Friday, December 16, 2011

"Target" CD: Daring, Hendrixian, Captivating, Powerful

I'm really pleased that favorable reviews continue to appear for Starkland's Keeril Makan "Target" CD.

In the new Fanfare, Robert Carl concludes that Makan's Resonance Alloy is "one of the best pure-sound pieces I've heard in some time." He finds the "near-psychotic" song cycle Target is a "terrifying" and "daring piece." And he notes the virtuosic solo-cello work Zones d'accord "creates near-overwhelming sounds" that move "from breathier harmonic sweeps to Hendrixian explosions."

Vital Weekly recently stated that the "Target" CD is "a great release" full of "captivating and engaging music." Critic Dolf Mulder especially savored the performances from Alex Waterman ("breathtaking"), Laurie Rubin ("beautiful"), and David Shively ("an amazing tour de force").

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Lucid Culture praises the CD as "strange and powerful," "intriguing and diverse," and "minimalist yet often absolutely massive." Writer Alan Young was also stunned by the "viscerally mesmerizing" Resonance Alloy.

Even the venerable but staid Gramophone is attracted to the "extraordinary extremes" of the CD, writing:
"On a purely musical level, these first recordings of four works by Makan are about creating expectations out of chaos, tuning the listener’s ear and creating a sound world in which music emerges unexpectedly out of violent textures, gestures and cries."
Read more here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

CDs Will Top Digital Sales for the Foreseeable Future

 An interesting look at projections for physical vs. digital music sales emerges from recent data furnished by top sources. Combining sales data from PricewaterhouseCooper and Gartner, I created this graph:

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"CDs still beat digital music, and will do so for the foreseeable future" is the conclusion reached by tech writer Dwight Silverman.

Physical sales (ie, CDs) income of about $15 billion in 2011 makes the latest urban myth that major labels will stop releasing CDs sometime in 2012 sound rather implausible.

I found my data here.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

NPR Features Phillip Bimstein's "Bushy Wushy" Piece

The World Series has prompted NPR to rebroadcast a Hearing Voices show which features Phillip Bimstein's aural portrait of "Bushy Wushy," who sold beer in Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals, for more than forty years. If you missed the broadcast, you can listen here. Other segments offer Barrett Golding spending a season with the Rookie League and singer/playwright Terry Allen defining the many meanings of Dug-Out.

There's also now a Bushy Wushy video at YouTube.

Bimstein began the piece by visiting Busch Stadium, recording the crack of the bat from behind home plate, the ball slamming into the catcher's mitt, and other baseball game sounds. He then combined these sampled sounds with stories told by the charming Bushy Wushy, all tied together with a score for wind quintet performed by the Equinox Chamber Players.

Other aural portraits on this Starkland CD feature the harmonica player and storyteller Larkin Gifford, and the Las Vegas dice-caller Tom Martinet, who offers insights into the superstitions and psychologies of gambling.

In the CD's Introduction, John Adams writes, "Like their composer, the pieces on this album communicate a generous and good-natured spirit that is tempered with wry wit and a special sense of the western landscape and culture that he so loves."

In The New York Times, Steve Smith commented that "The irresistible charm of Mr. Bimstein's music has less to do with technology than with his uncanny knack for finding the music of everday life." Read the full review.

And Stereophile called Bimstein "an American original" whose "stunning and heartwarming" CD offers "quirky, moving, and delightful musical journeys." Read the full review.

This "Larkin Gifford's Harmonica" CD is available at Amazon, iTunes, CD Baby, etc.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Keeril Makan "Target" CD: 3 videos

Three videos with music from Starkland's new "Target" Keeril Makan CD are now available.

Zone's d'accord, performed by Alex Waterman at the CD release concert in September at New York's Issue Project Room, appears here:

The CD's actual studio recording of Resonance Alloy, performed by David Shively, was videotaped at Legacy Sound:

David Lang describes Target as "muscular and terrifying... a scary, aggressive juggernaut of invention." This video presents the second section "Leaflet I," performed by the California E.A.R. Unit and mezzo-soprano Laurie Rubin:

Read more about this "approachable and mesmerizing" CD, which has been praised in Gramophone, Sequenza21, Chamber Musician Today, and New Music Box.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Starkland's new Keeril Makan "Target" CD Now Available at Amazon, iTunes, more

Starkland has released Keeril Makan’s “Target” CD, which is now available at: Amazon, CD Baby, and iTunes. (You can hear previews at both iTunes and CD Baby).

