Mary Kouyoumdjian: Music and Conflict ~ Concert Preview

Mary Kouyoumdjian: Music and Conflict
May 16, 2015, 3:00-4:00pm
Brooklyn Youth Chorus
179 Pacific Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11201
Free to the public

Courtesy of Exploring The Metropolis

EtM Con Edison Composer-in-Residence Mary Kouyoumdjian presents “Music and Conflict”, a discussion of the composer’s own works that address political and social tension:

Bombs of Beirut, a 2014 Kronos Quartet commission, addresses the Lebanese Civil War. From the composer: “We often read stories and see images in the news about violent events in the Middle East, but we very rarely get to hear the perspective of an individual who lived through them. Inspired by loved ones who grew up during the Lebanese Civil War, it is my hope that Bombs of Beirut provides a sonic picture of what day-to-day life is like in a turbulent Middle East –– not filtered through the news and media, but through the real words of real people.”

Silent Cranes, a 2015 Kronos Quartet commission, is a multimedia piece that will remember those who were massacred and deported during the Armenian Genocide of 1915, and offer hope for a peaceful resolution in the present day.

Children of Conflict, is a series of portrait pieces inspired by the work of American Pulitzer-nominated war photographer Chris Hondros, who captured images of children in wars around the world.

Watch the Kronos Quartet perform Kouyoumdjan’s Bombs of Beirut:

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Mary Kouyoumdjian.com

Exploring the Metropolis.org

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A Concert of New Music for Winds and Piano ~ A Review

The composers of New York Composers Circle April 21, 2015 New Music for Winds and Piano,
l-r: Max Giteck Duykers, David Picton, Peri Mauer, Gayther Myers, Susan J. Fischer, Richard Brooks, Eugene Marlow.

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Concert of New Music for Winds and Piano
NYCC Concert
St. Peter’s Church, NYC
April 21, 2015

Written by Dave Hall

On Tuesday, April 21, 2015, I was pleased to attend a New York Composers Circle concert at St. Peter’s Church in New York City. Like previous NYCC concerts I’ve attended, this evening’s program, one dedicated to music for wind instruments, was varied and entertaining.

The evening began with a very beautiful piece for oboe, violin, cello and piano by Susan J. Fischer called “Intermezzo”. The next piece on the program was a work for solo oboe by Peri Mauer aptly called “Journey”. A fanciful piece that explored the full range and colors of the instrument, it was a beautifully vivid journey through sound and time. Next on the program was a work for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and piano by Gayther Myers entitled “The Workday”. The composer, in his introduction to the piece, asked the audience to recall their average work day, with it’s ebb and flow of busy-ness, frustration, moments of calm, and finally, the end of the shift. The piece captured this very well and the interplay between the instruments was finely written and beautifully executed by the players. Following Mr. Myers piece was a work by Max Giteck Duykers called “Dark Body”. Scored for flute, violin, cello and piano, Duykers piece explored tone and rhythm in a series of short, exciting sections. It, too, was a very satisfying composition.

The second half of the program began with a four-movement work for oboe and guitar by David Picton. Called Turning Leaves for Sandy, this pastoral work with sections evoking first spring buds, summer passion, and fall colors traced the life of a year in a warm and elegant play between the oboe and guitar. Mr. Picton, a jazz player as well as a classical composer, injected an easy, melodic element into the evening’s program. The next piece in the concert, by Orlando Legname, was a two-part work for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano, with conductor. Called Vortici D’etere, it was an interesting late acoustic work by the recently deceased Signor Legname, who was as well known for his compositions for electronic instruments as for those he’d written for traditional concert instruments. Following Mr. Legname’s piece was a delightful three-part work for flute and alto flute by Eugene Marlow. Called Trois Chansons pour une Poetesse, it was originally written as a work for solo flute, but some years after composing it Mr. Marlow decided it would work nicely as a duet. He was right; it was quite lovely. One hopes that the poetess he had in mind would have been pleased with the songs. The final work in the program was Richard Brooks’ “Into the Twilight”. Scored for flute, bassoon, violin, viola and piano, the piece is built on a simple melody stated in the bassoon followed variations expanding on the melody’s intervals. It was a straightforward yet very enjoyable piece.

