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


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

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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 ~ Eunbi Kim On Daniel Roumain’s ‘It Feels Like a Mountain, Chasing Me’

Inspired by the email subject line “re: last night” on a crowded NYC subway, genre-bending New York City-based pianist Eunbi Kim performs a program of classical and contemporary solo piano works inspired by dreams and delirium. This program includes contemporary jazz-influenced works from composers Fred Hersch, William Albright, Nikolai Kapustin, Toby Twining, and the world premiere of a commissioned work for piano and recorded voices (titled ‘It Feels Like a Mountain, Chasing Me’) by eminent composer Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR), who also serves as director for this unique, thought-provoking, experiential performance.

On the heels of a successful concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC earlier this month, Eunbi will be performing this program once again at Korean Cultural Services in NYC on February 26th, 2015 at 7 PM. Info is available here

Eunbi Kim sat down and did a little interview with me for The Glass Sho podcast (Episode 34). Below is an excerpt where she speaks about debuting DBR’s ‘Mountain’ onstage.

“I was kind of nervous about performing it for different reasons, and I had no idea how people might respond to it, but this past Saturday was the World Premiere of the piece at the Kennedy Center, and I was just so blown away by the response–It was totally astounding! And I think when I was practicing it, and because I’m the one playing it, and it’s my voice, I don’t really get the effect, and I had a few people listen to it, and they said ‘It’s very moving’, but I think there’s something very different when you hear it live, through the high-grade audio speakers–It’s in a live setting with a roomful of people, and you can see everyone’s reactions. Somebody was describing it as a really captivating experience, and one that’s very involved. For instance, there are so many parts where it has no resolve, you think it’s going to get to some great resolution or revelation, and it might not, and it goes in many different directions. Now I’m so excited to play it New York and see what the response is here, because in DC, everybody said it was the highlight of the program, and I didn’t expect that at all.”

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

Eunbi Kim

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 ~ Kristen Graves Discusses Her Music, Her Causes, and Pete Seeger

CT-based singer-songwriter Kristen Graves sat down and chatted with me for one of my best interviews featured on The Glass Sho podcast! She discussed Pete Seeger and her music, and also talked about how she became the 15th State Troubadour of Connecticut!

Listen to the podcast here:
The Glass Sho: Episode 28 (Kristen Graves)

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Kristen Graves

Simply Smiles
Click here to donate to Simply Smiles

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