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Makan has been described as “an arrestingly gifted young American composer” by The New Yorker, and has already received some impressive commissions, including the Kronos Quartet, Carnegie Hall, Bang on a Can All-Stars, American Composers Orchestra, and the Other Minds Festival. The CD has premiere recordings of four works: 2, Zones d’accord, Target, and Resonance Alloy.

At New Music Box, Alexandra Gardner comments that the music gives "the ears a workout with timbral complexity drawn from a remarkably spare amount of material that sneaks up and delivers a whollop of powerful emotional content," adding "the recording is of excellent quality."

At Sequenza21, Jay Batzner writes, “The quartet of pieces on Target serve as excellent examples of what makes Makan’s compositions approachable and mesmerizing... Makan makes what should be simple and mundane captivating and engrossing.”

At The Glass, Chris McGovern writes, “Keeril Makan is definitely a composer that is destined for greatness, and this recording is proof of that.”

David Lang, co-founder of the Bang on a Can festival and a Pulitzer-winning composer, wrote the CD’s Introduction. He remarks that when he first heard Makan’s music he was “blown away [by works] so strong and so smart.”

The title piece emerged from Makan’s participation in the John Harbison/Dawn Upshaw Workshop for Composers and Singers. Commissioned by Carnegie Hall, Makan collaborated with poet Jena Osman to create Target for soprano and chamber ensemble. Regarding Target’s premiere at Carnegie Hall, The New York Times observed:
“‘Target,’ is a moody, ruminative and volatile setting of a text assembled from poems by Jena Osman and phrases taken from leaflets dropped over Afghanistan in the wake of Sept. 11, scored for mezzo-soprano and four instrumentalists, including a percussionist. It is meant as a stinging political commentary on American military intervention abroad. Mr. Makan responded to the earthy, rich and poignant qualities of Ms. Rubin's voice by writing music thick with sliding, moaning figurations for the voice and all the instruments… she gave a courageous performance of difficult music that clearly speaks to her.”
Lang attended the premiere of the “muscular and terrifying” Target, “a scary, aggressive juggernaut of invention.” He remarks that the disturbing text captures “a kind of violent, psychological damage that takes place deep beneath the surface layer of ordinary words.” The CD’s performance features Rubin and the California E.A.R.Unit.

The CD opens with 2, performed by the Either/Or duo of percussionist David Shively and Ethel violinist Jennifer Choi. 20th Century Music writes, “This was a masterful piece, one of the best heard this year. Far from music in the abstract, 2 is a work-it-out-in-the-raw-sounds kind of piece that revels in its sonic splendors.”

Zones d’accord is performed on the CD by Alex Waterman from Either/Or. Sequenza21 comments, “The virtuosity of Waterman’s right hand is truly stunning… [and he]draws out Makan’s ecstatic emotional arc throughout the performance.”

The CD ends with Resonance Alloy (commissioned by Other Minds), recorded by percussionist David Shively in an astonishing, single, unedited performance of the 29 minute work.

Lang concludes that “the emotionality of it all, the drama, the depth of feeling, percolating way down deep, never boiling over and yet never going away” is “strangely powerful, and all his own.”

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Tom Steenland and Keeril Makan (and Louis Andriessen)

All the original recordings were made at high-resolution (24-bit,48k/88.2k sampling) audiophile standards. The three non-vocal works were recorded by the Grammy-winning Silas Brown.

Makan’s only other CD, "In Sound" (Tzadik), received impressive reviews: “Top 10 CDs for 2008” (New Music Box); “An amazing disc” (Sequenza21); “frontiers are crossed in this music” (American Record Guide).

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Unique Commissioning Program: Season 2

The unique CLICK commissioning program, inaugurated last year by the Colorado Music Festival, has entered its second season.

Anyone can vote (by donating $10) for one of four composers. Thus all the voters both fund the commission and select the winning composer. In addition to joining a club to commission new music, voters will have their name inscribed on the score of the finished piece. The persons with the highest number of votes will have the piece dedicated to them.

Voting is now underway, the commission will be announced early this fall, and the new work will be premiered during CMF's 2012 season. The composers, with links to biographies and music excerpts, are:

Daniel Kellogg
Read Biography
Listen to Music

Mark Grey
Read Biography
Listen to Music

Kevin Puts
Read Biography
Listen to Music

Jay Greenberg
Read Biography
Listen to Music

Michael Christie, the Festival's adventurous Music Director, comments, “I'm thrilled that our audience was as intrigued by this commissioning project as I hoped. It's a unique program that micro-finances the creation of new works and gives the community a feeling of ownership. It's really a people's commission,” says Michael Christie.

