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I do, on occasion, enjoy putting on a coordinated outfit and drinking from something with a stem prior to my fiddle intake, but for me this is more of a Thanksgiving/Presidents’ Day once-a-year deal than a monthly water bill situation. For my regular listening, I prefer smaller, less formal venues, and fortunately I’m not alone.
The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, which is unconventional in so many ways, proves that there can be an enthusiastic audience for contemporary music in a smaller community.
When Marvin Hamlisch was inventing music, his focus and concentration were extraordinary. He would look at the words I had brought in for 30 or 40 seconds and hear something in his head. His hands would then take over. After that initial “idea” phase in the composing, there seemed to be no time-lag between his continued musical impulses and his ability to simply play them.
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.
Oregon-based composer Kevin Walczyk has been named the $25,000-winning recipient of the ninth Raymond and Beverly Sackler Music Composition Prize, which was awarded for the composition of a concerto for brass quintet and wind ensemble. Among the finalists were Justin Dello Joio, Augusta Read Thomas, and Roshanne Etezady.
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?