Scratch That: Glance Back, Look Ahead

Nomi Epstein

Nomi Epstein, composer and performer

Favorite musical moment of 2012:

I’m going to cheat and divide my answer. First, the performance of my commission from the Old Town School, celebrating their brand new concert hall and their 55th anniversary. Nine performers from Chicago’s wonderful new/experimental music community performed my quasi-installation, quasi-concert piece in the new hall. It was a very fulfilling experience to see this not-so-simple work using choreography of sound, my interest in text scores, indeterminacy, and egalitarian performative experience, come to life in the hall it was built for. I felt quite lucky.

Second, So Percussion’s performance at the NU Cage Festival in November, where they presented a seamless performance piece involving several different Cage compositions. I was left awestruck by how well everything coalesced, and with great intensity and musicality.

New Year’s Resolution:

I’m not really one for New Year’s resolutions because I feel like we should always be working to better ourselves…but, about this time every year I think about trying to make it through these dark, cold, windy Chicago winter days. Corporeally, I was born to live in a warm and sunny climate, but intellectually and culturally I am most comfortable in a cold climate. And so I am left to reconcile the two!

Looking forward to in 2013:

NbN Trio, the experimental improv trio for which I play inside the piano, is presenting an evening length concert entitled “AMBEDO” on January 12. It’s been an enormously prolific four-month residency for us working with original film, prerecorded sound, light design, layered screen structures, and contact miking various found sounds. I am so excited to present our work, get input, and start a dialogue about this new territory for us.

I’m also really looking forward to the Time Stands Still: Notation in Musical Practice conference at Wesleyan University in April. I’ll give a paper there, but even if I weren’t actively participating in the weekend, I’d have gone. Important conceptual and performative questions about notation are being explored a lot more through conferences in other countries, so it is a true blessing to have one here in the States!

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