Taken all together, the compositions made for an excellent evening of well-written music, with top-notch performances by Christa Robinson, Keve Wilson, and Virginia Chang Chien on oboe, Esther Noh on violin, John Popham on cello, Stephen Gosling on piano, Margaret Lancaster and Roberta Michel on flute, Christa Van Alstine on clarinet, Matt Marks on horn, Oren Fader on guitar, Nanci Belmont on bassoon, and Hannah Levinson on viola.

nycomposerscircle.org

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Dave Hall is a composer and songwriter based in New York City. A graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, he has written pop, rock, country, concert music, lyrics and music for musical theater, plus incidental music for theater and tv.  His children’s musicals have been produced at The Manhattan Children’s Theater and at the NY International Fringe Festival and his musical for grownups “‘Round Midlife” enjoyed an off-Broadway run in 2013. His newly released two-CD recording of song cycles, Songs of Boyhood and Songs of Brooklyn, are enjoying international radio play.

Ian Ng: The Idea of Becoming (New Music and Dance Workshop)

The Idea of Becoming (New Music and Dance Workshop)
With music by Ian Ng and choreography by Zhong-jing Fang
Featuring students from the ABT/JKO School

Date: April 17, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM sharp
Place: ABT Studios
890 Broadway (at 19th St)
Fourth Floor – Studio 9

Courtesy of Exploring The Metropolis

Exploring the Metropolis presents Ian Ng’s The Idea of Becoming, a new music and dance workshop, hosted by ABT Studios. Featuring students from the ABT/JKO School with choreography by Zhong-jing Fang, this event will comprise of a performance followed by a moderated Q&A session.

This event is free and open to the public. However seating is limited. An attendee list will be generated when you register for this event here: Eventbrite.com/The Idea of Becoming

Ian is a 2014-15 EtM Con Edison Composer-in-Residence at The Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg Music School at Lighthouse Guild.

Visit this event on our website:
http://exploringthemetropolis.org/event/ian-ng-the-idea-of-becoming-new-music-and-dance-workshop/

The Glass Sho ~ Lara Downes & Jed Distler Talk Billie Holiday for Piano

Billielarajed

Pianist Lara Downes and composer/pianist Jed Distler both sat down with me to talk about the new CD featuring the songbook of Billie Holiday.

In these interviews featured on the latest episode of The Glass Sho, they discuss the creative process behind presenting these special interpretations for solo piano of the classic songs recorded by Billie Holiday.

The CD, by the way, is available to pre-order on Amazon (CD will be officially released March 10th on the Steinway and Sons label):
Pre-order for A Billie Holiday Songbook by Lara Downes

the glassshoA1

The Glass Sho: Episode 34 (Lara Downes and Jed Distler On Billie Holiday Songbook/Eunbi Kim)

Lara Downes
Jed Distler
Lara’s page for Billie Holiday @100

The Glass Sho ~ Molly Thompson on Solos, Duos, and Songs from Shadows of Corinth

First half courtesy of Molly Thompson

Glenn Cornett’s performance space in the east village Spectrum hosts an evening of concert music by Molly Thompson. The concert takes place Sunday, November 16th at 7 PM.

Video by Anney Bonney
And lyrics by Sara Wintz

Performances by:
Eric Clark
Joshua Lopes
James Moore
Kamala Sankaram
Pamela Stein
Kathleen Supové
Owen Weaver

Kathleen Supové will perform Our Mingling Arms (“rhapsodic music with…jazzy outbursts and exuberant chaos” New York Times) and Lucid (“Chopin on crack” Anne LeBaron).

James Moore will perform Blowback (“gorgeous and political” Fresh Sound Music Series), a solo electric guitar piece commissioned by Moore.

Thompson’s video song cycle Shadows of Corinth will complete the evening. This project includes video by Anney Bonney, lyrics by Sara Wintz and performances by Thompson, Kamala Sankaram, Pamela Stein, Eric Clark, James Moore and Owen Weaver.

