Pittsburgh New Music Net

cutting-edge music in the ’burgh and beyond

Week of New Music, October 14–20

Watching the Stillers, streaming the Veep debate, and blogging new music in the Burgh. Hey! James Harrison just sacked Paul Ryan!

Great concerts coming up this week starting with the first installment on IonSound Project’s “Music for Humans and Robots,” a recital by Donna Amato and Warren Davidson featuring music of Carson Cooman, Johanna Ballou playing Rzewski, and the Carnegie Mellon Contemporary Music Ensemble.

There’s a lot more coming soon from Alia Musica, ELCO, Music on the Edge and much more, so stay tuned.

October 11, 2012 at 10:16 pm Comments (0)

CMU Contemporary Ensemble

October 20, 2012
5:00 pm

Kresge Theatre

Details soon…

October 11, 2012 at 8:30 pm Comments (0)

Violinist Monique Mead performs Lutoslawski

February 5, 2012
3:00 pm

Kresge Recital Hall

Violinist Monique Meade and pianist Luz Manriquez will perform a recital that includes Lutoslawski’s Subito along with music by Mozart, Sarasate, and Prokofiev. The program will feature concert commentary by CMU Music Preparatory School students Tino Cardenes, Madeline Hilf, Maine Hoppo, Morgan Dufer, William Wang, and Gabrielle Faetini.

January 30, 2012 at 12:22 pm Comments (0)

Kohanski Premieres Danielpour with Wheeling, CMU Student Composers

Elisa and Elisa in Wheeling.

Cellist extraordinaire Elisa Kohanski will be one of two soloists in Wheeling Symphony Orchestra’s premiere of Richard Danielpour’s Come Up from the Fields, Father. It’s a one night only Veteran’s Day celebration which you can find out more about here.

I’m also grateful to Michael Ceurvorst for sending me information about the CMU student composers concert this Saturday, Nov. 12 , 6 p.m. at Alumni Hall. It’s a free concert and open to the public and features all new works. Here’s more info about that event on FB. Check it out, if you can.

Let’s see, what else? Oh yeah. Tomorrow is Nigel Tufnel Day…



November 10, 2011 at 12:28 pm Comments (0)

Loadbang Returns!

October 27, 2011
8:00 pm

CMU’s Kresge Hall


loadbang returns to Pittsburgh on October 27th.

Trumpeter and Pittsburgh native Andy Kozar returns with loadbang for a concert at CMU’s Kresge Theatre. The New York City-based new music ensemble (comprising trumpet, trombone, bass clarinet, and baritone voice) showcases the breadth and variety of their repertoire with a program of recent commissions and avant-garde classics.

Reiko Füting’s Land of Silence and Alexandre Lunsqui’s Guttural both exploit the air-based sound production employed by the ensemble as a whole, calling on the baritone to act as an instrument, and the instrumentalists to act as vocalists, blurring and blending the sounds. As a complement to these commissions, John Cage’s classic Living Room Music also calls on the players to speak and play household items as instruments. Paul Pinto’s Goodbye Dido is a kind of foggy remembrance of a small portion of the lament of Dido from Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, stretching and exploring the spaces between the original notes. With How to breathe underwater, Chris Cerrone has written a kind of wordless ambient pop song for loadbang; Nick Didkovksy’s Firm, soapy hothead on the other hand is a wild and jittery computer-composed setting of faux aphorisms. To round out the program, loadbang splits into its component parts as an instrumental trio and vocal solo. Timothy McCormack’s Disfix explores the limits of notation and its link to the physical activity of loadbang’s instrumentalists; Aaron Cassidy’s I, purples, spat blood, laugh of beautiful lips pushes the voice similarly, battling with an ever-changing computer counterpart.

October 13, 2011 at 8:45 pm Comments (0)

VIA New Media Festival

VIA is a huge multi-date, multi-venue festival of new media for sound and visual artists with workshops/installations. There’s so much stuff going on and so many different artists and presenters, I’m just going to send you here.

Of particular interest to composers might be this event featuring David Borden,

“the creative force behind the world’s first synthesizer ensemble, Mother Mallard’s Portable Masterpiece Co. (1969), and founder of Cornell’s Digital Music Department, will perform with emerging artists Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never, Ford & Lopatin), Laurel Halo, James Ferraro (Skaters), and Samuel Godin. This event marks the international live premier for the ensemble since recording FRKWYS Vol. 7 as part of the Brooklyn label RVNG Intl.’s FRKWYS series, which pairs contemporary artists with those who have preceded them in sound or approach.

