Pittsburgh New Music Net

cutting-edge music in the ’burgh and beyond

Bach Choir Will Perform “Agnostic”

I’m about to head out the door for the Alia Musica concert, but wanted to post a brief reminder that the Burgh’s next big new music event is tomorrow night! Bach Choir will perform David Chesky’s Agnostic Wednesday night at Carnegie Music Hall and Saturday night at Shadyside Academy (Fox Chapel). Check the Events Calendar listing for more details.

Update: WQED FM 89.3 will broadcast Agnostic live at 8 p.m. tonight (Wednesday).

March 31, 2009 at 7:24 pm Comments (0)

Bach Choir Presents Chesky’s “Agnostic”

April 1, 2009
8:00 pm
April 4, 2009
8:00 pm




Wednesday: Carnegie Music Hall, Pittsburgh

Saturday: Richard E. Rauh Theater, Shady Side Academy, Fox Chapel

Bach Choir of Pittsburgh Presents David Chesky’s oratorio Agnostic Wednesday night at Carngie Music Hall, and Saturday night at Shady Side Academy (Fox Chapel). Chesky is truly a multifaceted artist. Along with being a prolific composer of operatic and orchestral works, he actively busy performs Jazz, and runs a major recording label. Don’t miss Andy Druckenbrod’s preview in the PG (with audio excerpts from the work).

March 30, 2009 at 7:48 am Comments (0)

Encore! 2 years of Alia Musica

It’s my pleasure to post on the vibrant PNMN again! This time to tell new music fans that Alia Musica’s show is ready for this Tuesday at 8pm in Synod Hall.

We are playing Phil’s Trouble (that is, Phil Thompson, PNMN’s mastermind emeritus) and a selection of some of our best work from the past two years.

Music by Mark Fromm, Ivan Jimenez, Kerrith Livengood, Matthew Heap, and Ayo Oluranti—with varied inspirations from the Beatles to African folk to the Bible… it’s a promising program and I’d like to invite everybody!

For details see the ‘Alia Musica’ category, or check out our website (where you can buy tickets in advance at a discount).

Hopefully we’ll kick off a nice Spring 2009!

Alia Musica’s Spring 2009 concert is supported in part by the Heinz Endowments.

March 30, 2009 at 7:27 am Comment (1)

Thoughts generated from an interview with Pittsburgh’s Michael Johnsen

Recently, I was able to acquire two short 3” cdrs consisting of Michael Johnsen’s electronic music. Each disc contains a piece recorded in 2007 – a room-mic’d piece created with live electronic sound and a direct recording credited as “live electronic sound made by the tuning & spatial manipulation of two closely spaced portable AM radios having loopstick antennae, the resulting signal undergoing mild output processing, primarily filtering & gating.” The resulting sounds contain an ever-morphing range of pitch, timbre, and rhythm – quickness slackening into silence – electronic growls, stutters, and springs – the occasional bleed of a romantically-sung phrase. Basically, an enticing listen with a surprise always around the corner.

The original impetus for this post was to review these pieces. However, upon finding it hard to dissect the music without resorting to a list of hypothetical influences, thus, revealing my own limitations and projections, I decided to approach the post as an interview. The interview ranged from Stockhausen anecdotes to public perception, qualifications for success, relative fame given for wrong reasons, potential irrelevance of authorship and genre, the difference between musical investigations conducted in private vs. those performed in front of an audience, the affect of the audience on the performance, trends in free improv circles, the homogenization of lifestyles in different countries, how that homogenization affects creative work, and a love of the marginal musician – the enthused person reveling in the process of investigation, potentially without the luxury of technique.

One theme that runs through much of our conversation is the idea of pure investigation, a strong curiosity for sounds and events. The appreciation of art does not need to be regulated to gallery walls, but could occur at any point, in any situation. This is an apt description of the sounds emitting from Michael’s large stash of homemade/handmade electronic boxes, filters, etc. Each set is unique. Each venue provides a different set of acoustics to play off, a different number of bodies for the sound to travel through, a number of street sounds ready for response. For those of you who have seen Michael perform, there surely exists a quest for something unheard, a quest that is not without humor, but is surely without pretension.

For those interested in Michael’s music, the cdrs may be acquired by contacting Michael at johnsenmm@yahoo.com. Also, for those looking for an avenue more exotic, there may still be some copies available through the French distributor, Metamkine (www.metamkine.com).

