Why were we silent for nine months as we awaited sums of money that, to us, make or break our ability to pay the rent? For me, the story of the Beethoven Festival is a story of vulnerability: my own individual vulnerability, that of my colleagues, and that of our entire musical community.
Growing up, I was ashamed of being a nerd. This was pretty typical. At the time being labeled a nerd was considered about as bad as showing up to school in nothing but your underwear. Times have changed. It is now a badge to be worn proudly by all of us. We all finally grew up. And took over.
Since I started walking the Pacific Crest Trail seven weeks ago, I’ve undergone a number of physiological and mental changes. One of the biggest changes that has occurred, however, relates more specifically to working with sound and music as a composer—an alteration in my sense of hearing.
The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts sits on a hillside from which little is visible but trees. The setting fosters extended walks and quiet minds. The place itself almost disappears as your thoughts take the foreground. There is only you, and the work.
It came as no surprise that the cancellation of the scheduled simulcast of John Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer, slated for production at the Metropolitan Opera this fall, has inspired some very active comment section action. But have you heard the work yet? Let’s listen and chat.
Jim’s own music exemplified human oddity. It certainly did not aspire to impress or even express; it revealed. He was way out there. But Jim didn’t just get washed up on these exotic shores for lack of ability to navigate the waters around the mainland. He chose to make music a rare and deep experience.
Although composers are always constructing new sonic worlds, Bora Yoon is super-charging that idea through her multimedia and site-specific works. Her performances create immersive environments that, as she puts it, “transport people somewhere, and return them, hopefully changed from the experience.”
The Live in HD transmission of The Death of Klinghoffer has been cancelled after concerns were raised that the Metropolitan Opera’s plans to transmit the opera might be used to fan global anti-Semitism. Adams describes the decision as “deeply regrettable” saying it “goes far beyond issues of artistic freedom, and ends in promoting the same kind of intolerance that the opera’s detractors claim to be preventing.”
Unraveled features works written for the group through their ongoing commissioning project. The album is filled from stem to stern with tight writing by young composers, and the spectacular playing engages both intellect and emotion throughout.
Neil Young Cloaca is an irrepressible showman. Bromp Treb is an opportunity for him to apply that carnival-barker enthusiasm to a table full of mismatched gear. Cloaca circled the table, triggering highly distorted samples while playing up theatrical befuddlement, as if he was trying to decipher a recalcitrant machine—or defuse an eccentric bomb.