England’s Prospect: Celebrating Ned Rorem @ 90 in Boston

An empty frame in the Dutch Room of the Gardner Museum

New York Festival of Song visited the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s Calderwood Hall with a program celebrating Ned Rorem’s 90th birthday. The frame—the tonality, the lyricism, the elegant hedonism—is obvious; but what’s contained within the frame, what is and isn’t there, is something considerably more elusive.

#Yeezus: Lessons in Contemporary Performance from the Stadium Set

Kanye: Yeezus Tour 2013

It was a massive interdisciplinary art, music, and sound event produced on a scale large enough to successfully fill an arena—something intense, interesting, challenging, interdisciplinary, and yet totally accessible. Perhaps we need to admit to ourselves that people like to be challenged, that people want to dive into wild and contemporary imagery and messages, but that our success in that mission may not come from our own backyard.

SoundSpace: Graphic Notation

Tom Echols performs Cornelius Cardew’s Treatise Photo by Steve Sachse

What happens when musicians are asked to play from a page of notation that is not standard? How do they approach it? Curator Steve Parker’s latest installment in his SoundSpace series at the Blanton Museum featured several hours of folks doing just that.

Gloriously Messy Lodging: Zappa’s 200 Motels

Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels in LA

Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels is a glorious mess. In some ways this makes it the perfect thing to put on to celebrate the 10th anniversary of LA’s Walt Disney Hall and its already turbulent history. As for the score itself, it is—how should I put this?—spectacularly over-orchestrated, bordering on near-cacophony with unsettling frequency. I mean this as a good thing.

Double Trio: line upon line and Konk Pack

The three-station setup for Kate Soper’s In the Reign of Harad IV

The irony of intimacy found in a giant old warehouse is not lost on me, but the cordoning off of spaces within these huge buildings makes for a very personal and connected chamber music experience.