The Glass Shō ~ Lainie Fefferman Discusses Her 2 Premieres

Composer Lainie Fefferman sat down to do a really fun and informative interview with me for The Glass Sho podcast, and below are some excerpts from the chat about her 2 premieres next month. The rock oratorio Here I Am, featuring new music band Newspeak and a cappella trio Va Vocals (May 1st at Roulette in Brooklyn), and a stand-alone piece titled “The Pirate’s Daughter” to be premiered by ETHEL at their Homebaked Commssions concert (May 11th at DROM in Manhattan; Links with information are on the bottom)
You can listen to the full published interview on the Glass Sho link at the bottom or on the right of this page.

newspeak4[Pictured left, Newspeak]

“Here I Am is a rock oratorio…It’s just tough what to call it. It’s new music, but it’s got lots of rock elements in it. I call it an oratorio because it is in the tradition of biblical stories and people singing out these biblical stories often as an omniscient narrator and not always taking on a role as a biblical character. It’s the intoning of these biblical stories and it’s not staged, but a semi-staged production. It’s got a lot of theatrical elements. It doesn’t feel like a concert to me, and I felt that rock lets you know the sound of the music that’s going to happen in this oratorio, because it’s a singing-out of these crazy biblical stories, so, that’s where that came from! I don’t really know what it is, it’s some kind of big, crazy theatrical music extravaganza, so I call it an oratorio.”

Lainie Fefferman: Here I Am – Trailer from Lainie Fefferman on Vimeo.


“I’ve loved ETHEL forever! When I was just starting to learn about new music, one of the first CDs I bought was the 1st ETHEL CD with the arm. And I fell in love, I just decided that was it!
Ralph Farris called me some time ago, and I was actually having dinner with my family, and I said ‘Hello? Who is this number?’, and he said ‘Hi, this is Ralph Farris, can I talk to you?’, and I was talking to Ralph Farris! He said ‘We love your music, can you write a piece for us for our Homebaked Commissions?’, and I was over the moon! That was my dream commission!

Trailer for the Pirate’s Daughter

I had been doing a series of pieces for a bunch of friends that I’m calling my portrait pieces–I tape interviews that I have with the commissioning performer, and I use that as a tape track. I highly edit it, but I use it as a tape track behind the piece, so that the audience hears the piece and the performer’s voice speaking about music, life and whatever we happen to be talking about. So this is what I wanted to also do for ETHEL’s piece. It turns out they are hilarious! So, the piece has a lot of humor, but I talked to them…Because ETHEL’s been so big in my life, I ended up talking to them a lot about the history of the group–what makes them (in my mind) a really special quartet and what makes them really different from other string quartets, and in a way, the piece is an homage to what they’ve done for the New York music scene and new music in general.”

The Glass Shō: Episode 4 (Lainie Fefferman)

the glassshoA1

Click here for info/tickets for Here I Am at Roulette, May 1st

Click here for info/tickets for ETHEL’s Homebaked Commissions show featuring Lainie’s piece The Pirate’s Daughter at DROM, May 11th

Lainie Fefferman (


ETHEL ~ On Documerica and Related Things

ETHEL are L-R: Ralph Farris, viola; Tema Watstein, violin; Kip Jones, violin; Dorothy Lawson, cello; Photo courtesy of Stephanie Berger 9101612096_c9f4147912_k

The great NY ensemble ETHEL had a few minutes to sit down and chat about the current tour and their stage project Documerica, which will be presented this coming October 2nd through the 5th at BAM (Click here for info).

CM:  I’ve interviewed some of the former members of ETHEL separately, and also Kip and Tema separately last year when you guys just joined. What has it been like these days for the group? You’ve been together 16 years?

Dorothy: We’re getting into our 16th season, I think, yes!