Last year's winner, Patrick Zimmerli, had his commissioned piece premiered this season at CMF. You can listen to the full piece here, and read more here.

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Patrick Zimmerli (L) and Michael Christie

Voting closes on August 31.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Louis Andriessen: Hoketus: New York Stock Exchange Plaza

It's not everyday you get to experience a classic avant-garde work outdoors at the center of the world's finances. Such was the case when Louis Andriessen's Hoketus was performed at the New York Stock Exchange Plaza during Make Music New York this year. One quintet was on the street, facing the other quintet ensconced in the balcony of the New York Stock Exchange. The exciting performance captivated the crowd, and I've assembled a brief video of the 25-minute work:

Yarn/Wire led the performers: Ian Antonio, Russell Greenberg (congas); Laura Barger, Ning Yu (pianos); Michael Gallope, Jacob Rhodebeck (keyboards); Erin Lesser, Christa Van Alstine (pan flutes); Tony Gedrich, Joe Higgins (electric bass).

Thursday, July 7, 2011

David Lang: "warmth" at BOAC Marathon

David Lang introduces his "warmth" piece, followed by the opening section performed by electric guitarists Taylor Levine and James Moore. From the Bang on a Can 2011 Marathon.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Patrick Zimmerli Premiere: Uniquely Funded by the Colorado Music Festival

The first-of-its-kind CLICK! crowdfunded commissioning project, started last year by the adventurous Colorado Music Festival, reached a culmination with the premiere of Patrick Zimmerli's Festival Overture on June 30.

Last summer, CMF solicited votes (at $10 each) for four possible composers. With sufficient funds raised, the tallied votes favored Zimmerli, who then had about 7 months to create the 12-minute orchestral work.

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Patrick Zimmerli (L) and Michael Christie (R) at a pre-concert talk.

In a pre-concert talk, the personable Zimmerli mentioned he found inspiration by studying some classic works, such as Brahms' Tragic Overture, Beethoven's Leonore overtures, Wagner's Tristan, and even Holiday Overture, an early (1944) Elliott Carter work.

Indeed, this Festival Overture started with a three-note motive presented with an energetic, Brahmsian swagger, followed by quieter, more plaintive materials heard in the woodwinds, followed by development of these two ideas. The piece was solidly tonal, readily accessible, and pleased the enthusiastic audience. I suspect the work will be programmed by others down the road.

While I liked the piece, this conservative music perhaps reflected the standard repertoire a little too diligently. An edgier work, touching more on today's contemporary music possibilities, would have engaged me more.

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Patrick Zimmerli (L) and Tom Steenland (R)

Nevertheless, this well-crafted piece clearly fulfilled its purpose and represents a fine start to the CMF's ambitious CLICK! commissioning program, conceived and implemented by the imaginative Music Director Michael Christie.

Also on the program were Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue (in an unusual presentation with the Marcus Roberts Trio), Copland's Prairie Journal (one of his earliest "American" pieces), and Ansel Adams: America, with music by David and Chris Brubeck accompanying projected slides of classic Adams photos.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Trimpin: The Gurs Zyklus: pre-concert video

In connection with the Stanford premiere of Trimpin's The Gurs Zyklus, I shot some simple video of rehearsals and Trimpin's pre-concert talk. I then merged that material into a short video to give an idea of what transpires in this unusual work.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Trimpin: The Gurs Zyklus

The sound sculptor/composer Trimpin has received a MacArthur "genius" grant, been the subject of a full-length documentary film, and profiled in The New Yorker. His work has been featured in hundreds of installations, exhibitions, performances, and new music festivals around the world. Attending the unveiling of a major, ambitious sound/theater work from Trimpin seemed pretty compelling to me.

I found the May 14 premiere at Stanford of The Gurs Zyklus to be moving and inventive, and, at times, unfocused.

The 75-minute melange attempts to merge Trimpin’s various connections to Gurs (a temporary holding place in France for Jews headed to concentration camps), the composer Conlon Nancarrow, Franco's fascism in Spain, and some personal historical materials furnished to Trimpin.

The work was directed by the highly talented Rinde Eckert, who also performed a central role. There were also four excellent female vocalists/performers (Thomasa Eckert, Susan Rode Morris, Katya Roemer, and Linda Strandberg).

