Pulsing Music

I haven’t written in this space hace mucho tiempo, so I thought I’d give a quick update about what has been UP over the past few months. First of all, the inaugural set of concerts in that music festival that I run (along with Evan Kent), was a big success. All the performances were superb, everybody worked hard, and the results were, I think, really top-notch. The first night was sold out, and the second night (in a larger space) had a fantastic turnout too. We did a lot of stuff; it was a sort of survey of the New Music world in New York over the past 40 years or so. There was music by David Lang, Timo Andres, Matt Frey, and I conducted this great piece by Conrad Winslow. My solo piano situation, Piano Cycles, also had a performance, as well as a bunch of other pieces by NYU students. The NYU Contemporary Music Ensemble did pieces by Nico Muhly and Philip Glass (Motion and Music in Similar Motion, respectively, which is the best coincidence ever), and the latter had funky video projections also. The goal was, of course, to get people (performers and audiences) excited about New Music, and we got there, I think. Some exciting projects are arising from the festival, and there’s a sense of urgency among many of the musicians who were involved about doing more contemporary music. Veni, vidi, vici, one supposes. The whole event was really, er, Pulsing & Shaking.

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Simultaneously, I’ve been sort of in my bunker, trying to finish up a bunch of exciting projects. At the beginning of March, the NYU Symphony did this piece I wrote for them, Just for the Record, which was a lot of fun. (It came, as it were, right off the heels of Pulsing & Shaking, which ended up being One Crazy Weekend.) I also just wrapped up more orchestra music for the Dynamic Music Festival, another contemporary music festival, this time comprising a group of 16 composition students in and around New York. They corralled 15 musicians from the same geographic area to do the pieces, and the delightful David Bloom will be conducting everything. They’re currently running a KICKSTARTER, to which every one of you should be sending mad ¥¥¥¥¥¥. (The funds from the Kickstarter will be used to pay all the musicians, which is the exact correct move.)

Coming up, it’s a whole constellation of exciting projects. Right now, I’m working on more Twitter music, this time based on that thing that happened a few months ago on Twitter in which the comedian Kyle Ayers live-tweeted a str8 couple breaking up on a rooftop adjacent to him, in (where else) Brooklyn. After that, it’s some organ music, and then assorted things for smaller ensembles to be written over the summer. Before that happens, though, there are a bunch of performances scattered around the east coast between now and June (some frantic music in Pittsburgh, a setting of William Carlos Williams up at Bard Conservatory, this weird quartet for violin/cello/harp/piano in New York, harp music in Toronto, etc., plus Dynamic Music and twitter music).

What now feels like ages ago is I went to London back at the end of November. I sort of snuck out of New York before Thanksgiving and went to see what is most assuredly my favorite stage work, Philip Glass’s 2nd opera Satyagraha, in its third (!!) run at the ENO. I was Deeply Movèd; I cannot listen to the last 15 minutes or so without bursting into tears. I think the man sitting next to me was freaked out. It was so great, though, and you should all see it if it’s ever in your hometown. I saw it in 2011 at the Met and so began my obsession. Also in London:

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Jehovah’s Witnesses

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Tanzanian Visas

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Lucky Plant

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