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Here is my interview with Molly about the concert featured in the first half of this podcast:
The Glass Sho: Episode 27 (Molly Herron/Molly Thompson)

Sunday, November 16th, 7 PM
Spectrum
121 Ludlow Street, 2nd Flr
New York, NY 10002

$15.00 General Admission
$10.00 Students and Seniors

The Glass Sho ~ Molly Herron on New Music For New Instruments

Herron_Headshot.jpg

Composer and founder of West 4th New Music Collective Molly Herron had a few minutes to chat with me on The Glass Sho about the upcoming concert titled New Music For New Instruments, which will be a full program of new works showcasing the collaborative efforts between composers and builders of very unique and unconventional units that promise to be just as fascinating as the music played on them.

Hear the podcast featuring Molly Herron here (It appears at 39:19, on the same episode as another Molly composer, Molly Thompson):
The Glass Sho: Episode 27 (Molly Herron/Molly Thompson)

You can still contribute to the Kickstarter that is raising funds for compensation for the composers and builders that worked on this project. The link appears below the page description.

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The following appears courtesy of New Music For New Instruments/Molly Herron/Kickstarter

New Music for New Instruments is a program of works created through the collaboration of instrument builders Andy Cavatorta, Merche Blasco, and Nick Yulman and composers Angélica Negrón, Albert Behar, Fjóla Evans and Molly Herron. This program of world premieres will be presented on Sunday, November 16th at 7:30 pm at Brooklyn’s Littlefield.

The music on this concert is the result of collaborations between this close-knit group of artists working together in builder/composer pairs. Performers include Lucy Dhegae, Charlotte Mundy, Emilie Weibel, Lisa Dowling, Amy Garapic and boy soprano Aryeh Blumefeld.

The instruments involved in New Music for New Instruments have been recently designed and built and cover a spectrum of techniques. Angélica Negrón creates a piece using text from the Little Prince featuring a boy soprano singing amongst a sea of robotic modules that can produce sound out of any object, created by Nick Yulman. Albert Behar and Molly Herron write for Andy Cavatota’s Overtone Harp – a piano harp mounted vertically and fitted with electro-magnets that stimulate strings in multiple overtone combinations. Fjóla Evans writes for three sopranos and Merche Blasco’s Theremins that process the vocalists’ sound based on their movements.

The composers and builders, each individually known for experimentation and unconventional sound interfaces, worked together to develop the instruments and the music written for them. The result is a conversation about music and the potential of new sounds created through new avenues for engaging dynamic performances.

The Program:

New Music for New Instruments (order subject to change)

Whirlpool
Composer: Fjóla Evans, Builder: Merche Blasco

Cycle Switch
Composer: Molly Herron, Builder: Andy Cavatorta

The Loveliest and Saddest Landscape in The World
Composer: Angélica Negrón, Builder: Nick Yulman

Your Sympathy
Composer: Albert Behar, Builder: Andy Cavatorta
The Equator and Dancing on the Radio
Composer and Builder: Nick Yulman

Robachata
Composer: Albert Behar, Builder: Nick Yulman

Improvisation
Composers: Evans/ Blasco, Builder: Merche Blasco

The program will run approximately 90 minutes and will have one intermission.

About the creation of New Music for New Instruments:

Our team has been working together over most of this year to develop the material on this concert. After spending time as a group sharing our work and discussing ideas, we formed into smaller partnerships in which we began to develop pieces.

Over the time we spent creating the pieces, there was an interchange between the composers and instruments builders about what was possible, what the instruments leant themselves to, and any possible modifications that could be made to the instruments or the music that would make the work more successful.

This project has been fun and fulfilling and the interaction with each other has made us better at what we do. Now we are making the final push towards the concert on November 16th when we can share all our work with you!

Even though the concert is the culmination of this project, we hope that these collaborations blossom into something that can be a part of our work in the future. We certainly know that these partnerships will stay with us for a long time!

Why we need your help:

A grant from the Brooklyn Arts Council made this whole project a possibility to begin with. With the BAC funds we have been able to hire musicians, pay for some essential instrument modifications, afford instrument transportation and many other costly aspects of producing a project of this size.

However, the grant wasn’t large enough to pay our collaborators even a modest fee for their time. With this fundraiser, we hope to raise enough money to give our composers and instrument builders some compensation for the work they have poured into this project over the last year.

Also, since so much of this work is so visual, we feel that it is important to document the concert visually. We are raising money here to be able to pay for our amazing videographer, Nick Cusworth, to make a video of the concert so that we can share our work into the future.

