Posts in Field Reports
The Festival of Contemporary Music produces an annual, temporary, vibrant community—at times, it feels like a new music networking event with added concerts—but one set apart from the customary Tanglewood crowds. It’s genial to outsiders, but also prone to bewilder them.
As the week progressed, it became clear that JCOI is not merely about “jazz composers tak[ing] on the classical orchestra,” as has become the program’s slogan, but in fact about finding justification, perhaps even necessity, for this task in the two musics’ inextricable bonds with each other.
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sfSound’s most recent concert celebrating the centenary of John Cage featured works spanning over half a century. The following week, the experimental music collective Outsound Presents presented the annual Outsound New Music Summit.
Amplification, it turns out, is a fine line, and the amplification of this particular concert left me in the position of feeling critical towards a program on which, paradoxically, I actually liked a lot of the music itself.
Vessel, a recent concert presented by the Convergence Vocal Ensemble, featured an evening of commissions for four voices combined with a variety of instrumental combinations, including new instruments created specifically for this event. But what was that air compressor for?
Doing anything in Austin in the summer can be a bit of a drag, but checking out week after week of top notch chamber players is a pretty spectacular way to pass the time. This annual three-week festival has developed over the years by taking its broad and general title quite literally. It’s not summer classics, new music, or jazz; it’s all that and more.
The brainchild of organizer Sarah Cahill, this inimitable event, which is presented by New Music Bay Area and the chapel, features several dozen Bay Area artists scattered throughout the labyrinthine and photogenic facility.
The Spirit of ’76 finally touched down at the San Francisco Opera with the first local performances of John Adams’s Nixon in China, a quarter century after the work’s creation.
The 2012 Iditarod, as the Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice finale has come to be called, clocked in at more than eleven hours—the longest since I’ve been going. In the end, eleven hours wasn’t all that bad—the sheer bulk of time encouraging a get-comfortable attitude that made every piece feel a little more generous than it might on a regular concert.