Category: new music

Penderecki pendulates at CSO

…and then at some point, Krzysztof Penderecki stopped asking himself “Is this music different or original?” This question, at the origin of much 20th-century music, acts as both an exhortation and a limit. It results in new methods and sounds but, at the same time, limits composers, preventing them from engaging with the past–except in... Read more »

rvw: MusicNOW - shift happens

Monday night’s MusicNOW concert, presented by the CSO, continues to walk the fine line between “cool” and “important.”  Let’s call what the indie/hipsters are doing (in non-conformity to the old guard) cool, while anything with more substance (and longevity) is important.  The pieces on Monday nights program were mostly a deft combination of the two,... Read more »

Will the real John Adams please stand up?

What’s in a name?  For a period in college, my favorite composer [in the world, omg] was this guy named John Adams.  Though he’s super famous, probably one of the most performed American composers, people outside of music were inevitably confused, thinking that one of the early presidents also wrote music.  [As if I would... Read more »

MusicNOW: the dawning of a new era - Part III

photo by Evan Kuchar
[this is a continuation of my review of MusicNOW. Part I is here; Part II is here.] Bhairav After Anna Clyne’s work filled our every mental orifice, it was a welcome break to have Ana Lara’s Bhairav, a completely innocuous piece for string quartet that, much like Balter’s string trio, functioned very well as a... Read more »

On second thought: Classical Music is dead.

Unlike pop music, which seeks to be as timely and contemporary as possible (and then fades from popularity minutes later), Classical music has proven its timelessness–hence the label.  But what does Classical music mean today?  Is it still relevant?  Can we even call it Classical music?   Such questions are interesting for we bloggers to... Read more »

Sunday: New Music Dilemma

Wikipedia defines a dilemma as: “problem offering at least two solutions or possibilities, of which none are practically acceptable.”  [I foresee a day when Valedictorians cite Wikipedia instead of Websters.] The dilemma this Sunday (April 25) is: Palomar or MAVerick? The MAVerick Ensemble has presented concerts in Chicago for a number of years, primarily at the Ukrainian... Read more »

Review: CSO, Bates, Hubbard

I was lured to the Chicago Symphony Thursday to see Mason Bates’ “Music from Underground Spaces”.  The rest of the program was filled up–that is not to say “rounded out”–by pieces from the 1910s by Ravel and De Falla, making the program neither homogenous nor heterogenous.  The odd program was reflected in the audience; not... Read more »

Gateway: Arvo Pärt

Whenever I introduce myself as a “composer”, there are only a few logical follow-up questions. “What kind of music do you write?” OR “How does that work exactly? How do you make money?” Despite the difficulty of self-definition (and limitation), I much prefer the former question. That is, however, until I realize that most people... Read more »

Review: eighth blackbird - "Slide"

Before going to eighth blackbird‘s concert Wednesday at the Harris, I had a vague idea what to expect.  Vague, as in, fuzzy, out of focus.  Before seeing it I called Steve Mackey’s piece a “genre-blending song-cycle”, which isn’t totally wrong, but not quite right.  The program notes helped to clarify the picture quite a bit but still... Read more »

Tuesday: Fulcrum Point

On Tuesday, the Fulcrum Point new music ensemble lives up to its name, presenting a concert called “Heroes and Demons”, which explores the intersection of classical music and popular cultures from around the world.  From the Indian Classical tradition to urban and rural traditions of the Americas, the concert aims to draw connections between legends... Read more »