A lot going on, but I think it would be burying the lead if I didn’t mention an article I was asked to write for the New York Times Opinionator Blog called Rebel Music. It’s about growing up in a non-musical place and a non-musical family and being blown to smithereens by classical music, long before I knew what it was.
This weekend, I am thrilled to be attending concerts by my step-back-or-you-won’t-believe-it talented friends, and I have to rave about them because not only are they deservingly rave-worthy but what they have in common is that they are all self-starters, striking out on their own and making their way. I admire them all not only for their talents but also for their raw gumption.
Friday night, for example, I’ll be attending the Body Maps at the Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn, an evening designed by my friend Paola Prestini, an extraordinarily talented composer and producer (she runs a very forward-thinking concern called Vision Into Art and a wild festival called Ferus). She will be joined onstage by cellist Jeffrey Ziegler (of the storied Kronos Quartet), percussionist David Cossin (of Bang on a Can and Real Quiet), Violinist Cornelius Dufallo (of Ethel and a fantastic composer as well) and the not-to-be-believed singer Hila Plitmann. Paola’s music is wonderful—sensuous, intelligent, beautiful—and there’ll also be works by John Corigliano, Michael Gordon, Eric Whitacre and Felipe Perez Santiago. There’s also a video component, which will no doubt be wonderful.
Basically, if you want an experience that’s all encompassing, this might be the one for you!
Alas, that night I cannot be in two places, because if I could I’d be at Joe’s Pub that same night to hear One Ring Zero play. I’ve only recently made the acquaintance of this group (and of Michael Hearst, one of the founders, who is completely brilliant) and they are just plain fun, though not without depth. I couldn’t stop listening to their record As Smart as we Are, not least because the lyrics were by no less than Rick Moody, Margaret Atwood, Jonathan Lethem, Neil Gaiman, and so on. Their style is hard to describe—geek rock? Bookstore folk? Smart rock? Just go. Or buy their records as a subsitite.
(And for the record, earlier that night Theo Bleckmann, another friend, will be performing the music of Kate Bush. Why not make it a twofer?)
Saturday night I’ll be at the Gershwin Hotel for OperaMission’s Opera in Flight. It’ll be a night of new scenes and one acts, including the world premiere of Clint Borzoni’s Margot Alone in the Light, with a libretto by Emily Conebre based on the Ray Bradbury story “All Summer in a Day.” This is the second outing from a fearless group started by pianist-harpsichordist Jennifer Peterson (the first being an excellent concert of Handel arias about a month ago) and I really recommend it because this is truly the ground floor season of a group that I’m pretty sure will have legs. And Clint’s is not the only piece: also featured, scenes from Paradises Lost, an opera by Stephen Andrew Taylor and Edward Ficklin’s Anniversary. And also on the program, monster clarinetist Cory Tiffin (from Chicago, and part of the formidable Chicago Reed Quartet) will play George Flynn’s solo work Forms of Flight.
Sometime in all of this great music, I’ll struggle to find time to write some of my own. Such is New York. But inspired by all of these artists who’ve just taken it upon themselves to make their own way, I too shall brave the unforgiving world and move forward!
Have a great weekend. See you next week.
Daniel Felsenfeld is a composer who lives in Brooklyn.
Image: Michael Hearts and Joshua Camp of One Ring Zero. Photo by Chris Smith/Photography.