Thursday, November 18, 2010

Giving Thanks: Stucky

This Thanksgiving, we're sharing thankful classical thoughts. I wanted to share music and composers I am thankful for:
Composer Steve Stucky hails from Hutchinson, KS and grew up in Waco, TX. A violist and composer, Steve won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005.  We talked soon after, although he had been on my short list of composers for Composing Thoughts.  Later that year, he introduced me to a cellist who was performing in the area and was premiering a work of his.  Elinor and I connected and Steve let us broadcast the premiere! That summer I met up with Steve and Elinor in Itaca where Steve lived.
We became fast friends and have stayed in touch ever since. There were many more trips to Ithaca and we'd meet up in NYC or Dallas.  Currently Steve is chairman of the American Music Center and I was just elected to the board last May.
Steve still visits Texas and we we snapped this photo in Main Plaza downtown last November.  He'll be in Dallas again this week for his Rhapsodies and next May before the Carnegie Hall premiere of his August 4th, 1964.
Steve writes powerful and passionate music that I am grateful for and enjoy studying.
What music or composers are you thankful for? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Simply the greatest

Alondra de la Parra may be the world greatest living conductor.  Leading the Dallas Symphony Orchestra last night, de la Parra was magical, musical, and is simply the greatest.  The encore of Ginastera was electric - called for after the third curtain call, Alondra swayed with the DSO musicians and then led the audience in clapping and swaying as well.  The entire Meyerson fell under the spell of the Malambo!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Happy 20th!

Known for entertaining New York music lovers and passionately serving the city’s children, Manhattan New Music Project (MNMP) celebrates 20 years of innovation and excellence this month with an exciting benefit performance at Joe’s Pub. The November 30 show will pay tribute to two decades of creativity and musical distinction, during which MNMP has touched thousands of lives, earned praise from critics, and won major financial backing from the U.S. Department of Education.

Since its founding in 1990 by composer Paul Nash, MNMP has presented dozens of challenging, invigorating new works by artists including Neal Kirkwood and Bruce Williamson. In addition to concerts by professional musicians, MNMP has crossed artistic and social boundaries via its wide range of educational activities, which since 1993 have included work with students at more than 100 schools in all five boroughs of New York City. With programs ranging from one-day workshops to multi-year residencies, MNMP’s educational efforts have been recognized since 2002 by the Department of Education, which signaled its continued support of MNMP earlier this year with a $4.6 million grant to advance its special education programs.       

"We are thrilled to mark this milestone occasion with such an incredible show," said Unitey Kull, Executive Director. "For 20 years, MMNP has spent its time, energy and funds on manifold aspects of performance and education, and we couldn’t ask for a better lineup of artists to help us celebrate our accomplishments!"

For MNMP’s 20th birthday celebration at Joe’s Pub, organization favorites Darcy James Argue and Claire Chase as well as founder MNMP founding member David Taylor will perform. Argue, praised as a “wickedly intelligent” composer and bandleader by The New York Times, will debut a world-premiere commissioned by the organization in loving memory of MNMP founder Paul Nash. Argue will also present works from his latest album, Infernal Machines, which was named one of the best albums of 2009 by critics at 70 media outlets, including NPR, The Wall Street Journal and The Village Voice.

Claire Chase, a founder of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), will bring her own vibrant style to the November 30 show, performing Steve Reich’s Vermont Counterpoint for solo flute and tape. Applauded by Time Out New York for her "dynamic" and "indefatigable" work as a musical innovator, Chase has gained new fans since 2001 with ICE, described as a "brilliant and unexpected" musical "powerhouse" by The New Yorker.

Not to be outdone, MNMP founding member David Taylor will perform works by Paul Nash with surprise guests. Taylor has been described by theNew York Times as "a bass trombonist with a marvelously dark cavernous sound and an attack that is as vividly dramatic as it is virtuosic," was a founding member of Manhattan New Music Project in 1990. He has appeared as a soloist throughout the world, and recorded with Yo Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, and Wynton Marsalis, among many others.  He will perform works by MNMP founder Paul Nash with surprise guests.

Joe’s Pub will open its doors at 6 p.m., with the music to begin at 6:30 p.m.