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You never know exactly what you’ll encounter when you walk into the annual Switchboard Music Festival, a gleefully eclectic eight-hour extravaganza at the Brava Theater consisting of music that avoids easy characterization.
Award winners and the groups co-sponsoring their commissions are Tristan Murail and YarnWire; Kaija Saariaho and Da Camera of Houston; Ronald Bruce Smith and the Del Sol Quartet; Kate Soper and Alarm Will Sound; and Wang Jie and the League of Composers/ISCM (the U.S. chapter of the International Society of Contemporary Music).
Jeffery Cotton—composer, entrepreneur, essayist, and fiction writer—has left us with a trove of darkly hued, deeply lyrical works that can be heard as a film noir soundtrack evoking the deceptively sunny Los Angeles of his childhood filtered through the haunted German expressionism he encountered as a student of Henze. But an artist’s life is not wholly contained in finished works.
Old First Concerts, a series founded in 1970 in a Presbyterian church in San Francisco, presented two exceptional young chamber ensembles performing contemporary music in late March. Both concerts demonstrated O1C’s commitment to emerging and mid-career artists who are exploring non-standard repertoire.
By acting as a clearing house for collaborative work and by moving concert music to different venues, Jacqueline Perrin’s Classical Reinvention project is bringing music to a new audience.
Mohammed Fairouz’s Anything Can Happen—which was given its Boston premiere on March 17 by the Back Bay Chorale, one of the work’s co-commissioners—is a piece of music in which multiple strategies for communicating connotations of seriousness are utilized with unusual skill.
Tan Dun joins the ranks of Nelson Mandela, Rigoberta Menchu Túm, Forest Whitaker, Susana Rinaldi, Herbie Hancock, Placido Domingo, and Jean Michel Jarre in being named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.
I attended a Google hangout with members of the Calder Quartet as part of a new audience engagement initiative supporting the Studio Classics series at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts in Davis, California. The series showcases new music and I was curious to know why the Mondavi Center chose Google hangouts to promote the series, and what they hoped to accomplish.
One of the barometers of new-music status in Boston—anywhere, really, but especially here—is whether a group’s concerts feel as much like networking events as performances. BMOP is in that strata; the Boston Composers’ Coalition is, as of yet, not.
Despite the nip in the Chicago air, there are plenty of shows this weekend hot enough to leave the house for.