Over the weekend, Judd Greenstein (left) -- composer, bandleader, scene activist and founder/codirector of New Amsterdam Records
-- e-mailed to share the sad news that ICO Music (formerly VIM:
Tribeca), the vital new-music concert series he ran with Kimball
Gallagher at the Ico Art & Music Gallery (formerly Gallerie
Icosahedron), had come to an end. For reasons Greenstein didn't go into,
he and Gallagher had been fired from their positions as cocurators of a
series that they had designed and developed.
This morning, composer Anthony Cornicello revealed all the sordid details on the new-music community blog Sequenza 21, and the situation is much uglier and more depressing than we'd figured. According to a memo posted by Cornicello, ticket prices are going up.
Presenters and artists will be paying a guarantee against potential
losses. No more intermissions. No more student discounts. And --
unspoken but evident -- no more fresh, adventurous new music of the
kind Greenstein and Gallagher were booking. The timing was especially
unfortunate since the series has really been building up an impressive
head of steam over the last few months, with performances by top-notch
young artists like mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, pianist Michael Mizrahi,
flutist Alex Sopp and violist Nadia Sirota, and a full slate of
impressive offerings scheduled through May.
Greenstein and Gallagher will surely bounce back -- Greenstein in
particular will no doubt be happy to spend more time booking New
Amsterdam showcases, releasing CDs and, hey, just composing. And
happily, new music is welcome in more spaces around the city than ever
before. Still, it's sad to see so vital and promising a series get
squashed so quickly and ignominiously.
A brief, newsy preview of the Brooklyn Philharmonic's 70th-birthday tribute to composer John Corigliano (photograph by Stephanie Kuykendal for The New York Times), a native son of Flatbush born on February 16, 1938. The festival starts this afternoon at 2pm at the Brooklyn Museum, with a chamber-music concert featuring Corigliano's Violin Sonata and Snapshot: Circa 1909. The main event is an orchestral concert this Saturday night at BAM, which includes a theatrically staged version of his Pied Piper Fantasy.
Complete details are available on the Brooklyn Philharmonic website, where you can watch a brief conversation between Corigliano and B.Phil music director Michael Christie in streaming video, and download a PDF of the complete schedule.
There's a lot more I'd like to have been able to say about Corigliano's music, not to mention his own view of his work, his thoughts on the current state of the concert-music world, his pride in his students (and not just those featured in Saturday night's post-concert hang at BAMcafe) and the reason he isn't especially interested in writing another opera. (He's learned not to say "never," though.) But space wasn't available; maybe that's an essay for another time.
One thing's certain, as La Cieca pointed out: Corigliano looks amazing. He could easily pass for 20 years younger. Being happy and fit clearly agrees with him, and his energy and enthusiasm were inspiring to behold. Here's to many more birthdays.
Also worth mentioning, although it didn't fit into the context of this piece, is another tribute scheduled for Sunday, February 3 at the Tenri Cultural Center. The American Modern Ensemble, in a concert called "1938," is playing pieces by a half-dozen newly minted or soon-to-be septuagenarians: Corigliano, John Harbison, Charles Wuorinen, Joan Tower, William Bolcom and Paul Chihara. The group will offer performances at 2 and 8pm; at least half the composers are confirmed to be attending.
Marillion - Friends and Family (Racket downloads)
Luciano Berio - Sinfonia; Ekphrasis - London Voices, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra/Peter Eötvös (Deutsche Grammophon); Coro - Cologne Radio Chorus and Orchestra/Luciano Berio (Deutsche Grammophon); Formazioni; Folk Songs; Sinfonia - Jard Van Nes, Electric Phoenix, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Riccardo Chailly (London); Sequenzas (complete) - various artists (Mode)
Slow Music Project - Aladdin Theater, Portland, OR, May 5, 2006 (DGMlive.com download)
Wayne Shorter - Native Dancer (CBS Jazz Masterworks)
Béla Bartók - Bluebeard's Castle - Eva Marton, Samuel Ramey, Hungarian State Orchestra/Ádám Fischer (CBS Masterworks)
Averse Sefira - Advent Parallax (Candlelight, due out Feb. 12)
Phillip Bimstein is a man of many talents: among the entries on his C.V. are "alternative-rock bandleader," "environmental activist" and "mayor of Springdale, Utah." But the thing for which he's best known is a body of inventive, deliriously fun electroacoustic compositions for live performers and sampled sounds. (I reviewed his most recent disc, Larkin Gifford's Harmonica, in The New York Times last March.)
Bimstein has just posted his latest creation, Cats in the Kitchen, on a special MySpace page. Created for oboist Michele Fiala and included on her new CD, The Light Wraps You (MSR), Bimstein's piece combines Fiala's instrument and Heidi Pinter's flute with familiar domestic sounds. Even before I heard it, I knew it was something certainmembersoftheclassical (and post-classic) blogosphere would need to know about, stat.
To say more would spoil it; go hear it for yourself. While you're at it, pay a visit to Bimstein's main MySpace page, where you can hear examples from Larkin Gifford's Harmonica, as well as its predecessor, Garland Hirschi's Cows, and more.