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Trimpin and Rinde Eckert

While Trimpin was developing this work, he was contacted by Victor Rosenberg, who offered the use of a substantial cache of letters and postcards sent by relatives who had been imprisoned in Gurs by the Nazis.

And during Trimpin’s residency at Stanford, he was amazed to be contacted by a local person, Manfred Wildman, who, as a 10-year boy, had actually been interned in Gurs, and who furnished Trimpin with his written observations and drawings made while at Gurs. Eckert’s effective reading of these heartbreaking comments along with the projections of the child’s drawings were likely the emotional high point of the evening. Both Manfred Wildman and Victor Rosenberg attended this premiere performance.

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Victor Rosenberg, Trimpin, and Manfred Wildman

The production also included several of Trimpin’s complex assemblages. There were two shifting teeter-totters, on which rolled revolving multi-sided boxes with several speakers emitting trains sounds from along the route to Gurs. A picture wheel rotated through images from the train route. Another instrument was Trimpin’s Fire Organ (which produces sounds when Bunsen burners pull heated air through tubes).

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Revolving multi-speaker unit on teeter-totter

Trimpin’s wizardry also remotely played pianos, xylophone-like keyboards, and other instruments spread throughout the hall. In addition, at times water dripped from multiple high-up sources into lighted glass canisters, producing both audible and visual results. Three beautiful hanging glass spheres represent Kristallnacht.

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In the past, Trimpin has adamantly preferred that his sound sources be purely acoustic. I was pleased that in this piece, he expanded his sonic palette to include loudspeakers, both within the revolving teeter-totter units and via voices that received some delay/reverb enhancements.

How well does this complex, ambitious undertaking weave together all these loosely connected elements?

The results varied. The reading of emotionally-laden text by the charismatic Eckert was the most directly affecting. There were a number of visually striking moments. There were sections of sonic interest, especially when instruments spatially deployed around the concert hall were all activated.

On the other hand, those unfamiliar with Trimpin, Nancarrow, November 9, 1938, etc. might be confused and not strongly involved. For example, it’s not obvious when the Fire Organ is sounding notes. The complexity of the teeter-totter-revolving-speakers unit could be overlooked, and confining them to the stage diminished the spatial effects experienced by the audience.

Trimpin’s devices, when presented in an installation, allow viewers to inspect them, wander amidst them, read about their intricacies, and become caught up in his elegant, eccentric constructions. But placing them on a stage diminishes their impact. As a result, the production, during the non-narrative sections, seemed unfocused, working too long to fill time. Those hanging glass spheres were quite attractive, but their manipulations by the performers became overly extended and repetitious.

I don’t think a work like this must have a clear, linear narrative structure. A collection of strong music, dramatic staging, and striking visuals can enthrall an audience without telling us a story, such as in the Philip Glass and Robert Wilson masterpiece Einstein on the Beach. But this initial version, The Gurs Zyklus hasn’t found the right combination to create a powerful evening. It feels like a work in progress.

I happen to know that some dramatic stagework had to be omitted for practical reasons. The dripping water streams, for example, can be programmed by Trimpin to display cascading letters and thus spell names, such as Nazi victims in this case. But some concern about potentially soaking the front row audience put the damper on such use in this setting. And that teeter-totter, confined here to the stage, can be much bigger and extend out alongside the audience, which would greatly increase the acoustic envelopment. (Apparently an attentive fire-marshal nixed blocking exits.)

With adjustments, Gurs can be improved. The good news is that future performances are planned for Seattle and perhaps elsewhere.

The gutsy support of this unique work by Stanford’s Lively Arts and its Director Jenny Bilfield has been remarkable. Not only did Lively Arts commission this work, but they also supported a year-long residency by Trimpin at Stanford. There were concerts, Kinetic Sound Sculpture workshops, a public interview conducted by Paul DeMarinis, and a free preview talk and stage tour the day before the premiere, conducted by Trimpin himself. Support of such experimental undertakings is clearly part of a major university’s mission. Kudos to Jenny and Lively Arts.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Persichetti CD: "A joy!"

It's great when a review opens with: "What a joy to listen to this one!" Critic Dolf Mulder, writing in the Dutch publication Vital Weekly, finds "some truly charming and very enjoyable" music in Ellen Burmeister's "delicate and dedicated performance."

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Ellen Burmeister

He concludes that these Persichetti piano "compositions are not outdated, but sound very fresh and full of sparkling surprises."