“CMU Professor of Music & Computer Science, Roger Dannenberg, will provide an introduction followed by a short lecture from Borden, “The Moog Synthesizer Lecture: The Man I Knew and the Machine I Learned”, revealing inside stories on the development of the Moog Synthesizer and its creator, Bob Moog.”

It’s happening Thursday night, October 6 at CMU’s Kresge Theater.

H/T Marielle Saums

October 3, 2011 at 12:46 pm Comments (0)

Pittsburgh’s Host Skull releases new composition on Chicago’s Contraphonic label

Host Skull, the duo of David Bernabo and Will Dyar, released a new composition on Chicago’s Contraphonic label. The piece, titled “Fourth River”, juxtaposes arrhythmic electronics with lush sections of classical guitar, vibraphone, and percussion. To flesh out the lineup, this instance of Host Skull also includes vibraphonist Jeff Berman, modular synth-ist Herman “Soy Sos” Pearl, and a trio of Ben Harris/Kerrith Livengood/Brandon Masterman. The composition comes as an MP3 along with an essay on Pittsburgh by Contraphonic label owner Ben Schulman and photography by CMU’s Alternative Photo Process class, led by professor Elizabeth Raymer Griffin.

The package can be purchased through Contraphonic here for the very reasonable price of $3.99.

Host Skull’s first official show will this Friday, April 29th at The Frame on Carnegie Mellon’s campus at Forbes and Margaret Morrison. Host Skull will be represented by David Bernabo and Jeff Berman.

Pittsburgh’s Fourth River is the sometimes mythologized, sometimes forgotten river that flows below the surface. More accurately, it is an aquifer that is given the name Wisconsin Glacial Flow. The visible manifestations of the river can be seen in the fountain at Point State Park and in some of the downtown drinking water. When the Fourth River is mentioned, grand notions of a flowing subterranean river come to mind. This is in direct contrast to what is actually is: sand, gravel, and a bit of water running through it.

Watch a video preview of the piece here.

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April 28, 2011 at 12:33 am Comment (1)

Tower and Firebird, Ravish Momin, and MOTE Madness

So is this a great weekend for new music in Pittsburgh or a terrible weekend? I think it depends on whether you can bilocate and/or have plenty of time. Here’s the rundown.

Starting tonight (Thursday) and running through March 5, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will perform Joan Tower’s Tambor and Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite (1945, not 1911. Go figure.).

On Saturday, March 5, the PSO will read works by student composers from CMU, Duquesne, Pitt, and WVU. This is a great program that really gives our up and coming composers a truly unique experience, so bravo to the PSO and all this year’s composers who had their music selected.

The evening of March 5 brings Ravish Momin and Tarana back to town after a very well received concert at the Warhol this summer. Or you can take in entelechron—Roger Zahab, Rob Frankenberry, and David Russell—at the Andy Warhol Museum performing music of John Cage. See what I mean about bilocating?

The Cage program at the Warhol is the first of three Music on the Edge Programs in 15 days, so as they say in the action movies, buckle up! MOTE continues its highly compressed season on March 13 with New York’s counter)induction and finishes off with the entirely unique Newband playing music by Harry Partch, Dean Drummond, and Mathew Rosenblum on the Harry Partch Instruments.

Check out the events calendar for more details.



March 3, 2011 at 1:20 pm Comments (0)

February experimental music series at Garfield Artworks

This February, performance space Garfield Artworks, with the help of local new music patrons The Consortium,
has scheduled a group of experimental music concerts that happened to congeal into a mini-series. Here’s
the information on the events. All take place at Garfield Artworks, 4931 Penn Avenue, and are open to all ages
with doors opening at 8 p.m. Tickets available at the door only.

Wednesday February 2 $8.00
free-improvisational trio from New York City
ACID BIRDS (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Acid-Birds/130746556939449)
Jaime Fennelly, harmonium + electronics
Charles Waters, alto saxophone + bass clarinet
Andrew Barker, drums
with special guests Ben Opie (celebrate the release of his duet CD with Anthony Braxton!),
Riley Harmon (electronic musician from Carnegie Mellon), and Matt Wellins (local sound artist).

