Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Composers nodding

But when will they make Carter, Corigliano, Zwillich and of course for Soho the dog, Mahler & Strauss?!

I would like to buy a Roxanna Panufnik and Steven Stucky...

Latest Carter

It was a stellar night in NYC with the world premiere of Elliott Carter's Clarinet Quintet with Charles Neidich and the Juilliard Quartet.

Each member also played a solo work by the 99 year old composer, with MVP awards to Ronald Copes and Samuel Rhoads who especially shone in their spotlight moments.

After intermission, Carter joined the players on stage with Juilliard Dean and Provost Ara Guzelimian for a discussion of the new quintet - and you would have never believed Carter was in his 90s, with wit, humor, expression and gestures of a 50 year old, but the wisdom only he could convey.
My favorite quote from Carter comes from mentioning a recurring effect throughout the 20 minute work, a snap pizzicato. "The pizzicato you hear in the cello and then throughout the work is unrelated to the intervals and notes in this quintet - I put it in there like a splash of color in a painting."
It was a delight to hear the work twice in the evening.

Dr. Dick's entry is here on his blog. Read about hearing all five String Quartets last January here and about "Ten for Carter" here.

Election news

Pennsylvania Superdelegate Bill George announced his support for Hillary Clinton today.
George said Clinton was the best equipped to beat Sen. John McCain in a general election and deliver real solutions to the challenges facing the working families of Pennsylvania and the nation.

“Hillary Clinton has the strength and experience to jumpstart the economy and rebuild the middle class,” George said. “Working families in Pennsylvania overwhelmingly favored her in last week’s primary, and I feel that she is our strongest candidate to carry Pennsylvania in November and win back the White House.”

George has been a DNC member since 1996 and is President of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Catching up

My friend Paul, seen singing below, and I performed Friday night at MJ's Coffeehouse in Annville, PA. The crowd was small but appreciative. The owner, Skip Hicks, is a real joy and gentleman - stop by, have a refreshing drink and tell John & Paul sent you.
Earlier that day, we wrapped up the spring membership campaign at WITF-FM, with a successful $112,000 raised! Helping out the entire 9 day campaign were volunteers like these from St. Ann's Retirement Village:

Monday, April 28, 2008


The fabulous Alex Shapiro tagged me in a meme, so here goes:
1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

My cubicle is lined with books at the top right corner, and closest to my reach was "When I'm Dead All this will be yours!" - Joe Teller, a portrait by his kid, Teller
Page 123 is a cartoon drawn by his dad with this caption:
The bookies used to meet at the flower stand.

I'll tag Dr. Dick, Mark Grube, Joyce DiDonato, Adam Carriere, and Molly Sheridan. All others are equally welcome to jump into this tide pool of literary goofiness. The more, the merrier!

Thursday, April 24, 2008


So I mentioned protesters at my gig Monday on facebook, hard to believe in Annville! But yes, there are idiots everywhere I suppose.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Emerson String Quartet

I heard the Emerson String Quartet last night (Friday) at Market Square Church in Harrisburg.
Before the performance, Eugene Drucker read from his book, The Savior.
It was the coolest thing since sliced bread. Really.
They performed with passion and confidence rarely seen on stage.
But it was with ease and musicality.

They played an all modern program, and encored Bach!

Afterwards they greeted the audience and signed autographs.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Grammy filled summer

