October Travels

Even though in general I’m happiest holed up in my home, at times wonderful opportunities push me out of the nest towards greater adventures. Right now, I’m anticipating upcoming trips for concerts, each of which will hopefully allow me to connect with composers who are new to me and to reconnect with old friends who I haven’t seen in a while.

This weekend, I’ll be in Bowling Green, Ohio, for the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music‘s new music festival. That the weekend’s events come under the title “Method in Madness” leaves me quite confident that I’ll be in the right place. I’m very much looking forward to hearing music by David Lang, their “special guest composer,” and all of the featured guests, especially pieces that will be new to me by friends and colleagues including Amy Kirsten, Ruby Fulton, Marilyn Shrude, and Christopher Dietz, and the first pieces I will have heard live by Mark Mellits, Kevin Ernste, and Tristan Perich. Based on everything that I’ve heard, the full performance of Michael Gordon’s Timber promises to be a special highlight of the weekend’s concerts. I’m hoping to make all nine concerts in three days, which should leave my ears quite satiated for a while! I’ve long admired the programming of this festival and am very much looking forward to being a part of this year’s edition.

Also, for me the last week of the month will be a full one indeed. First, I’ll be having a piece on the Sequenza 21/MNMP concert at Joe’s Pub in New York City. Through the wonders of social media, I feel that I already know nearly all the composers on this concert, and I’ve actually met five in person, including my wonderful co-NewMusicBox blogger Rob Deemer. I’m very much looking forward to hearing the fine folks of ACME perform such excellent and diverse repertoire live. Later that week, my October will end a little closer to home with UMBC’s Livewire Festival. Focusing on the more experimental side of contemporary music, this concert series will include a premiere of a new work by Michael Finnissy, a rare occasion around these parts indeed, and one worth celebrating.

It’s very interesting to me to be thinking about so much traveling immediately following the conclusion of the International Symposium on Synchronous Distance Learning that I helped to organize. During this conference, I was able to interact simultaneously with colleagues from as far away as Finland, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore, in short, from all over the world, but without leaving the physical confines of the Peabody Conservatory. The musical performances were all broadcast in high definition audio at better-than-CD quality, while the video allowed for an excellent sense of intimacy with the presenters without regard for where they happened to be located. I’m very intrigued to see where this technology takes us. It already allows for a surprising closing of seemingly impossible distances and only needs to be more widely available in order to truly change the way we interact. Perhaps in a few years, I’ll be able to visit all these festivals without ever leaving my home.

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