Posts Tagged ‘new music’

Apollo’s Girl

October 4, 2015

Music, Video

apollo and lyre



It’s World Animal Day; just click on the links to celebrate.

JACK Quartet (Miller Theatre)/
Internet Cat Video Festival (MAD);

On September 17, Miller Theatre at Columbia University jackopened its 2014/15 calendar with a take-no-prisoners premiere of Simon Steen-Andersen’s Run Time Error, performed by the composer and the JACK Quartet. It was definitely a trip! I’ve never heard anything quite like it, and am taking the easy way out by pointing you to the NY Times‘ review of the concert by Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim.

Times’ review

Miller has become known for the adventurous programs devised by its director, Melissa Smey whose interests traverse the entire range of human history, whose choices require the use of the word “fearless” for every performance, and who appears to know just about everything. The real thrill is in seeing and hearing how she puts it all together.

jl adamsComing up: A triple exposure of John Luther Adams’ compositions (he won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 2014) on October 7, 9, and 10. But it’s not only what’s new but, sometimes, what’s old: a screening of Carl Dreyer’s iconic silent, The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), starring the equally iconic Falconetti, with 15th-passion-of-joan-of-arc-480x270century music by the Orlando Consort (October 14 and 16). There’s jazz, too. And, earlier this year (on April 1), even the launch of the Canine Composers series; surely a first, but likely to become an audience favorite:

It’s exhilarating to experience Smey’s seasons, which appear to become more innovative and appealing every year. Just get on board and stretch:

It was a triumph! The Pope had just left the pope
West Side and was on his way to Madison Square Garden. As the faithful streamed out of Central Park, another crowd surged into the Museum of Art and Design; the Internet Cat Video Festival (from the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis) was about to begin, and it was standing room only. cat vidThere were very few old ladies in sneakers, but hordes of millennials wearing them mad_exteriorinstead, and applause and laughter rose from the committed like a much-needed benediction. 

The Museum has unveiled a new season of events including cinema, performance, talks, encounters and workshops. Although I can personally recommend the upcoming 99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film (previously enjoyed at FSLC’s Human Rights Watch Festival);, MAAD’s season looks more than promising. The cinema, in particular, is well-curated, and free! You know what to do….. 


Cogito: John Branch

November 8, 2012



Making Music (Almost) Forever:
Elliott Carter

Composer Elliott Carter, who died on November 5th, barely a month short of what would’ve been his 104th birthday, continued to write and even to get out until recently. He attended a New York Philharmonic premiere of one of his pieces in June and completed his most recent work in August of this year.

Little more than a year ago, I saw Carter in public at one of the Works & Process events in the fall 2011 Guggenheim Museum schedule [guggenheim program]. The program gave five of Carter’s pieces, written between 1990 and 2008, to each of two young choreographers, Emery LeCrone and Avichai Scher. I had heard some of the music at one of LeCrone’s rehearsals and was nearly lost in its rhythmic and metrical complexities, but LeCrone and Scher, mastering that challenge, created dances that illuminated the music from two disparate angles, LeCrone dramatizing a kind of searching quality in the scores and Scher picking up on a lively, spritely spirit in the music. While their choreography was enjoyable as well as admirable, Carter himself was probably the real star of the evening, and at the evening’s end, he stood (with some difficulty) to acknowledge the applause of everyone present.

Though I’m not musically trained and know almost none of Carter’s other work, I gleaned a few impressions from that occasion. His longevity surpassed even that of those nearly eternal conductors of which the music world has seen many. And his compositional inventiveness was hard to compare to anything. Carter seemed to have an evergreen spirit: there was no sign (to me at least) of “late style” in any of the pieces performed that night, though he had been writing for 50 years or more when he produced them. What I heard, in short, was five examples of the “uniquely fresh … solutions for each musical situation” that composer Tod Machover spoke of in a reminiscence remembering carter of studying under Carter in the 70s.

Carter’s long run can be attributed to the Fates, those goddesses imagined by the Greeks to spin as well as finally to cut the threads of an individual life. But the use that Carter made of his allotted time–apparently never tiring in his work, much less stopping–was an accomplishment the rest of us can admire and hope to emulate.
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