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

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

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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 ~ Ecouter Ensemble (Preview of their Spectrum concert, 11/21)

The Glass Sho features an interview with the flute/cello (and sometimes piano as well) trio Ecouter (Above, from L to R: Amelie Brodeur, flute and piano; Nikola Ragusa, flute; Natalie Spehar, cello). 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

Friday, November 21st, 7 PM
Spectrum
121 Ludlow Street, 2nd Flr
New York, NY 10002

Click here for tickets

Ecouter is featured in the first half of this episode

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

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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