April 30 is Deadline for Youth to Apply for Summer Program that Brings Them TogetherWith Outstanding Artists and Music Industry Professionals
WHO: GRAMMY® Award-winning and -nominated professionals, industryspecialists affiliated with The Recording Academy® and high school students from across the United States. Past teaching artists include: recording artist Brandi Carlile; GRAMMY Award-winning songwriter/producer/recording artist Lamont Dozier; multi-GRAMMY Award-winning group Earth, Wind & Fire; DJ Faust; multi-GRAMMY winning producer David Foster; multi-GRAMMY winning producer and Recording Academy Board chair Jimmy Jam; singer/songwriter Josh Kelley; saxophonist and KTWV–FM (The Wave) radio host Dave Koz; songwriter/producer/recording artist Jeff Lorber; Minor Productions Inc. President/CEO and "American Idol" musical director Rickey Minor; DJ Shortee; GRAMMY winning guitarist Steve Vai, Sublime's Eric Wilson and GRAMMY Award-winning film score composer Hans Zimmer.
WHAT: Fourth Annual GRAMMY Camp® — The program offers 75 selected highschool students a 14-day interactive residential summer music experience. Focusing on all aspects of commercial music, this unique opportunity provides instruction by industry professionals in an immersive creative environment with cutting-edge technology in professional facilities. GRAMMY Camp is sponsored in part by Epiphone Guitar.
The curriculum engages students in the technical aspects of creating, performing and recording and emphasizes new and emerging music technologies. The program offers 15 music career tracks: Audio Engineering; DJ-Remixing; Film Scoring; Music Journalism; Music Production; Video Game Music and Sound Design; and performance tracks in Keyboard; Guitar; Bass; Drums; Saxophone; Trumpet; Trombone and Songwriting. A new track this year, Concert Promotion/Production, is being coordinated by AEG Live. All tracks culminate in media projects, CD recordings and/or showcase performances. GRAMMY Camp will be held at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music and other professional venues throughout Los Angeles, Calif.
WHERE: University of Southern California Thornton School of MusicLos Angeles, CA 90089 and other professional venues throughout Los Angeles, Calif.
WHEN: Online application now available at in the GRAMMY Camp section. Student and counselor deadline to apply is April 30, 2008 GRAMMY Camp runs July 12 – 26, 2008
The GRAMMY Foundation was established in 1989 to cultivate the understanding, appreciation and advancement of the contribution of recorded music to American culture — from the artistic and technical legends of the past to the still unimagined musical breakthroughs of future generations of music professionals. The Foundation accomplishes this mission through programs and activities that engage the music industry and cultural community as well as the general public. The Foundation works in partnership year-round with its founder, The Recording Academy, to bring national attention to important issues such as the value and impact of music and arts education and the urgency of preserving our rich cultural heritage. For more information, please visit

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Schoenberg/Sibelius Release Party

It was a blast at Drom in the East Village Saturday night/Sunday morning!

Hilary Hahn played solo Bach (Hahn Solo if you will) and also played with Josh Ritter, Gabe Kahane and Tom Brosseau.
Gabe also accompanied Hilary in the slow movement of the Sibelius Concerto, and my friend Satomi turned pages!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Name that tune, er theme

From my playlist today, 4/11:
Henry Purcell: The Old Bachelor: Overture
John Rutter: A Clare Benediction
Ottorino Respighi: Church Windows, The Matins of St. Clare
Thomas Baltzar: A Division on 'John, Come Kiss Me Now'
Claude Debussy: Clair de lune

Also seen

Myself and Pam Tronsor at the Bravo! A Toast and Tribute to Mike Greenwald.


A lovely evening last night for Mike Greenwald at WITF's PMC.

On the upper left is Mike with Elizabeth Schindler and Suzanne Graney, the event coordinators for WITF.
Below right is "toaster" Ellen Brody Hughes speaking with Harrisburg Symphony Music Director Stuart Malina.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Holy cow, they cancelled a piece for its loudness! Read the details here.

Five Things about Gabriel Kahane

I heard Gabriel Kahane at Joe’s Pub Wednesday night. If Billy Joel and Paul McCartney can write “classical music”, why can’t composers write “pop music”?
1. Gabe Kahane is a good singer, great pianist and out of this world showman. His wry and wonderful wit comes through his music and lyrics. Wednesday night Kahane shared his sounds with humor, humility and always in an entertaining way.
2. Ensemble with the four man band, including: piano, banjo, violin, clarinet, bass clarinet, drums, guitar, electric bass, toy piano and a melodic, was generally tight and toe tapping. Less stellar was the drummer playing banjo – it just didn’t click and wasn't heard very well – perhaps it was his trip from Seattle. Later when Kahane picked up the banjo, it was heard fine and in time!
3. Rob Moose played excellent lines whether it was on violin, guitar or bass. Also Sam Sadigursky shone in his bass clarinet lines, and as a toy pianist, rocked the joint.
4. New songs including Keen were charming, including a Pan-Am bag on the subway inspired song written that day – although the riffs were cool, the selections weren’t always memorable.
5. The highlight of the evening was Kahane’s Craiglistlieder, a 21st Century masterpiece, both a virtuoso vehicle for Gabe singing and playing, and a biting commentary. Operatic riffs including pseudo recitative and rhythmic variety made this in a word, perfect.
The show was short but sweet – keep an eye out for the new album in August and go to experience the Craiglistlieder for yourself, you’ll be glad you did!

