by Daniel Felsenfeld for SundayArts
Hello Thirteen readers.
I’m pleased to be your new blogger about classical music. A little about me: while yes I too am a freelance journalist, I’m mostly a composer. So I’ll be bringing you things from that perspective, writing about concerts I’ve seen (or intend to see), CDs I’ve come to love (or not), books I’ve read, etc. Also I’ll share a little bit about life as a working artist in the trenches of New York City, my favorite place on earth.
I’m a huge believer in and enthusiast for “the blog” as a medium. I’ve run my own for years, and I think it is not only an important outlet, but is now an entrenched part of how we as thinkers (not to mention do-ers and consumers) shape our world. I read people’s thoughts online all the time—be they the thoughts of a volunteer or a professional writer at, say, the Times. Either way, this kind of fluid content is how information now gets passed, and I’m honored to be part of it in this professional capacity. And if this is my job—writing about the thing I love in the city I love—how hard is that, really?
This weekend, for example, is pretty choc-a-bloc full with musical events—which is good because as a chore I’ll be spending the next few days trapped in an airless room at An Important Musical Organization judging a competition. It’ll be not only good but necessary to counter that. Tonight I’ll be seeing that much-adored harpist-songwriter Joanna Newsom at Town Hall. (I am set to love her, I really want to love her, but so far I’m not loving her—tonight I hope will change all of that.) Tomorrow night, at Galapagos in DUMBO to hear Archipelago, which is apparently a great group (it will be my first experience with them)—though I’m really there to hear my friends soprano Melissa Hughes and composer (and singer!) Matt Marks perform his own piece, “The Little Death.” Both of these are sponsored by the formidable New Amsterdam Records, one of those “indie” labels that is genuinely independent. And Matt’s music is rangy and fascinating, like little other music I know—an oddly delicate send up of a lot of Christian pop, pop culture, and deep into issues of sex and death.
Past that, on Saturday night, I’ll be at the Juilliard School in the brand new state-of-the-art performance space, the Rosemary and Meredith Wilson Theatre, to hear one night of the Beyond the Machine festival. While I am there to hear my friend Paola Prestini’s piece “Listen, Quiet” (she is an absolutely fantastic composer: highly recommend her CD Body Maps on the John Zorn’s Tzadik label), I’m also looking forward to works by Edward Bilous, Kiresten Kelly, Michelle DiBucci, Milica Paranosic, Jakub Ciupinski and Cristina Spinei.
Somewhere in there, I’ve a piano trio (which is a piece for piano, violin and cello) for the Finistera Trio and a whole passel of teaching to do, so it promises to be the busiest of weekends. But full of music, which is how I like it.
Oh and if you cannot get to these events, do yourself a favor and get a copy of Osvaldo Golijov’s La Pasión Según San Marcos on the Detsche Grammophon imprint. It’s a fantastic piece in a stunning production. It’s what I’ve been listening to these last few days. Well—well—worth it.