Wednesday, January 30, 2008

inspiration and attendance

New York has an expensive reputation. The classic irony: live here to catch the amazing concerts and culture happening every night, and then end up staying home because you paid all your money on rent and bills. For the resourceful though there are many incredible and affordable treasures out there, whether it's the free night at MOMA, or free concerts at Downtown Music Gallery. This week, FOCUS! is hosting six free concerts of the music of Elliott Carter up at the Juilliard school in honor of his 100th year. I attended last night and the one before and experienced some amazing music and a further irony: light attendance!

On Monday I arrived at 7pm expecting a line at the door, but found only 3 people waiting. By the time they started letting us in, we were a line of maybe 9 or 10. By the 8pm start time the theater was maybe half full. Tuesday night there were a few more people, but not many. I wonder how many people stayed home expecting to have to fight a crowd. You could have showed up 5 minutes before the concert and still gotten a seat in any section. Totally bewildering to me.

Anyway, the music these last two nights has been a much-needed shot in the arm for me. Too many highlights to even talk about I guess, but special note must be given to their performance of Tempo e tempi (1999) which I know via the recording by Ensemble Sospeso. Soprano Jennifer Zetlan really was spectacular.

Carter was in attendance last night and for several minutes we applauded the man, 99 years old, still working, still writing. Unable to make it onto the stage itself, and too surrounded by well-wishers to be seen by most, he raised his cane above his head and shook it, a gesture of the aged but not infirmed...

Speaking of composers, Monday February 4th I have the honor of performing at the Cornelia Street Cafe in NYC with Guus Jansen on piano, with Thomas Heberer of ICP on trumpet and Harris Eisenstadt on drums. Harris, Thomas, and I have played a few times now but this will be a first with Guus. Should be exciting! Then Wade Matthews, Andrew Drury, and I have gigs in Philly and New Haven, and I have a couple gigs at Barbes in Brooklyn with Butch Morris, a hit at Zebulon with Mary Halvorson, Peter Evans and Kevin Shea, and another trip to Cornelia Street this month with Joe Giardullo, and Todd Capp doing Paul Motian's music.

Amidst all of this I'm trying to write new music for my string group which will be playing Roulette in the spring...

Exciting times.

Meanwhile: I had to leave my studio space in September and am starting to look around for another. If anyone has any leads on something in Brooklyn please let me know so I can continue the Studio STATS tradition. In the meantime I continue to mix and master projects for myself and others at my home. It's working out well and I like not paying an extra rent, but I miss recording groups. Your ideas are much appreciated.