Tanglewood channels history at every turn, but it is not so much the history of the land it sits on, or the century’s worth of people who passed through it on its way to its current incarnation. It is the history of itself. The past that Tanglewood leverages is its own. It is a recursive monument.
We were asked to shed restrictions, open our ears, and return to a place of youthful excitement where we found our love of music; take risks, share that idea we’d kept to ourselves, and always say yes.
Pianist Sarah Cahill’s engaging solo recital last Friday included an advance look at a program of music by Henry Cowell she’s planning to perform at San Quentin State Prison next month. Though nearly all of the Music@Menlo’s programming is traditionally in the Bach/Beethoven/Brahms vein, one concert this year’s stood out for its programming of Nancarrow, Cage, Reich, and other 20th-century composers.
Lou Harrison translated the Mahāyāna Buddhist Heart Sūtra into Esperanto for his choral setting, La Koro Sutro—a universal wisdom in a universal language. And then, paradoxically, he set it in a way that guaranteed that performances would be few, far in between, and heavily dependent on where you were.
Like most composers, I’ve done the summer festival dance for a while now. Every music festival is different, but there’s one thing I’ve learned: It’s a bit weird to be a composer at any of them. It’s a brand-new experience to come to a festival where composers are the center of attention.
This fall will be an exceptional time for San Francisco Bay Area musicians of all stripes who are interested in making music with a large community of fellow new music lovers. Two massive projects—Lisa Bielawa’s Crissy Broadcast and Rhys Chatham’s A Secret Rose—will be rehearsed and performed.
Sierra’s style is definitely more modernist than maverick, but her accent is a little more subtle and elusive. The music is dense, dissonant, precipitously fluid, but there’s a groundedness to the extravagance, pitch and even tonal centers anchoring the busy crosstalk.
Austin Chamber Music Center has been around for decades—long enough to have existed when the governor was a Democrat, SXSW was a baby, and Austin was just a gleam in marketers’ eyes. Its summer festival is more recent, and the inclusion and promotion of new music even more so.
American operas, apparently, can have the second acts American lives cannot. The concert performance, at Tanglewood on July 11, of John Harbison’s The Great Gatsby—after the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, who famously hypothesized that particular limitation of biographical dramaturgy—was a bid for redemption.
Each year, the Guildhall Leadership course accepts a handful of students from all over the world. The course asks them to improvise, compose, teach, and collaborate with each other and with London artists from many other disciplines. They generate new work, embark on research projects, and actively facilitate creative music-making in London communities that wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity.