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:



Exploring the

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: 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:

The Glass Sho ~ Marie Incontrera On Herself, Eco-Music Big Band, and Fred Ho’s Legacy (Preview of Roulette show on 11/20/14)

Photo courtesy of Rae Maxwell

Courtesy of Roulette/Eco-Music Big Band

Composer Marie Incontrera leads the Eco-Music Big Band in a tribute to her mentor, composer and baritone saxophonist Fred Ho, who passed away earlier this year. The Eco-Music Big Band is a 15-piece, multi-generational big band that is committed to continuing the prodigious compositional and creative legacy of Fred Ho. The ensemble also performs the works of the overlooked composers of 20th century (such as Cal Massey), and provides a platform for the next generation of big band composers. This evening will tribute the life and work of Fred Ho by featuring his works as well as the works of Cal Massey, of his final composition protege Marie Incontrera, and of young, Canadian-native big band composer, Liberte-Anne Lymberiou.

The Eco-Music Big Band:
Saxophones (ATTB): Jay Rodriguez, Livio Almeida, Alejandro Aviles,
Larry Bustamante.
Trumpets: Bryan Davis, Mark McGowan, Nabate Isles, Adam O’Farrill
Trombones: David Whitwell, David Taylor
Violin: Julianne Carney
Cello: Gabriel Dresdale
Piano: Albert Marques
Electric Bass: Amanda Ruzza
Drums: Zack O’Farrill

On the same bill: composer and percussionist Warren Smith continues his yearlong celebration of his 80th birthday with the premiere of his new Symphonic Quartet, with Sonelius Smith (piano & keyboard), James Stewart (woodwinds), Ratzo Harris (bass and cello), and Warren Smith on multiple percussion. The group will present a new hour-long composition, “Songs and Poems of ReReconstruction”. The title refers to similarities of current national and political activities in the US with those of the mid-19th century (postbellum).

Thursday, November 20th at 8:00pm
509 Atlantic Ave (At the Corner off 3rd Ave), Brooklyn, New York 11217
General Admission
Adult [$20.00]
Student/Senior [$15.00]

Click here for tickets

Marie Incontrera sat down and chatted with me for The Glass Sho about the Eco-Music Big Band! Listen here:
The Glass Sho: Episode 29 (Marie Incontrera)

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Scientific Soul Sessions (Eco-Music Big Band page)

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.


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
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


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.


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)

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

Composer: Albert Behar, Builder: Nick Yulman

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


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

Miranda Cuckson ~ Preview of Melting The Darkness CD release parties (Nov 12th and 14th)


Courtesy of Spectrum/Glenn Cornett

Spectrum is pleased to celebrate the launch of violinist and violist Miranda Cuckson’s Melting the Darkness album, which is to be released digitally on November 11 by Urlicht Audiovisual.

The works on the album are:
Iannis Xenakis: Mikka S
GF Haas: de terrae fine
Oscar Bianchi: Semplice
Chris Burns: come ricordi, come sogni, come ecchi
Ileana Perez-Velasquez: un ser con unas alas enormes
Robert Rowe: Melting the Darkness

This event at Spectrum is part 1 of a two-evening album launch, part 2 being two nights later on Nov 14 at the Brown Institute Concert Series – and featuring the four microtonal pieces on the album.

Nov 12 at Spectrum will feature the CD’s three works for violin and electronics by Perez-Velasquez, Rowe and Sigman- the former two in live performance and the Sigman in the recorded surround-sound version. These will be heard in the context of solo electronics pieces by each of these composers. Sound engineer Richard Warp, who worked on this CD as well as Miranda’s previous Nono project on Urlicht, will play his recent composition with video.

Miranda, Robert Rowe, Ileana Perez-Velasquez and Richard Warp will be in attendance. Physical CDs will be for sale at the event.

Full liner notes for the album are here:

Excerpted notes:

This album ventures into regions of the art of violin-playing the significance of which is now becoming clear. Devoted entirely to microtonal compositions for violin and pieces for violin with electronics, this CD explores works of seven composers who have been challenged by these areas of discovery to create intriguingly fresh and surprising sound worlds….Since turning much attention in recent years to the music being written in my own time, I have found it fascinating to explore certain areas of experimentation that have taken my instrument beyond the familiar glories of its heritage. One of these is the use of microtonality- a system of intervals involving distances smaller than the half-step (the keys on a piano). I have been intrigued by both the physical aspects of working with such intervals, and the idiosyncratic ways in which composers use such intervals for their own expressive aims. Another interest has been noise- that is, non-pitched sounds, often percussive or abrasive, produced by unusual techniques on the instrument. A third area I’ve been eager to explore has been music involving electronics. Since electronic music’s beginnings, using spliced reel-to-reel tapes decades ago, the possibilities of the technology have exploded so that there are numerous ways in which to create or generate sounds and to interact, as a live performer, with them. This has led to a palette of sound possibilities and a degree of agility of response often not offered by traditional instruments.

Alex Sigman’s VURTRUVURT for violin and live electronics was commissioned for this recording. In this piece, the violin is a live denizen of an urban sound world, adding its startling noises to a world of machines. The electronics part is triggered and adjusted by an additional live performer. The piece was recorded in studio, after which the composer added some further sound processing and also created the spatialized imagining found on the 5.1 surround disk. Sigman writes:

V is for Vehicle and Volume, not Violin. U is for Union. R is for Resonance, Recording, Reflection…and T is for Trigger. VURT refers to the 1993 cyberpunk science fiction novel by Jeff Noon. Set in a dystopian Manchester, the novel chronicles the (mis)adventures of a gang of Stash Riders, who travel between Manchester and a parallel universe called Vurt. The boundary between the universes remains permeable, as Vurt creatures and events materialize on Earth. The sound sources employed in VURTRUVURT include elements evocative of the decaying urban and industrial environments described by Noon, as well as songs by Manchester bands of the 1980s-90s that were influential upon the his writing. These sources were also central to generating the violin material. In performance, the electronics are projected through a pair of small sound exciters: one attached to the violin, the other to a resonating glass surface. The violin thus becomes an electrified tension field, a physical point of actual/virtual intersection and cross-influence.

Ileana Perez-Velasquez’s work “un ser con unas alas enormes” is for violin and fixed media: the electronics were previously recorded onto a CD as one single track, with which the violinist performs in real time. The piece evokes a lush natural world with dangerous-sounding animal calls and insect noises in the electronics. Cuban motifs and a full-throated, heated lyricism characterize the violin part. Perez-Velasquez’s note:

“un ser con unas alas enormes”, which translates as “a being with enormous wings”, was inspired by the 17th Freeman Etude for violin by John Cage. Within the hectic gestures that are a major part of this etude are passages reminiscent of Cuban rhythms. An important idea for Cage is that human beings can be better themselves by overcoming their limitations. This piece translates that spirit; humans improve through the use of their imagination. The title is also related to the literary work by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, “un hombre muy viejo con unas alas muy grandes”. The tape part, as my departure of style, is fragmentary, and contains processed excerpts from the Freeman Etude. The piece also includes concepts of silence that are present in non-Western music. The use of silence as a conscious part of the piece yet again reflects back to Cage.

For Robert Rowe’s piece, Melting the Darkness, the violin part was written and recorded first; the composer then created the electronics as an accompaniment to the violin part, using processed snippets of the violin-playing, samples of percussion instruments such as the tabla, and other synthesized sounds. The violin propels the narrative of the piece, with a warm, largely conventional style of violin-playing. Rowe writes:

Melting the Darkness was written for Miranda Cuckson and commissioned by the New Spectrum Foundation. The piece is built around contrasting styles of music and performance, ranging from gritty, rhythmic phrases to more lyrical and slowly shifting sonorities. These contrasts are amplified and elaborated by an electronic commentary consisting of fragmented and processed material from the violin performance as well as a number of secondary sources. The title comes from The Tempest (as it should when a piece is composed for Miranda): “…as the morning steals upon the night, Melting the darkness…”

I will be featuring an all-new interview with Miranda Cuckson on The Glass Sho very soon! Stay tuned!