This new review follows other enthusiastic reviews in Audiophile Audition, American Record Guide, and Lucid Culture.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Alarm Will Sound "1969" Denver Concert

Alarm Will Sound's "1969" concert in Denver was a real treat, especially when considering there has been only one other performance of the work's full version, at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall. The generative idea behind this evening-length composition is a purported planned meeting between the Beatles and Karlheinz Stockhausen on February 9, 1969 at Lukas Foss's New York apartment. While the meeting never happened, the notion of establishing a connection between the pop and avant-garde music worlds intrigued Alan Pierson, Alarm Will Sound's Conductor and Artistic Director, to start developing this unusual work. The other main concern of "1969" is looking at the relationship between music and the revolutionary sociopolitical events taking place.

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Pre-concert discussion with Director Nigel Maister
and Conductor Alan Pierson
This ambitious piece assembles music from The Beatles, Stockhausen, Luciano Berio, Leonard Bernstein, etc., and often the original pieces are types of mashups themselves ("Revolution 9" from the Beatles, Mass from Bernstein, Sinfonia from Berio, etc.). There are also 3 screens onstage, showing familiar images from those heady times (the Kennedys, Martin Luther King, Vietnam, John and Yoko, etc.) The musicians themselves portray numerous key characters, declaiming actual first-person dialogue throughout.
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I recall, when studying music around the time, the huge gap between pop vs. "serious" music. After analyzing Schoenbergian tone rows, you'd return home to play, say, the latest from the Jefferson Airplane. These realms were far apart. It's been a wonderful development over the years to see these worlds overlap and become quite common in today's alt-classical scene.

"1969" is effectively created and very skillfully performed. Those expecting some Big Message will be disappointed, but it seems wise to avoid a simplistic summary. The voices were sometimes unclear. The final link to 2011 seemed a little forced.

It was wonderful to have the opportunity to attend this significant concert, and major credit goes to Steve Seifert, the imaginative director of the Newman Center Presents series at the Univ. of Denver. He clearly knows what is worthwhile and engaging in today's new music world. Steve has also managed to bring us Gabriel Kahane, Burkina Electra, Andy Akiho, Evan Ziporyn, Michael Harrison, and So Percussion. Next season, he's developing some impressive plans bringing the hot JACK Quartet to town.

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Stephen Seifert

Amidst today's panic about dwindling classical audiences, it's impressive that this Denver concert drew about the same-sized audience as the New York concert. It helps that Denver's main classical critic, the Denver Post's astute Kyle MacMillan, has enthusiastically written about these new music concerts.

Lest we take such presentations for granted, I note how the Univ. of Colorado's Artist Series in Boulder for years has settled for safe, conservative, unadventurous programming. They could learn from their southern neighbors.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Kahane Duo Dazzles Denver

“Crossover” concerts usually fail, but Friday night’s blended genre concert at Denver’s Newman Center was a resounding success, a convincing presentation of indie pop and standard classical. That the two performers were father and son warmly enriched the evening.

While local audiences are familiar with the fine pianist and conductor Jeffery Kahane (who was Music Director of the Colorado Symphony for years), I suspect the big discovery of the night was his multi-talented son Gabriel.

Gabriel and Jeffrey opened with Bach effectively arranged by György Kurtág for two-pianos, which easily segued into a Gabriel composition.

Gabriel next discussed “Chuck” Ives, seeing him as a “father of avant-garde” and one of the earliest creators of mashups. He touchingly sang two Ives songs during the concert, along with Samuel Barber’s charming “Pangur” song from his Hermit Cycle.

The longest set of the intermission-less concert was prefaced by Jeffrey recalling the original Schubertiade events, where the gang gathered to play a potpourri of Schubert's music, along with other music, poetry readings, dancing, etc. Whereupon father and son performed their own such mini event. Jeffery alternated Schubert Impromptus with Gabriel performing his own engaging songs (accompanying himself on both piano and guitar), including “Durrants,” “North Adams” (about a father and son walking in the woods) from his eponymous 2008 debut CD, as well as “LA.”

Jeffrey then performed the meaty, engaging Django: Tiny Variations on a Big Dog, written by Gabriel for him and premiered at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, described by The New York Times as “most striking, if only for the virtuosity and varied stylistic sensibility it demanded.”

Gabriel also performed a song from his Craigslist Lieder collection, which initially brought him recognition as an emerging talent. This tag-team concluded the concert with an arrangement of a traditional tune by Benjamin Britten, whom apparently they both revere.