Ralph: But it feels like 17! [laughs] Continue reading

Jennifer Choi ~ On the Premiere of Daniel Felsenfeld’s Bad Coffee Serenade and Related Things


Violinist Jennifer Choi, whom you know from having been a member of ETHEL, is out and about working on various things that will be coming up the pike in days to come–Among these things is the premiere of a work by Daniel Felsenfeld titled Bad Coffee Serenade with Ensemble 212 this Saturday, March 23rd, 8 PM at Good Sheperd-Faith Presbyterian Church. Click here or on the bottom link for tickets/info.
Jennifer spoke to me via Skype. Continue reading

A Couple of December Nights of Music in New York ~ Double Review

Pianist Jenny Q. Chai, image coutresy of Bob BrunoJennyQChai2012

Both written by Scottie Roche

Daniele and Sxip’s Hour of Charm
Le Poisson Rouge, NYC
Friday, November 30, 2012 (Yes, I know technically this was still November; apologies–ed.)

On Friday, November 30th, Le Poisson Rouge bubbled with enchantment as a cadre of performers generous of their time, talent, and hearts “charm schooled” an abundantly appreciative audience at Daniele and Sxip’s Hour of Charm. The electrically charged evening benefited direct-action relief for Hurricane Sandy and featured a wide array of talents including the ever-impressive violinist Todd Reynolds, post-classical string quartet Ethel, beatboxing extraordinaire Adam Matta, Danielle Eva Scwhob, Sxip Shirey and more! Continue reading

Danielle Eva Schwob & Sxip Shirey ~ On The Hour of Charm at LPR

Composer-singers (gifted musicians, too) Danielle Eva Schwob and Gene “Sxip” Shirey had some time to chat with me about their concert at Le Poisson Rouge in New York on Friday, November 30th at 8 PM (Doors open at 7 PM). The event, titled Danielle & Sxip’s Hour of Charm, is scheduled to feature not only these folks but also the likes of Todd Reynolds, ETHEL, clarinetist Ned Rothenberg, harpist Bridget Kibbey, throat singer Liron Peled, beatboxer Adam Matta, and singer-songwriter Corn Mo among several others.

The two composers were originally scheduled to put on a chamber concert with SYZYGY, an ensemble that will still be playing at this show, and they were in the midst of raising money for it, but Hurricane Sandy, and the need for aid for the damages and losses forced the two to make the event a charity concert, from which the funds will be going to local relief efforts. Continue reading

ETHEL ~ Meet The New Guys, Kip & Tema

ETHEL are L to R: Ralph Farris (viola), Tema Watstein (violin), Kip Jones (violin), and Dorothy Lawson (cello)

Renowned new music ensemble ETHEL has been undergoing a changing of the guard. After the recent departure of violinists Cornelius Dufallo and Jennifer Choi, the violin chairs are being filled by two newcomers, Tema Watstein and Kip Jones, and these two, along with founding members Ralph Farris and Dorothy Lawson (This version of the group has taken to the moniker ETHEL 3.0), will be not only touring and playing some notable shows coming up (including a show at the Park Armory that Kip and Tema will be discussing with me among other things) but also making some new recordings. Continue reading

Cornelius Dufallo: Preview of Journaling, Part Four at Bargemusic

Violinist-composer Cornelius “Neil” Dufallo is performing a solo concert at New York’s well-renowned Bargemusic on May 31st at 8 PM. This will be Neil’s first solo concert in the US since announcing his departure from ETHEL earlier this month.

The concert is the fourth installation of his “Journaling” series, and is also the official CD release party for his upcoming CD of the same title.
The concert will feature works by Dufallo himself, as well as music by JacobTV, Patrick Derivaz and many others.

Neil was interviewed by The Glass last month and talked about the series and this show in particular:

“I began the concert series ‘Journaling’ in 2009 to document my work with extraordinary living composers while also creating a repertoire of twenty-first century violin music. I collaborated with each of the represented composers between 1996 and the present, through my work in the Flux Quartet, Ne(x)tworks, and Ethel. With the exception of two collaborative pieces (by Corey Dargel and Patrick Derivaz) all of the pieces have been composed for either solo violin or violin + laptop computer. The next concert, ‘Journaling (Part Four)’ is coming up May 31 at Bargemusic. The composers for that show are JacobTV, Kinan Azmeh, Svjetlana Bukvich, Tim Hodgkinson, Paul Brantley, and Patrick Derivaz.”

The pieces promise to be as diverse as they are exciting and colorful. Continue reading