The Glass Sho ~ Ecouter Ensemble/David Donnelly on His Documentary ‘Maestro’)


The latest installment of The Glass Sho features an interview with the flute/cello (and sometimes piano as well) trio Ecouter (Natalie Spehar, cello; Nikola Ragusa, flute; Amelie Brodeur, flute and piano). They discuss their all-new music and visual arts project titled Project “Three”, which will be released as a recording and toured in several locations, launching at Spectrum in NYC on 11/21, and features pieces commissioned from composers such as Rebecca Brandt, Cristina Spinei, Luci Holland, Clio Montrey, and several others.

A few minutes of the forthcoming recording (Luci Holland’s “Ash”) are previewed in this episode.
More details on the premiere and the tour here:
Introducing Project “Three” for 2014-2015

Also interviewed is film director David Donnelly, who discusses his documentary Maestro. The film stars conductor Paavo Jarvi and follows his day-to-day activities with the Cincinnati Symphony. Also featured in the film are appearances by Hilary Hahn, Lang Lang and Joshua Bell among others.

The film’s post-production has yet to be completed. David has a Kickstarter campaign set up to fund the costs of both the film’s stereophonic soundtrack as well as squaring royalties for some of the music selections.
Please contribute here:
Kickstarter for Maestro by David Donnelly

The Glass Sho: Episode 22 (Ecouter Ensemble/David Donnelly on His Documentary ‘Maestro’)

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The Glass Sho ~ Vicky Chow/Danielle Eva Schwob and Ashley Jackson


My podcast The Glass Sho has a new home: PRX.ORG
Until I can figure out a way to move everything over to the new address, please feel free to enjoy the episodes on and iTunes.
In any event, I hope you all continue to enjoy the podcast.

The latest episode features interviews with Bang On a Can All-Stars’ pianist Vicky Chow and composer Danielle Eva Schwob and harpist Ashley Jennifer Jackson.

Ashley Jennifer Jackson has a debut concert for Lincoln Center tomorrow night (which will feature the debut of Danielle Schwob’s piece “Lights In The Dark” written for harp and string quartet), Sept. 20th at 8 PM at New York City Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, Bruno Auditorium
The American Modern Ensemble Quartet will perform with Ashley in the second half of the program.
111 Amsterdam Avenue at W. 65th St, New York, NY 10023.
Admission is FREE, but tickets are still required; Please reserve here:

Vicky Chow and I discussed her new releases:
Tristan Perich’s work Surface Image on New Amsterdam, which will be released Oct. 28th, and her recording of Steve Reich’s Piano Counterpoint, included on the Reich compilation Radio Rewrite, also including performances by Alarm Will Sound and Jonny Greenwood, and that will be released on Sept. 30 on Nonesuch.
Hear exclusive excerpts from these recordings on the podcast link below.

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The Glass Sho: Episode 21 (Vicky Chow/Danielle Eva Schwob & Ashley Jackson)

THE GLASS SHŌ ~ Armando Bayolo Talks GNE and Bang On a Can


Composer-conductor Armando Bayolo had a few minutes to talk to The Glass Shō about his ensemble Great Noise Ensemble and their first time ever performing at the annual Bang On a Can Marathon in NYC, which will be happening this Sunday, June 22nd at 2 PM, running until 10 PM. Info can be found right here.
The full podcast can be heard on the link below as well as the one on the top right of this page.

The Glass Shō: Episode 10 (Armando Bayolo and Great Noise Ensemble)

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