As our friend Drew put it, there’s just no easy way to do January. It’s cold, it’s dark, and your husband made you take the Christmas tree down two weeks before you were emotionally ready. There’s only one thing that’ll get you through it: concerts. Especially concerts in warm greenhouses filled with green, living things. That’s right: it’s time again for Amidst Lush Plantlife, Chicago Composers Orchestra’s second annual romp at the Garfield Park Conservatory, happening this Wednesday night.
In the non-greenhouse show category (please, no booing), Third Coast Percussion is in town for a show at University of Chicago on Friday, and on Saturday the NbN Trio presents AMBEDO to cap off their High Concept Laboratories residency.
Did anyone else hear that re-run of This American Life called “Mapping”? With the story about the guy who researched the emotional quality of intervals? He discovered that the combination of his office heater, computer motor, and phone dial tone created an unhappy pitch cluster that (he believed) was contributing to his bad mood at work. It’s simultaneously a really dumb idea and a somewhat interesting one. We hate musical pseudo-science as much as the next gal, but it’s not every day that This American Life nerds out about tritones. (Best pop culture discussion of keys/moods ever: below, obviously.)
Before the break, we enjoyed this lively behind-the-scenes post by Chicago Civic Orchestra violinist Katie Klocke. CSO artist-in-residence Yo-Yo Ma is, apparently, helping to mount an unconventional performance in which Civic will perform Beethoven 6 under a tree, from memory. (This is in the spring, of course; they don’t treat Civic musicians THAT badly!) Ma’s presence in Chicago is deeply felt and enthusiastically received. But are we alone in feeling like a cranky old lady seeing all these twenty-two year olds getting on a first-name Facebook basis with “Yo-Yo”?
Scratch That is probably very late to this party, but we’re really excited about The Yard, a sassy and vibrant Juillard student-run paper and website. While the paper is admittedly focused on a very small demographic–that is, music students at Juilliard–it also has a broader mission to “serve the next generation of performing artists.” The paper has a very able crew of comedy writers who are creating a body of satirical work to rival The Onion, as well as insightful columns from young performers and a brave article about Fashion’s Night Out in which the author confesses to having left her bra at Michael Kors. The whole thing is a fun, exciting development in musician-centered media and we need more sites like it.
A lot of our friends are getting knocked up. Oh, yours too? Are any of them freelance musicians? Nope, ours neither. We’ve been thinking a lot about the challenges of having kids as a musician. Google doesn’t yield a lot of encouragement, but there is this piece about (rock/pop) musical mamas. And this article about the benefits of being raised in a frugal home. So it’s a good thing! Low income is a good thing, right!?!