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This first-ever such concert was conjured up by mastermind Steve Seifert, the imaginative, adventurous Executive Director of Newman Center Presents.

I don’t recall ever experiencing a concert with this type of diversified richness, merging sophisticated pop with classical, featuring an abundantly talented father and son duo. Some comments from Gabriel in the program notes help explain his evolution, remarking that he grew up “amidst snippets of Brahms 2nd Piano Concert and Mozart K. 482, Paul Simon's Graceland and the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper.” It all comes together because of certain intrinsic values that transcend genre, such as “attention to solid architecture, quality of sound, and above all, emotional integrity.”

Even more impressive is that we really only saw the indie pop side of Gabriel, who also composes “serious” new music. The Kronos Quartet commissioned a string quartet which will debut in May, and that same month, a work commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic will also debut, to be conducted by John Adams.

Along the way, Gabriel has also performed with bluegrass mandolinist Chris Thile and singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright, as well as pianist Jeremy Denk and bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff. And he is much in demand as a music theater composer.

I sure hope he can successfully juggle all the above.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Phil Kline Workshop

Make Music New York and MATA have announced a new Call-For-Proposals for a workshop, led by Phil Kline, to explore new participatory outdoor soundworks. Ten composers will be chosen for the workshop, which will discuss feasibility, creativity, and public art in general. The workshop will take place on May 10 during the 2011 MATA Festival, and will be open to the public.

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In the month after the workshop, participating composers will refine their ideas and submit revised proposals. Each proposal will be showcased on the MATA website, and MATA will choose one to produce in December 2011, as part of a new winter festival, MAKE MUSIC WINTER, inspired by Phil Kline’s legendary Unsilent Night.

The proposal deadline is April 1, 2011. Click here for more info.

Kline's only surround sound recording, Around the World in a Daze, was commissioned and released by Starkland. Over a dozen publications such as The New York Times, Stereophile, and The New Yorker have called this DVD "sensational... ear-opening adventures... extraordinary" and much more.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Persichetti CD Praised at American Record Guide

Another fine review of our Persichetti piano CD has appeared in the new issue of American Record Guide.

Pianist Ellen Burmeister "gives fine accounts of these pieces," writes Allen Gimbel, adding that "this release will be of interest to all students of this music." He also remarks that Piano Sonata 10 is "one of the great American piano sonatas."

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It's a nice addition to the other enthusiastic reviews that have appeared at Audiophile Audition and Lucid Culture.

Read more about this Starkland CD.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Other Minds wrapup

Some highlights for me at the recent Other Minds festival are:

Louis Andriessen: An excellent performance of his chamber piece Zilver; several smaller pieces reflected a diversity I didn't know about; and his impressive piano improv work with vocalist Cristina Zavalloni.

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Louis Andriessen and Tom Steenland

The strongly spatial experience of hearing David A. Jaffe's piece (a tribute to Henry Brant), which used instruments spread throughout the hall, all triggered via Trimpin electro-mechanical expertise.

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Henry Brant chimes, deployed by Trimpin

Monica Germino commanded the stage with her excellent violin playing, and at times, singing too.

Agata Zubel displayed amazing extended vocalizations and convincing compositional skills in her Cascando and Parlando works.

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Agata Zubel

And pianist Sarah Cahill again reminded us what a special talent she is in her fine performance of Kyle Gann's Time Does Not Exist.

We also heard impressive, virtuosic performances from Bali double-necked guitarist Balawan, jazz pianist Jason Moran, avant guitarist Fred Frith, and the Dutch hyper-drummer Han Bennink.

We are lucky to live in an age of so many prodigiously talented performers.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dockstader: Water Music

Tod Dockstader's Water Music: Part Three is heard in this new video:

Read more about Dockstader's Quatermass CD.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"Genuine warmth" in Persichetti CD

Another favorable review for our new Persichetti CD has appeared at Lucid Culture, where they write, "It’s nice to finally see a digital release for this collection," adding "Starkland has brought it back with impressive attention to dynamics."

Regarding the Tenth Piano Sonata, they note, "Burmeister varies her attack deftly, through its serpentine dynamic shifts: nimble cadenzas, graceful legato lines, percussive clusters and the occasional rapidfire cascade."

And for the challenging Eleventh Piano Sonata, they write, "It’s not easy imbuing music this rigorous and acidic with genuine warmth, yet that’s what Burmeister achieved here, no small accomplishment."

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Read more about Starkland's Persichetti CD.