Sounds Heard: An Exaltation of Larks—The Lark Quartet performs Jennifer Higdon
It’s remarkable how often people’s opinions of Jennifer Higdon’s music seem—for better or for worse—to be formed based on her fantastically successful orchestral works. A new release showcases a more intimate collection of chamber works that are unmistakably Higdon but which explore different reaches of her musical interests.
Should more orchestral performances feature video, some kind of technological enhancement, or opportunities for the audience to share in performing the music? I’m not sure on any of those fronts, although “coLABoratory: Playing It Unsafe” was one of the most exciting ACO concerts I have attended in quite some time in large part because of the added layers of vulnerability.
There are many, many other venues, extant and defunct, that were left out of my discussion last week of exemplary ways in which musicians have advocated for their colleagues. So I’d like to add a few more names to this list.
Koussevitzky Commission Winners Announced
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).
Remembering Jeffery Cotton (1957-2013)
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.
Have Some Fun
Having fun, or composing simply for the intrinsic enjoyment of creation, isn’t something that’s discussed much in education or composition circles, but I think it should be.
When Stage Presence Happens
Being well rehearsed is not enough to guarantee a great performance, and that’s where stage presence comes in. Some people naturally have it, but it can also be taught.
Old First Concerts Offer Exceptional Chamber Music
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.