Bang On a Can All Day ~ 2013 Marathon

Bang On a Can All-Stars performing at the Bang On a Can Marathon at Pace University (Photo courtesy of Glenn Cornett)bangonancan7

Arts Brookfield
in cooperation with River To River Festival and Pace University
2013 Bang On a Can Marathon
Michael Schimmel Center at Pace University, NYC
Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Ok, well here we go again!

Another amazing day of polarizing music from Bang On a Can went down this past Sunday, but I need to get something off my chest first–I did not like the change of venue. It was too intimate. I guess I’m spoiled by the gorgeously expansive Winter Garden at the World Financial Center, but sadly the garden just had to be scheduled for renovation for the planned duration of the marathon, so the Michael Schimmel Center for The Arts at Pace University was chosen for this year’s show. People were saying that this venue had nice acoustics, and suited quieter pieces like Hans Abrahamsen’s Schnee (performed here delicately and briskly by Talea Ensemble; mind you, a very challenging piece for first timers as it’s a hour in length) but there was something intense about heavy artsy culture being plopped into the laps of mainstream New Yorkers that I sort of missed from the WFC shows. Continue reading

Debbie Chou

Photo courtesy of James M. Graham

Debbie Chou (I believe it’s pronounced “chō”) is a wonderful singer-songwriter in the New York area that is both a solo artist and is also the featured keyboard player in The Barrens. While that band has a much louder sound, the softer-but-still-edgy side of Debbie can be found on her fine solo album titled Lovebug (ACME and Newspeak’s violinist Caleb Burhans, btw, makes a special appearance on this recording). Check the CD out here or on the link on the bottom. Debbie also loves cats, and I really should have asked her to let me see the cats while we were in conference because I could hear them meowing in the background. You’ll also find out here that Debbie herself is an avid meower.

Debbie had some time to talk via skype.

CM: Who was your biggest influence for your songwriting?

Debbie: I was very inspired by Rufus Wainwright and his album All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu.  I went to see him play at Prospect Park a couple of years ago, and it was just amazing! From that, I just started to write a lot of piano-based music. Continue reading

Roomful of Teeth

The vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth are putting together their debut CD for New Amsterdam Records, and they need your support. The recording, which will be featuring music that intends to explore diverse styles of vocalization from around the world, is being covered through that ever-popular crowd-funder known as Kickstarter. The funding is largely for the production and packaging costs of the release.
And the music on the CD is being written by a lineup of composers that already looks like it’s worth every bit of the money: Sarah Kirkland Snider, Judd Greenstein, Caleb Burhans, and Rinde Eckert, just to name a few!

You can contribute to the drive up here or on the bottom.

Artistic director/founder Brad Wells and singer-composer Caroline Shaw from the group had a few minutes to discuss the project. Continue reading


The New York-based band Newspeak had time for me, so, I had time for them too!

Newspeak, the NY-based new music group is an exciting blend, or perhaps they were the missing element between, classical and rock, possibly in an even more organic connection than any prog-rock band has ever pretended to be in, but even if that weren’t the case, it is a superb ensemble featuring David T. Little (drums–also the band’s director, and a well-known composer in his own right), Eileen Mack (clarinets–also the band’s co-director), Mellissa “Melly” Hughes (voice, electronics), Taylor Levine (electric guitar), Caleb Burhans (violin, voice), Brian Snow (cello, bass), James Johnston (synthesizer) and Peter Wise (percussion).
The group is making its Bang On a Can marathon debut this Sunday at said marathon at the World Financial Center in NY (If you want to see them specifically, they’re on at 4 PM, but I suggest you see much more of the day’s music acts that are every bit as good–Still, Newspeak is not to be missed!).
David and Eileen spoke to me via skype. Continue reading