I am so unbelievably proud of Q2. This week marks our first ever pledge drive! (The public radio geek in me is pretty blissed-out by this, btw.) This is your chance to show how much New Music means to you!
New York is still bustling with festivals, festivals, festivals! This week in particular, there's some impressive programming courtesy of one of our favorite chamber ensembles, eighth blackbird. The versatile sextet has set up a short festival, called Tune-In beginning this Wednesday at the Park Ave Armory, based on Stravinsky's famous quote: "Music is, by its very nature, essentially powerless to express anything at all.”
The symphony has undergone such transformation since it first emerged as a conventional form hundreds of years ago. Concluding Carnegie Hall's Spring for Music festival, Kent Nagano and the Montréal Symphony Orchestra explore the evolution of the symphony beginning with Giovanni Gabrieli's Sacrae Symphoniae for Brass and finishing with Anton Webern's Symphony, Op. 21. This evening, May 14 from 5 to 8pm, Q2 responds with our own take on this large-scale form as it has transformed into the twenty-first century.
This evening, Friday May 13 from 5 to 8 pm, Q2 continues work in tandem with WQXR's Spring for Music broadcast of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra's performance with soprano, Dawn Upshaw. In addition to her role as a pedagogue and her career longevity as a singer, we draw inspiration from Upshaw's reputation for forging longstanding relationships with composers who have used her unique voice as their muse.
Artists have often used their art as a means of making sense of the horrors of war and taking a political stance: from Salvador Dalí's painting Face of War to Kryzstof Penderecki's string orchestra work Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima. On May 12 as part of Carnegie Hall's Spring for Music Festival, the Oregon Symphony takes the stage and presents a program titled Music for a Time of War featuring cornerstone works by John Adams, Charles Ives, Benjamin Britten and Ralph Vaughn Williams.
Carnegie Hall's Spring for Music festival is designed to allow orchestras to flex their creative programming muscles and provide an outlet to think outside of the overture-concerto-symphony box. On May 11, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra performs Steven Stucky's August, 1964 in their Carnegie Hall debut.
Q2 continues to celebrate Carnegie Hall's Spring for Music Festival with this May 10 program from 5 to 8pm featuring the faculty of the Bard College Conservatory. Though New York City is home to some of the most prestigious American music schools, one should never overlook the fact that a mere one-hundred miles north, in tranquil Annandale-on-Hudson, is a school whose star-studded faculty list includes the likes of Dawn Upshaw, So Percussion, George Tsontakis, Jeremy Denk, David Krakauer, Joan Tower and members of the Guarneri Quartet.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I don't envy composers. In addition to working long hours in relative isolation, the life of a young composer can sometimes seem pretty demoralizing; like actors, composers are constantly applying for various positions and experiencing rejection. Grants, festivals, teaching positions, awards, all of these plaudits are achieved via an application process that can feel extremely elusive.
Tonight, Saturday May 7 from 5 to 8pm, Q2 continues Spring Fever with a sonically immersive primer for WQXR's upcoming live Carnegie Hall, Spring for Music broadcast of the Toledo Symphony performing works by André Previn and Dmitri Shostakovich.
This Friday from 5-8pm, in anticipation of WQXR's kick-off Spring For Music broadcast from Carnegie Hall featuring the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Q2 presents a Spring Fever spotlight on the evocative sound worlds of two featured composers, Aaron Jay Kernis and Paul Moravec. Q2 also turns over the microphone to the composers themselves, as they provide exclusive insights into their own works, from Moravec's Tempest Fantasy to Aaron Jay Kernis's String Quartet No. 2, "musica instrumentalis," both pieces awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music.
On Friday, May 20 at 8 pm, Q2's Nadia Sirota hosts a live audio Webcast and online chat from the New York Society for Ethical Culture. The show features the U.S. premiere of Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood's Doghouse for orchestra and string trio; the New York-premiere of Philip Glass Symphony No. 4, "Heroes," based on the music of David Bowie and Brian Eno; and game-changing modernist György Ligeti's Chamber Concerto for 13 Instruments.
On Wednesday May 11 at 7:30 pm, Nadia Sirota hosts an evening chock full of world premieres from young composer-performers live from (Le) Poisson Rouge, home of the 2011 installment of the landmark New Music commissioning series, MATA Festival. The show features performances from Corey Dargel and Dither Electric Guitar Quartet, Angélica Negrón and Cantori NY, Chris Danforth with Jeff Bina, and French-born bassist, Florent Ghys, and includes on-stage interviews with the composers themselves.
How do you take your coffee? What's your favorite time of day? What's your favorite part of the Chicken? What's your favorite part of the Tofurky? With whom do you identify in Star Wars?
Last week, the International Contemporary Ensemble was slated to perform at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis. But then the cash-strapped theater canceled the remainder of its season. The program was instead released as a videocast, available here.
Host Nadia Sirota writes: Mania-inducing it may be, but there's something super satisfying about being ridiculously busy. Yesterday, I flew back to New York City from a really lovely set of shows in the Twin Cities as part or their String Theory Festival, then almost immediately proceeded to a recording studio where my group yMusic began to get sounds for our debut record. Yay!
Composing isn't always a solitary activity. This week, Nadia Sirota explores a variety of different composer collectives, including Bang On a Can, the NOW Ensemble, Sleeping Giant, Ears Open!, and Common Sense.
This Sunday at 2 p.m., listen to the Kronos Quartet share the stage with the Young People's Chorus of New York City at (Le) Poisson Rouge. The concert includes premieres by Laurie Anderson, Maria Schneider and Aleksandra Vrebalov.
To be quite frank, while I’m a fan of every smoked, oily fish, trout may be my favorite, though trout can be wonderful in a variety of additional contexts! Instead of smoked, how about evoked in an art song and morphed into a quintet for strings and piano by Schubert? That’s some delicious trout.
It's mid-January. It's cold. It's dark. There's no holiday in sight. We need to listen to some big, moving works to get the blood flowing again! There is no better way to combat the January blahs than exposure to massive, multimedia works. (Not an FDA approved treatment for SAD, don't sue me! This is more like a, um, suggestion.) This week, we're exploring what is surely an ill-advised theme for a radio show: music with a strong, visual component.
My head is spinning, there have been so many amazing live events this season! I've been lucky enough to enjoy many of these nocturnal happenings and to be able to share many of them with you via the magic Internet. As such, this coming (Spring) season of Cued Up is going to be dynamite! We've got thirteen amazing performances, all recorded in and around our fair city.