Monday, April 07, 2008

New Hilary CD

There's been much waiting for the new Hilary Hahn CD - and it comes out this next week!!!
Grammy Award-winner Hilary Hahn to Perform at Drom to
Celebrate New Schoenberg/Sibelius Disc
With special guests Josh Ritter, Tom Brosseau and Gabriel Kahane

New York, NY – After her sold-out performance at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Saturday, April 12th, Grammy Award-winning violinist Hilary Hahn will head downtown to the recently opened club Drom to host a release party for her new album, the Schoenberg and Sibelius concertos on Deutsche Grammophon, with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Swedish Radio Symphony. To help celebrate the release, Hahn will be joined in performance by a trio of unique singer/songwriters: Josh Ritter, Tom Brosseau and Gabriel Kahane.

Hilary Hahn continues to revel in unanticipated repertoire for her recordings. On the surface, the Violin Concerto of Arnold Schoenberg, finished in the mid-1930s during his exile in America, is not an obvious pairing for Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto, written at the start of the 20th century. As Hahn explains it, she knew that this would be many listeners’ first experience of Schoenberg’s probing, virtuosic music. Accordingly, she says, “I wanted to pair the Schoenberg with something that would reflect its dark lyrical side, as well as its playfulness, from an unexpected angle. The Sibelius concerto seemed to me the perfect foil. The Sibelius is often presented as either a highly Romantic work or as very cold, but I think that it carries within it other aspects that don’t always rise to the surface in traditional couplings. I thought that the Schoenberg and the Sibelius, side-by-side, might bring out unexpected nuances in each other.” The album will be released in the US on April 8th.

The new album and double performance in New York on April 12th are the latest in a series of projects stemming from Hahn’s attention to unexpected musical and thematic threads across the traditional boundaries of classical music. In 2004, Hahn was the violin soloist on the Oscar-nominated soundtrack to M. Night Shyamalan’s film The Village; in 2005 and 2006, she appeared as a guest on albums by the band …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead and wrote and performed violin parts on singer-songwriter Tom Brosseau’s record Grand Forks before appearing with him on several of his record release shows. She continues to tour with Josh Ritter this spring, after inaugurating their performance collaboration last summer at the Ravinia, Aspen, Verbier and Eastern Music festivals; next season, they will play a show together in Tokyo.

Gabriel Kahane, Tom Brosseau and Josh Ritter have each found their ways into the indie spotlight with their particular perspectives on and contributions to the contemporary American songbook. Kahane has been trained in the classical and jazz traditions and now, armed with technical virtuosity and an intensely deep gift for writing, he has won over fans and critics with his affiliation of raucous pop culture and deft high-art craft. Of the North Dakota–raised and –inspired Brosseau and his latest album Grand Forks, Time Out London said, “There are some singers, a rare few, whom it’s hard to believe are really from this time, such is the otherworldly pull of their voice... Dakota songman Tom Brosseau is one of these strange birds.” Ritter has quickly caught the attention of anyone interested in the progression of American folk music, having recently released his fourth critically-acclaimed LP. Jon Pareles wrote of him in the New York Times, “Josh Ritter reaches back to folk-rock that was invented before he was born - not just for its sound, but for its ambitions.”

Hilary Hahn will perform excerpts from the Schoenberg/Sibelius album and will join Kahane, Brosseau and Ritter on selections of their original works.


I've just had a breakthrough uncovering relatives of Johann Sebastian Bach. It turns out there were more children and relatives of the great master in the US.
Thanks to Elinor Frey for discovering:
L.O.L. Bach (Loretta Oprah Lorraine) "Laughing Daughter"
O.M.G. Bach (Otto Michael Gottfried) "Pious son"
W.T.F. Bach (Wilhelmine Trombette Friederica) "Inquisitive daughter"