Michael Johnsen will be performing at the last Why Art Music Series concert for March 2009, held at Monk’s on Saturday, March 28. Monk’s is located at 3634 Penn Avenue. Admission is $3-5, doors at 8:00PM. Also, performing is tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE, A Collaboration, and a duo set by Mike Tamburo and myself (David Bernabo).

March 25, 2009 at 11:28 pm Comments (0)

A Conversation with Monica Ellis

The Imani Winds are (L-R) Valerie Coleman, flute; Toyin Spellman-Diaz, oboe; Mariam Adam, Clarinet; Jeff Scott, French horn; and Monica Ellis, bassoon. The Imani Winds are (L-R) Valerie Coleman, flute; Toyin Spellman-Diaz, oboe; Mariam Adam, Clarinet; Jeff Scott, French horn; and Monica Ellis, bassoon.

If you talk to Imani Winds bassoonist and Pittsburgh native Monica Ellis for very long, it soon dawns on you that a lot of things worked the way they were supposed to: her parents gave unquestioning support to her musical aspirations, dedicated music teachers in Pittsburgh Public Schools provided her with the opportunity to thrive, and Oberlin Conservatory was a place where she could absorb a wide variety of musical and cultural influences (full disclosure—I’m also an Oberlin alum).  When Imani Winds came to Pittsburgh this past February I jumped at the opportunity to interview Monica Ellis for PNMNet. The idea was to focus on the group’s ambitious Legacy Commissioning Project, and their approach to new music. The conversation that eventually took place covered that and much more.

I talked with Monica via Skype and recorded the conversation onto my laptop (it sounds very skype-y), and we decided that the best use of our conversation would be to post the raw-dio. I strongly encourage you to listen to the full conversation to get a sense of just how thoughtful, engergetic, and out and out funny Monica is, but in the meantime, here are some highlights, with audio excerpts, after the jump.

Listen to the Complete Interview

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March 24, 2009 at 10:45 pm Comment (1)

Review of Alarm Will Sound’s 1969

Andy Druckenbrod published this over at Classical Musings. Here’s a taste:

“And after playing some excerpts of The Beatle’s “Revolution 9” during the show, the group ended the night with an amazing transcription of the famous experimental track from “the White Album.” Yes, they performed tape loops and all, in a totally live performance conducted expertly by Alan Pierson.”

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March 22, 2009 at 8:20 am Comments (0)

Welcoming Dave Bernabo to the PNMNet

There’s been a lot of posting the last few days, but I don’t want to miss the opportunity to welcome Dave Bernabo as a regular contributor to PNMNet. Dave is a stalwart in Pittsburgh’s avant-jazz/improv scene and he’s been one of the people who has helped to insure that this part of the City’s new music life is well-represented on this blog. So welcome, Dave. Looking forward to having your voice in the mix.

March 19, 2009 at 9:15 pm Comments (0)

Why Are Music, Concert III

March 28, 2009
8:00 pm



Monks (3634 Penn Avenue)

Johan Nystrom curated concert featuring

tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE performing “Triple-S Variety Show” (vaudeo with live soundtrack)
Michael Johnsen (solo electronics)
A Collaboration (Josh Beyer, Mike Tamburo, Tusk Lord)
David Bernabo (accordion)/Mike Tamburo (crowned eternal)

$3–$5 donation

March 19, 2009 at 8:57 pm Comments (0)

Why Are Music, Concert II

March 21, 2009
8:00 pm



Monks Art Space (3634 Penn Avenue)

Johan Nystrom curated concert featuring Melissa St. Pierre (solo, prepared piano, on Table of the Elements) and Graphic Scores by Ben Harris, tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE + others

$3-$5 donation

March 19, 2009 at 6:40 pm Comments (0)

Kelly Fiona Lynch and Walter Morales Perform at Chatham

Walter Morales sums it up perfectly in a note he sent me:

You are not going to believe this, but there is a third event featuring new music on Sunday night in this town. We need to have more alternative realities to be able to go to everything!!!

Kelly and Walter perform music by Berg, Vali, Griffes, and R. Strauss at Chatham’s James Laughlin Music Center Sunday night at 7 p.m. Details about this and all the other upcoming concerts (at least I think so) on the Events Calendar.

March 19, 2009 at 6:27 pm Comments (0)

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