Bringing the “M” Word Back to Music
“On The New Canon this week, we gear up for American Mavericks with the festival’s featured violinist Jennifer Koh, asking: What makes a maverick?
Twelve years ago, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony presented twelve concerts honoring American composers who pushed the boundaries of classical music in the 20th Century, redefining the parameters of American sound and our contribution to a European-born genre. Twelve years later, as the SFS celebrates its own centennial, American Mavericks is back with a vivacious vengeance starting in the Bay Area before docking at Carnegie Hall.
We welcome to The New Canon Maverick violinist Jennifer Koh, who has no small relationship to some of the featured composers (from Adams to Cage), indulging in a sonic star-spangled banner of daring musicians that have forged our national sonic identity. As we listen to some of these composers in action, we invite you to join us in asking Koh, What makes a maverick? And who are our 21st-century mavericks?”
See the full article here, complete with some interactive utilities.
Q2 did not mention the American Public Media project inspired by MTT’s SFS and also named American Mavericks, a 13 week radio project guided by MTT and hosted by Suzanne Vega. While some of the audio features are no longer available, there is a vast treasure trove of material still available. Pease visit the site to learn more.The thirteen essays by Kyle Gann give quite a history of all of American music.
“On The New Canon this week, we look to another centennial with the 100th birthday of John Cage, asking disciple, composer and Avant Music Festival curator Randy Gibson: Where do we see the influences of Cage today?
Even more than last week’s birthday boy Philip Glass, John Cage is one of those composers whose influence is undeniable—just as undeniable as how heatedly he divides fans and detractors. And as the composer’s centennial approaches, we have more than 4’33 of silence to pour out in his memory. In fact, Glass and the minimalists can owe their reputation to Cage, who once quipped, ‘If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.’
First stop is the third annual Avant Music Festival, which opens on the Feb. 10, features an evening-long Cage marathon, and is co-curated by composer Randy Gibson. Randy takes brand loyalty to a whole new level with his tattoo, the opening to Cage’s iconic Winter Music, and makes the perfect person to break down Cage’s lasting influence.”
See the full post here, with some interactive utilities.
Celebrating 100 Years of Schoenberg’s Game-Changer
Friday, February 03, 2012
“On The New Canon this week, we celebrate the centennial of Schoenberg’s revolutionary Pierrot Lunaire with composer Steven Mackey, asking him on the eve of his own Pierrot homage: How much did one work rock the classical world?
Even if the world doesn’t end, 2012 is set to be a pretty banner year with a number of benchmarks to celebrate—including the 100th year of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, a landmark that our parent station WQXR deemed one of the year’s top five special anniversaries. There’s a lot being done to fête the forever-young work by everyone from Pierre Boulez to eighth blackbird.
Getting a head-start on the work’s October birthday is Philly-based Dolce Suono Ensemble, which makes its New York debut with newly-commissioned works celebrating Schoenberg (and Mahler!). With so much still owed to one work, we talk with one of these commissioned composers—Steven Mackey—about how the face of music was changed in the scope of 40 minutes. We’ll also hear from Mackey’s own Grammy-nominated work against sections from Pierrot as we explore this lasting legacy.”
See the full post here, with some neat interactive utilities.
Straddling the Divide between Indie Rock and Indie Classical
“On The New Canon this week, we chat with composer and Slow Six bandleader Christopher Tignor in advance of his performance with the genre-bending Ecstatic Music Festival, begging the question: Do we really need to distinguish between Indie Rock and Indie Classical?
Last year’s Ecstatic Music Festival was the bee’s knees and the dog’s bollocks, combining music from the independently-fueled classical and rock spheres and creating a veritable who’s who of the New York music scene. The idea was simple: Showing the connective tissue between these two seemingly disparate genres, but when you really chewed on all that was on offer, you started to wonder if there was more tissue than negative space and whether or not we really needed to distinguish between the two forms.
One of the champions of such world-rocking questions is Christopher Tignor, a composer and bandleader of Slow Six who rocks out classical and brings some epic symphonic measures to rock. With the return of EMF (including a show on Feb 9 with string orchestra A Far Cry and post-rock powerhouse This Will Destroy You), we pull Christopher into the Canon.”
“While I’m out of town this week, I thought it would be only apt to aim the Canon at composer Eve Beglarian. In a ridiculously cool project a few years in the making, Eve has taken one of her own recent trips—a four-month journey down the Mississippi River from Lake Itasca, Minnesota, to New Orleans—and turned it into a sprawling musical work entitled River Project. The composition will be presented at Abrons Art Center this month, and brings everyone from violinist Mary Rowell to Newspeak to Taylor Levine into the water.
In celebration of that and to cure your mid-January blahs with a bit of wanderlust, we’ll set sonic sail with Eve this week moving from chilly, northern works down to more balmy and heady music.”
See the full article here.
Keeping a foot in both worlds
Rachel Barton Pine and Mohammed Fairouz (Andrew Eccles (Pine), Samantha West (Fairouz)
“This week on The New Canon, we tango with violinist Rachel Barton Pine and composer Mohammed Fairouz to talk about a preponderance of pairs in music from composer and soloist to birth and death, all while wondering: Why does even great solo music demand at least two participants?
Maybe it’s the cold weather, but it’s easy to get philosophical this time of year, and lately I’ve been thinking a lot about duality. In the music world we suffer no shortage of potent pairings: Bell and Denk, itsnotyouitsme, David Finckel and Wu Han… But beyond the people we see onstage, there are other doubling-ups. Programming themes love to balance opposing ideals, and even in a solo setting there’s still the combination of composer and performer or performer and audience (does that give us two pair?).
With that in mind, we catch up this week with violinist Rachel Barton Pine, whose solo recital at the Rubin Museum this week touches on the themes of birth and death and features, in addition to music by Beethoven, Schubert and Prokofiev, a work written specifically for Pine by composer Mohammed Fairouz. We talk to both Rachel and Mohammed about the collaborative effort at work here, and about balance and dichotomy, this week while hearing their music in action.
See the full post here, complete with some interactive features.
Placing an ancient instrument in a modern context.
Friday, January 06, 2012
“This week on The New Canon, we pull some strings to talk about the harp with composer Kati Agócs and harpist Bridget Kibbey, asking the question: How does this ancient instrument thrive in a modern context?
Bridget Kibbey (Lisa Marie Mazzucco)
The harp has existed in some form since roughly 500 BC, though the argument can be made that its history stretches back even further. Its family of instruments is associated with Orpheus and over the last several hundred years has never slacked off in the “making gorgeous music” department.
So what happens to an instrument over the course of 2500+ years to keep it sustainable, vital and viable? We ask that question of harpist Bridget Kibbey, who takes to (Le) Poisson Rouge with the Metropolis Ensemble this month to perform an evening of new music written for the harp. Additionally, we’ll get a composer’s perspective on making modern sounds with an ancient instrument thanks to Kati Agócs, while hearing works that Agócs has written for Kibbey herself. Get ready for a blissful hour punctuated by plucky conversation.”
See the full article here, complete with some interactive utilities.