Performances on the Fly

Given everything else, including a return to teaching after 13 months, I haven't been able to keep track of performances of my music lately. This Saturday, February 2, the wonderful Sarah Cahill is playing my On Reading Emerson at the Berkeley Arts Festival, along with works by Terry Riley, Stephen Blumberg, and others. "The new Arts Festival location is on Shattuck Avenue in downtown Berkeley. Details TBA at … [Read more...]

When Hobbies Get Out of Hand

Next week I'll have a short residency at the University of Kentucky at Lexington. Of public interest is that on Friday, Feb. 8, at 3:30 I'm giving the Rey M. Longyear Musicology Lecture, in honor of a well-known scholar in Classical and Romantic music, endowed by his widow. That's at the Niles Gallery of the Lucille Little Fine Arts Library. Later that evening at 7:30, there will be a concert of my music organized by grad-student percussionist Andy Bliss. He's premiering a vibraphone solo I wrote for him titled Olana, and his group will play my … [Read more...]

In Dispraise of Efficiency: Feldman

This long, long, 3800-word-plus blog entry is actually the paper on Morton Feldman I presented Sunday morning at the Seattle Art Museum, amid excellent papers by Elena Dubinets and Alex Ross. I could maybe have stuck it in an academic journal where 20 people would see it, and then I'd have a new line on my résumé: **************** The difficulty of assessing Morton Feldman's impact is that it is so pervasive. Music has by now been so changed by people who were changed by people who were changed by Feldman that I think it would be difficult to … [Read more...]

Attack of the New-Music Papparazzi

SEATTLE - What a fantastic and warm group of artists we got to Seattle for a three-day love- and music-fest. I forget how good a concert can be when I pick the composers myself. Plus, I met a lot of younger composers I'd only heard of. More about all that later when I'm not running through snow for the airport. For now: Judd Greenstein, Nico Muhly, Alexandra Gardner (Alex Ross's crowd): William Brittelle looking totally characteristic, Anna Clyne: Elena Dubinets and Bill Brittelle in background, and the Rossmeister, captured with sparks … [Read more...]

A Different Herd

SEATTLE - A couple of people requested that I blog my introduction to last night's Icrebreaker concert with the Seattle Chamber Players. The program consisted of: Kyle Gann: Kierkegaard, Walking Elodie Lauten: Scene from 0.02 (the Two-Cents Opera) Janice Giteck: Ishi John Luther Adams: The Light Within Eve Beglarian: Robin Redbreast William Duckworth and Nora Farrell: Cathedral The previous evening we had heard music by younger composers, curated by Alex Ross: Alexandra Gardner, Anna Clyne, Mason Bates, Judd Greenstein, Max Giteck-Duykers, … [Read more...]

Celebrity Sightings in Seattle

DJ Tamara, Trimpin, Arthur Sabatini (hotsy-totsy postmodern theorist and narrator of Bill Duckworth's Cathedral ensemble): Elodie Lauten and John Luther Adams: Composers Max Giteck-Duykers, Nico Muhly, Judd Greenstein, and Alexandra Gardner onstage talking to the audience: Me and John Shaw, blogger of Utopian Turtletop: Now will you believe we're not the same person? (I had just glimpsed the ghost of Ferruccio Busoni over the photographer's shoulder.) … [Read more...]

Last-Minute Change

I had blogged that my talk at the Icebreaker festival in Seattle tomorrow morning (Saturday) would be at 11 AM. The time has been changed to 10 AM. … [Read more...]

Feldman, Ross, and Gann, Together Again

As I off to the airport, I leave a reminder that Alex Ross and I will be going mano a mano in Seattle this weekend, to settle once and for all which of us can lavish more fulsome praise on the other, while each subtly trying to make his own book sound like the better read. The details about the … [Read more...]

Tempo Canon Roll Call

I recently had cause to mention my tempo canon for two pianos (or piano and tape), The Convent at Tepoztlan, and it occurred to me that the poor piece hadn't seen the light of day in 17 years. So I took a few spare hours and put it into Sibelius notation, which was a pain in the neck, because the two parts (performed with clicktrack) are out of kilter by a tempo ratio of 23:24. I had to input one part in an invisible 23:24 tuplet, and since Sibelius won't copy partial tuplets or paste into tuplets, there was no efficiency involved in its being … [Read more...]

Seattle, City of Dreams

Icebreaker is the name of a fantastic new-music ensemble in England, a space in Amsterdam that used to present new music and no longer does but still serves excellent food, and an annual festival presented by the Seattle Chamber Players. I can't imagine why that one word has so many new-music connotations. In any case, the next Icebreaker festival in Seattle is in three parts: two concerts of new music curated by Alex Ross and myself, respectively, January 25 and 26; and a Morton Feldman marathon on January 27. The festival takes place at On … [Read more...]

The Longest Symphony You’ll Never Hear

It seems like I'm writing an awful lot about European music lately, as though going to Europe focused me on a continent I hadn't paid attention to in a long time. Partly true, perhaps, but largely coincidental, I think. In any case, Michael Grossi has uploaded David Carter's elaborate Sorabji web site, the Jami was his Third Symphony, written between 1942 and '51. You can … [Read more...]