There turns out other relatives included:
A.F.K. Bach (Alfred Friedrich Koppel) "Composed away from the clavier"
B.F.F. Bach (Bartholomew Friedemann Francis) "Trusted friend"
B.R.B. Bach (Brunnhilde Rachel Barbara) "The travelling sister"
B.W.V. Bach (Baptiste Wilhelm Viet) "Genealogical brother"
C.Y.A. Bach (Catharina Yetta Augusta) "Much adieu daughter"
N.O.O.B. Bach (Noah Oren Ornette Bernhard) "Unexperienced cousin"
D.0.0.D. Bach (Dietrich something something Donner) "City slicker whose middle initals appear to be zeros"
P.W.N. Bach (Phillip Wotan Nicholas) "Wealthier and arrogant uncle"
S.N.A.F.U. Bach (Sebastian Nibelung Altnikol Froh Ubung) "Always wrong bungling cousin"
T.E.H. Bach (Theodore Edward Hermann) "The dyslexic brother"

There is more advice here if you run across these or other composers in concert and want to txt someone! Also, Dr. Dick's out of sight car! And you can always have a laugh with our friend Peter Schickele at the PDQ Bach website!

Happy April

Enjoy Poetry Month with the latest from wordsmith Adam Carriere and company:

Saturday, April 05, 2008

While in Ithaca

I went by, but hadn't made an appointment, the Karel Husa Archive at Ithaca College. I'll have to come back!

Tween a rock garden

I enjoyed a cigar and the rock garden on campus before the concert...

More on the stage

Steve Stucky gave a sweet, funny, and touching tribute to his friend Chris Rouse at the Eissner Awards last night.

CCA Artist of the year

It was nice to see Christopher Rouse receive the Eissner Artist of the Year Award last night!

Brave New Works performed Rouse's Compline, a charming and evocative hommage to Rome.

Friday, April 04, 2008


Elinor Frey teaching at Ithaca College.

What's the score

Cornell students following a work by Chris Rouse during a seminar this afternoon.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


Be sure to checkout my latest NY review over on Sequenza21:
BMOP rocked!


Music at Gretna has 24 events in 31 days!

August 1, 8:00 p.m. – Jimmy Sturr, polka king
August 2, 8:00 p.m. – The New Black Eagles Jazz Band
August 3, 11:00 a.m. – Jazz Worship Service with Rev. D. Darrell Woomer and The New Black Eagles Jazz Band
August 3, 7:30 p.m. – Wister String Quartet, with Natalie Zhu, piano
August 8, 8:00 p.m. – Maria Bachmann, The Red Violin
August 9, 2:00 p.m. – New Century Saxophone Quartet
August 9, 8:00 p.m. – The Capitol Steps
August 10, 7:30 p.m. – Rodney Mack’s Philadelphia Big Brass
August 14, 8:00 p.m. – A Midsummer Serenade, with Priscilla Porterfield and Tom Brown
August 15, 8:00 p.m. – The Lascivious Biddies
August 20, 8:00 p.m. – Audubon String Quartet, with Carl Ellenberger, flute, and Ting-Yu Chen, dance
August 21, 2:00 & 8:00 p.m. – Molière’s Tartuffe, or The Hypocrite
August 22, 2:00 p.m. – Audubon String Quartet, with Allen Krantz, guitar
August 22, 8:00 p.m. – Leon Redbone
August 23, 2:00 & 8:00 p.m. – Molière’s Tartuffe, or The Hypocrite
August 24, 7:30 p.m. – Audubon String Quartet, with Frank Shaw, viola, and Jeremiah Shaw, cello
August 26, 8:00 p.m. – Simon Tedeschi, piano, with Owen Watkins, saxophone
August 28, 8:00 p.m. – Veasley-Beasley-Loeb Jazz Ensemble
August 29, 7:30 p.m. – Jazz Twin-bill with Cyrus Chestnut and Nnenna Freelon
August 30, 2:00 p.m. – The Four Freshmen
August 30, 8:00 p.m. – Regina Carter
August 31, 7:30 p.m. – Lark Chamber Artists, with Anna Polonsky, piano

