Posts in Field Reports
The April 22 concert of music by Burr Van Nostrand in New England Conservatory’s Brown Hall didn’t include any explanation as to why Nostrand hadn’t composed any music since the early ’90s, nor why the music he had composed had lain unperformed for the same amount of time. Which was really something of a gift: this was music that simply seemed to reappear, pristine, unencumbered by the accumulated residue of a zigzag career.
Ian Dicke, Robert Honstein, and Steven Snowden upped the ante at this year’s Fast Forward Austin festival by tripling the call for scores winners, bringing in a headliner, and moving to a big, multilevel venue near downtown complete with a bar, soundman, and a dude who stamps your hand.
The thing with canons, there’s always a catch.
Austin is still a relatively small city, but the ease with which one can find a last-minute replacement for that “contrabassoonist who also owns his own unicycle” part is impressive, and it’s this high concentration of strong, adventurous players coupled with a titanic work ethic that has allowed ANMC to flourish in the last ten years.
The San Francisco Symphony has been celebrating its centennial season this year with a slew of ambitious programs, including the return last month of its American Mavericks festival.
To hear Nick Mazzarella play the alto saxophone is to hear a well-honed connection between his creative impulse and the horn that becomes an extension of his musical identity. It is a creative instinct steeped in jazz history and brimming over with a passion for free improvisation.
This year’s event (March 1–3) included a characteristically diverse group of nine composers, including 75-year-old Harold Budd and 31-year-old Tyshawn Sorey; Berkeley-based Ken Ueno and Lotta Wennäkoski from Finland; and glissando virtuoso Gloria Coates and laptop improviser Ikue Mori.
What strikes me about my SXSW experiences in the twelve years I’ve been here (and what I typically hear from friends and acquaintances) is that some of the best parts were not vaguely planned. What they stumbled upon as they made their way around downtown Austin and the surrounding area is what made their festival experience fun and unique.
“It’s my new school of radical anti-art music!”
BMOP was back at Club Café on March 5, for a Japanese-themed concert curated by composer Ken Ueno—a remarkably efficient exploration of the Japanese dance between pitch, noise, and silence—while the Bang on a Can All-Stars performed at MIT’s Kresge Auditorium on March 10, part of an ongoing three-year residency organized by MIT professor (and All-Star) Evan Ziporyn.