Click here to donate to New Music For New Instruments

Click here for tickets for the concert Nov. 16

 

Jennifer Choi & Cornelius Dufallo ~ On Their Season-Opening Concert at Tribeca Music Festival

Jennifer Choi and Cornelius Dufallo perform

This portion courtesy of Tribeca Music Festival/The Cell

We are thrilled to have both Jennifer Choi and Cornelius Dufallo (both formerly of ETHEL), two of new music’s most compelling violinists, teaming up to perform an array of challenging and expressive solos and duos. Escape New York features some of their favorite recent contemporary scores that promise to transport you to new musical worlds.

In addition, Tribeca New Music is proud to present the winning work of its national 2014 Young Composer Competition, for young musicians 21 years old and younger, a stunning three-movement solo violin piece written by 20-year-old Andrew Hsu which will receive its NYC premiere by Jennifer Choi. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area and composition student at the Curtis Institute of Music, Andrew has already won the BMI and multiple ASCAP awards for composition and is a rising star on the new music scene.

Join us at 4pm for the concert at the cell, and then have dinner afterward at one of the many fine restaurants in the area.
(See local restaurant list below.)

The program will include works by:
Kinan Azmeh
Eve Beglarian
Kenji Bunch
Caleb Burhans
Anna Clyne
Rob Deemer
Cornelius Dufallo
Andrew Hsu (Winner of the 2014 Young Composer Competition; NYC premiere)
Preston Stahly

The Cell – A Twenty First Century Salon
338 West 23rd Street, NYC 10011

General Admission $25
Students/Seniors $20

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Jennifer and Cornelius were interviewed by me about this concert.

CM: It is very exciting to see you guys playing together again! Are you guys just as excited about that?

Jennifer: Thanks Chris! This program has been really fun for us to put together as the duos are well written with just the right of amount of challenge and excitement. We’ve actually been playing together for a while now in various formations in and outside of the city, so it felt like the right time to put together a duo/solos show. Serendipitously, we found the perfect opportunity through the Tribeca New Music Festival to present our program for their season opener concert this coming November 16.

CM: Tell us about Caleb Burhans’ “Escape New York” and the contest winner Andrew Hsu’s piece.

Jennifer: We will begin Sunday’s program with Caleb Burhan’s violin duo titled “Escape New York”. It’s a driving piece that makes use of the spiccato technique with intertwining harmonies. He wrote it in 2011 for Pauline Kim and Conrad Harris who have a working duo called STRING NOISE. We actually named our program Escape New York too, as most of the other works inflect a musical journey outside of the city. For instance, Kenji Bunch’s “Three American Folk Hymn Settings” for two violins and Cornelius’s duo called “Abraxos” are both pieces that can viscerally take you to another place. The other works on the program will be solos by composers we each individually chose to play. My three solo pieces are Eve Beglarian’s “Well-Spent”, Preston Stahley’s “Sapphire”- both for violin and pre-recorded sounds, and the featured 2014 TNMF competition winner, Andrew Hsu’s Solo Violin Sonata.

Andrew’s piece is in three movements and is quite virtuosic. To begin with, the sonata calls for techniques seen a lot in Bartok’s string music like atonal and chromatic double stops, jeté strokes, and left hand pizzicato. It’s a real work out for the violin and is filled with dramatic moments throughout. He’s a very talented young composer and I’m excited to be making the New York premiere of this work.

CM (to Cornelius): Just want to say it is awesome to see you are back! Missed you! 🙂 Please discuss your half of the show as well!

Cornelius: I’d like to say how much fun it is to be playing with Jenny. Our history goes back a long way, and, although our playing is quite different, we share certain musical sensibilities. I think we also share a deep curiosity about new music and the creative process!

All three pieces came out of my Journaling project, in which I asked composers to write pieces for violin and electronics.

Kinan’s piece is about the conflict in Syria. In fact, he was in Damascus when he wrote it in 2012. It is for violin and pre recorded track.

Anna’s piece is one movement of a larger, 40 minute work called THE VIOLIN, which Anna wrote for me and my wife, Amy Kauffman. Most of the piece is for two violins and pre recorded violin tracks, but this movement is for solo violin.
Rob’s piece is for solo violin with live digital looping.

Click here to buy tickets

Jennifer Choi
Cornelius Dufallo