When you live in New York, frequently you suffer from the severest vertigo of possibilities, particularly when it comes to attending concerts, especially in the Spring. So I leave you, dear readers, with a difficult choice as to how you are going to spend Tax Day, Thursday, April 15.
Perhaps you’ll be attending the New York premiere of Dutch composer Louis Andriessen’s “Opera” La Commedia, an evening length work based on Dante’s Divine Comedy, which will be performed at Carnegie Hall by the Asko-Schoenberg ensemble led by Reinbert de Leeuw. This is an amazing piece by one of my hands-down favorite composers, and will no doubt be the “must attend” new music event of the season. His sonic palette is completely fearless, his intellectual curiosity unmatched (except perhaps by that of composer Michael Nyman) and what comes out in the mix is a bold, sometimes brutal, often ironic musico-dramatic sense like nobody else’s. Go. Just go. Get your ticket here.
Perhaps you’ll be attending the fifth installment Ferus Festival at the Galapagos Art Space. Vision Into Art (a concern run by the composer Paola Prestini) sponsors what promises to be an unchained night of music and dance, pairing New York City based dance ensemble MEI-BE WHATever (who will be performing their Cinderella Toe Jam II) with Mexican singer-composer Magos Herrera, who will perform music from her new CD Distancia. Now neither of these acts are known to me, but I trust Paola Prestini and Vision Into Art, and I think everyone should attend. Get tickets here.
Perhaps you’re interested in John Wesley Harding’s Cabinet of Wonders, a downtown neo-folk variety show. Mr. Harding (who’s real name is Wesley Stace) is a consummate showman, not only a great songwriter and novelist, but a spectacular raconteur/host who assembles just one spectacular lineup after another. On this night—the night of a thousand concerts, apparently—at Le Posson Rouge you can hear readings by novelists Rick Moody and Ben Greenman, music by Nicole Atkins, Sondre Lerche and Leona Naess (not to mention the man himself), and yes, even a composition by yr. blogger, me! My piece—with words by Mr. Wesley Harding—Music Doesn’t Want Me will be performed by some truly astonishing singers and players. Stay to the end, and you’ll even see me in a rare appearance at the keyboard playing ABBA’s “Ring Ring.” These nights are nothing but pure fun, good words and excellent music. Just come and say hello. Get your tickets here.
Perhaps you’ll be at the Metropolitan Opera to see Julie Taymor’s exquisite production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. This was an immense crowdpleaser when it opened a few years ago—Ms. Taymor being the mind behind not only the films Titus, Frida and Across the Universe but also the Broadway adaptation of The Lion King. It’s a wonderful (and by that I mean what I say, as in full of wonder) production that everyone should see. Just go. Get your tickets here.
Or perhaps you’ll be across the pavement at New York City Opera to see Handel’s Partenope, one of the last weekends of their successful (if shortened) season. I confess to envy because I’ll just not be able to make it to any of these shows (three guesses as to which of these concerts listed I’ll be at…) but have heard nothing but excellent things about this production. Go. Just go. Get your tickets here.
Daniel Felsenfeld is a composer living in Brooklyn.