I would be remiss if I didn’t highlight Andy Druckenbrod’s departure from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as classical music critic. Andy plans to finish his MBA and consult in the non-profit sector. You should definitely check out his final P-G column. Though it’s geared toward general classical music lovers there are some nice things in there about the contemporary music scene. Indeed one of the things that Andy did consistently during his tenure as classical music critic was give plenty of press to new music, often in the form of well-researched, engagingly written previews about artists and composers. He even gave a much appreciated shout-out to this humble blog back in the early days when getting a couple hundred unique visitors a month seemed like a huge win. Now PNMNet routinely garners upwards of 2000 unique visitors each month and I have no doubt that being on Andy’s blogroll at the P-G played a significant role in that growth.
So whither classical music criticism in the P-G? Will they hire someone else? Maybe a part-timer? Will this be one of those cost-cutting by attrition things? I guess we’ll all find out soon, but here’s hoping that the Post-Gazette will continue to find a way to cover the City’s flourishing classical/alt-classical music scene—and not just the big established institutions, but the smaller, independent organizations where, more often than not, the real innovation is to be found.
Nice job by the trad media highlighting some of the innovative music happening this weekend. Andy Druckenbrod previews Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble in the Post-Gazette as does Mark Kanny in the Trib. But in all the (justified) hoopla about the new PNME season, don’t miss out on Relative Positions which is featured in the City Paper this week. Relative Positions is an interdisciplinary event that includes a new piece by the Burgh’s own David Gerard Matthews with ELCO performing.
Lots of good press coming toward the HEAR/NOW Festival of New Sound. Including Pop City,City Paper, and the Post-Gazette. From Pop City, here’s Kelly Strayhorn’s Janera Solomon:
“I started to notice more emerging ensembles, collectives and musicians who are classically trained and playing a broader range of music around Pittsburgh. Our idea started as a new classical music festival. All of the artists are inspired by, or have a connection to, classical music in some shape, form or fashion,” says Solomon, who has been with the Theater since 2008. “This is an experiment. We try ideas out new ideas at the Kelly Strayhorn to see how artists and audiences feel about them. We have a rich theme in terms of musicians, artists and students being trained here. We want to explore this scene, as well as the artists’ careers and the audiences’ responses.”
So in case this slipped past you in the holiday rush, new music events made an impressive showing in Andy Druckenbrod’s top 10 classical concerts of the year list: Music on the Edge (Newband), Opera Theater of Pittsburgh (Ricky Ian Gordon’s Orpheus and Euridice), Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble (Lee Hoiby’s Bon Appetit), and the Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival (music of Solomon Rosowsky). Check out the full article for Andy’s explanations.
So it was a great year for New Music in Pittsburgh, and as those of you who follow this blog regularly know, that was only the tip of the iceberg. And 2012? Staritn’ off with a bang. check out the repopulated events calendar and you’ll see what I mean.
And speaking of starting off with a bang, don’t miss Dave Bernabo’s very thorough interview with League of the Unsound Sound co-founders David Smooke and Ken Ueno. LotUS comes to the Warhol next Saturday night.
Update: and I almost forgot this profile of new music performer extraordinaire Rob Frankenberry. Let’s have a virtual show of hands for how many of us have had our music played beautifully by Rob! Yeah!
The Music on the Edge Morton Feldman Symposium and Mini-Festival kicks off at Wood Street Galleries tonight at 8 p.m. with a concert featuring cellist Jonathan Golove and and pianist Amy Williams performing Patterns in a Chromatic Field. The two-part symposium takes place at Pitt’s Music Building tomorrow starting at 10 and , and the final event is a performance of Crippled Symmetry at 8 p.m. back at Wood Street Galleries with Amy Williams and Jan Williams, Amy’ father and the percussionist who premiered many of Feldman’s works, and the irrepressible Lindsey Goodman on flute.
It’s gonna be a great two days of music and insight into one of the true masters of the late 20th century. And don’t miss the fantastic preview by Mike Shanley in the City Paper that gives us a window into Jan and Amy Williams’ personal interactions with Feldman.
It’s that time of the year again! Four weeks of outstanding contemporary chamber music—scratch that— theatre of music presented by Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble. I had the privilege once again to sit down with Kevin Noe and the members of the ensemble and talk about what was in store for the season, and I’ve uploaded part one of the interview for this week. Look for more installments over the next month, including Jeffrey Nytch discussing the premiere of his new work Notturno, Kevin describing PNME’s collaboration with Pittsburgh artist Val Cox, and what I found to be a really compelling conversation about the challenges and pitfalls of being a composer today. Also check out the TradMed previews from Mark Kanny and Andrew Druckenbrod. The 2011 PNME season starts tonight at the South Side’s City Theatre at 8 p.m.
Two great concerts this weekend: Third Coast Percussion, featuring Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble’s own David Skidmore, plays at the Carnegie Lecture Hall on Saturday night at 8; Alia Music Pittsburgh gives its Winter Concert on Sunday night at 7 p.m. at Chatham’s James Laughlin Music Hall. Complete details on the Events Calendar.
Can’t wait for all the new music goodness? Don’t!
And in case you missed them, some nice articles in the Post-Gazette recently covering the adventurous end of the local music spectrum. Check out Andy Druckenbrod’s article on Music on the Edge at 20, as well as Manny Theiner’s write-up of Ben Opie’s recent CD release of duets with Anthony Braxton.
This Thursday and Friday, dancer Gia Cacalano will premiere new pieces that combine choreography and improvisation in dance with music by vibraphonist Jeff Berman and David Bernabo. The performances take place at The Space Upstairs (214 N. Lexington St, above Construction Junction) and you can see a preview of the show in this week’s City Paper. Find out more about the show here.
And don’t forget that Alia Musica Pittsburgh’s summer recital series continues this weekend as well when clarinetist Rachael Stutzman performs music by Bernstein, Copland, and a premiere by Federico Garcia. The concert takes place at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Friday at 7:30 and you can find out more about the show from the AMP homepage.
Lots of great new music coming up as we head into the fall and I’ll be updating the main events calendar in the near future.