Acid Birds is an exciting trio fusing free jazz improvisation, noise and drone that “falls somewhere between [Anthony] Braxton and [Cornelius] Cardew.” Formed in 2004 in Brooklyn, NY, Barker & Waters are both founding members of Gold Sparkle Band, and Fennelly, who recently relocated to Chicago from the Pacific Northwest, is 1/3 of Peeesseye. Their first self-titled LP came out on the Italian label QBICO in 2009. Their second LP, Acid Birds II, was released in January 2011 on Sagitarrius A-Star, and the new Brooklyn label Electric Temple Records will be releasing their first cassette, entitled Mock Load, to coincide with their Midwest / East Coast tour in February 2011.

Monday February 14 $7.00
experimental electronic group from Sydney, Australia
that plays entirely circuit-bent toy instruments
TOYDEATH (http://www.toydeath.com)
with special guests Half Nelson (new LP on Wolf Eyes’ American Tapes label), Robot Cowboy (electronic
musician from Carnegie Mellon), and Bureau of Nonstandards (local circuit-bending duo)

Formed in 1995, Sydney band Toydeath coerce all their music from tortured electronic toys! They have collected an arsenal of toys to make any kindergarten green with envy. You will hear talking dolls, Speak and Spells, Rock Guitars, Hulk Hands, telephones and lots of other fantastic toys! Toydeath use circuit bending to hand-modify the toys allowing them to be amplified and also extending their sonic capabilities. They assume toy-like characters with colourful costumes as part of our stage show. On stage you will see G.I. Joe, Big Judy and Super Dad. Toydeath have both major rock festivals and art biennales (such as Ars Electronica) and toured Germany, Holland, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Austria, Japan, Korea and China. Bring your kids to this one and let them stay up late for a change!

Friday February 18 $7.00
experimental electroacoustic duo from Trondheim, Norway
above the Arctic Circle!
VERTEX (http://www.myspace.com/vertexmusic)
with special guests Radic Sun’til (tribal electronic postrock ensemble) and Dreamweapon (local electronic artist)
Vertex spontaneously composes electroacoustic music that is both immediate and enticing to listen to. From lowercase drones through beautiful melodic passages to assaulting industrial walls of sound, Vertex creates a plausible yet otherwordly soundscape with its own set of natural laws. Their debut album, “shapes & phases” has been released on the renowned label SOFA, mixed and mastered by the talented Giuseppe Ielasi. Petter Vågan uses guitars, lapsteels and prepared guitars with an array of effects in a delicate manner to mangle and distort reality in his own way. Tor Haugerud has developed a unique playing style with his unorthodox drumset, electronics and unconventional instruments like fans, drills, singing bowls, bows, and stones.

Saturday February 26 $10.00
renowned New York City percussionist and poet
WILLIAM HOOKER (http://www.williamhooker.com)
with special guests Matta Gawa (drums/guitar improv duo from Washington, D.C.), Michael Johnsen (local
electronic improvisor on self-built instruments) and Abram Taber (solo experimental guitar from Boston)

William Hooker is an American jazz drummer and composer. Early in his career, he played with the Isley Brothers and Dionne Warwick. In college, Hooker began broadening his musical vision, writing a paper on Alban Berg and befriending members of Funkadelic. A move to New York City led him to the “loft scene” of adventurous free jazz performers. While most of Hooker’s output is rooted in free jazz, critic Neil Strauss has written, “William Hooker is a man determined to get his music ‘out there’, and he’ll cross any genre to do it.” His work has also crossed over into noise rock and free improvisation, working with Glenn Spearman, Christian Marclay, DJ Olive, William Parker, Sabir Mateen, Dave Soldier, and Sonic Youth founders Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo. He has releases on the following labels: Table of the Elements, Alien 8, Atavistic, Knitting Factory, Homestead, Silkheart, and Ecstatic Peace.

January 31, 2011 at 1:25 pm Comments (0)

Invisible Cities. Please Drive Carefully.

So between Cikada performing Eivind Buene’s Possible Cities/Essential Landscapes in October, and Duquesne Contemporary Ensemble’s multimedia production Invisible Patterns (tonight at PNC Recital Hall), I feel like the cosmos is telling me it’s time to read Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, the novel that inspired both Buene’s composition and Duquesne’s production. Or at least Duquesne director Patrick “The Cosmos” Burke is telling me to read it. Either one.

In any case, new music groups at both Duquesne and CMU will present programs this week. Duquesne goes tonight (Thursday at 8 p.m.) and CMU is on Saturday at 5. You can find the details, as always, on the Events Calendar.

December 2, 2010 at 8:34 am Comments (0)

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