Gretna Music Summer Internship Opportunity
Gretna Music wants YOU! Sure, most of you who receive this update have past the stage where you’re looking for summer internships. But we’ll bet you know some bright young folks who haven’t. And who better than you to put them in touch with us?
Our full-time summer Arts Management Internship position runs from late May through early September. Exact start and end dates are flexible. This internship affords the successful candidate the opportunity to work with Gretna Music’s staff and board to gain valuable experience in areas such as customer service, public relations, promotions, corporate and community relations, artist relations, and marketing, as they relate to arts management.
Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, and should possess good interpersonal, writing, research, and design skills. An ability to learn quickly and apply existing knowledge and experience to new situations is especially valued. Applicants will need to supply their own housing and reliable transportation, and be willing to work weekends. A stipend of $3,000 is included with this position.
A sample of responsibilities could include order processing, writing press releases and other promotional materials, researching and writing program notes, artist hospitality, box office and general support. We will tailor the final job description to fit the successful applicant’s interests and skills. This position is particularly suited for students with interest in arts management, writing, communications, public relations, marketing and of course music.
Many of our past interns learned of this opportunity through friends and family who are Gretna Music enthusiasts. You are the best eyes and ears we have!
For more information about this summer internship opportunity with Gretna Music, please call Carl Kane at 717-361-1508. Thank you.

Strange bedfellows


New Company to Leverage 30 Million Unique MySpace Music Traffic to Activate Monetization Around Music Content

MySpace Music to Offer Digital Downloads, Ad-supported Audio and Video Streaming, Mobile Storefront and Sponsorship Solutions

LOS ANGELES—April 3, 2008—MySpace, the world’s biggest and most popular social network, and three of the world’s largest music companies, SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group (NYSE: WMG), today announced the formation of a landmark joint venture, MySpace Music. The new company marries the most popular music community in the world with the most comprehensive catalogue of music content available online, unveiling a host of new music services and monetization models. The financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

The product vision for MySpace Music is to build on the existing traffic, credibility, and popularity of the MySpace Music platform ( by creating a fully integrated 360 degree global music solution. MySpace Music will feature the network’s first integrated e-commerce solution and evolve the user’s ability to discover, share, and socialize by adding commerce and music management tools. The new offering will seamlessly transform the MySpace Music experience into a groundbreaking mix of community, commerce, and discovery. The product will roll iteratively in the coming months.

The MySpace Music product will integrate new content and music capabilities across three primary areas: the MySpace Music home page, the site’s more than 5 million artist profile pages, and individual user home pages, providing bands and fans multiple touch points to discover, share, and purchase music and merchandise in one place for the portable device of their choosing. MySpace Music empowers bands and fans with unprecedented digital music service and e-commerce platform within MySpace that will include DRM-free digital downloads, ad-supported audio and video streaming, a mobile storefront (powered by News Corporation’s Jamba mobile company), as well as various sponsorship solutions.

For users, MySpace Music will have the richest music experience on the Web by enabling the site’s global community to discover music and then download, stream and personalize music content. The personalized music management product will allow users to control their entire MySpace Music experience directly from their user page by creating playlists and having access to enhanced purchase opportunities and search functionality.

For the labels’ artists, the formation of MySpace Music will offer them the opportunity to provide their fans with digital downloads as well as mobile ringtones, SMS, and artist wallpapers, all directly from their artist profiles. Additionally, artists will be able to evolve their MySpace experience beyond the promotional by now monetizing their full repository of content with a 360 degree solution including not only the sale of digital content, but also physical goods such as t-shirts and concert tickets.

Already one of the cultural cornerstones of MySpace, the new company is uniquely positioned to quickly launch its new music product with nearly 30 million unique monthly visitors for the Music channel and its more than 5 million artists. As the most popular music community in the world today, MySpace Music has the greatest collection of artist profiles, tour dates, artist blogs, music videos, and artist photos in the world. Additionally, MySpace Music has the participation of millions of major, indie, and unsigned artists via their music profiles and interaction with the MySpace community.

Immediately, the new MySpace Music will be able to tap into the world’s largest library of content to offer unique audio and video content for the MySpace community. MySpace’s rich history with the music community has already included album exclusives from the biggest major and independent acts in the world. The new library will enhance existing MySpace Music franchises including Secret Shows, MySpaceLIVE!, Transmissions, and The List.

The new company will be based in Los Angeles and will have a dedicated executive management team to oversee the business. In the coming months, MySpace Music will begin to roll new content and product functionality within the existing music channel. The process will be iterative to take full advantage of the popularity and existing traffic to the Music channel already booming within MySpace.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Talkity talk

From my friend Jeff, taken at a pre-concert talk for Concertante, March 21st, 2008 at HACC.
Percussionist Chen Zimbalista was a real delight to interview and discuss the music for the program!

Da finals

Go Wichita Wingnuts!
Vote here for my friend Joe's awesome logo for the minor league team in Wichita, KS: