|Posted by The Fourth Wall on May 1, 2013 at 11:55 AM|
Posted by Greg
NEW MUSIC! When I see a group like Alarm Will Sound, So Percussion, Eighth Blackbird, Ensemble Dal Niente, or ICE (the International Contemporary Ensemble) booked within driving distance on a day and time when I can travel, I go and it’s always worth the trip! I partly go because these are all phenomenal groups who are successfully presenting contemporary music and I would love to play with them at some point, but usually what seals the deal is the programming. NEW MUSIC! I really like new music. New music is the now dated umbrella term used to describe all kinds of music emerging from the western classical tradition since around 1950. It may sound like this:
or this: Music in Similar Motion
...or this: Drumkit Quartet
Something about the freshness of the music and the dedication and care it takes to program and execute that kind of repertoire allows me to forge a deeper relationship with the performers and sounds coming from the stage that I usually can with older repertoire. Of course there are musical clunkers out there and sometimes performances are imperfect, but I feel I can rely upon the musicianship of the aforementioned groups to carry my attention and give me an exciting experience. Like going to see the Chicago Symphony or New York or LA Phil, if you plunge into a concert by AWS, So, 8bb, Dal Niente, or ICE, you know you will be seeing passionate musicians playing at the top of their game. Also, by supporting new music, I know that I am helping to shape the future of our musical landscape.
In the last nine months, I’ve made several trips to Chicago and St. Louis to see some truly spectacular new music concerts and it is my most recent trip that has inspired me to write this post. As the final show of their inaugural St. Louis season, Alarm Will Sound presented 1969 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center. 1969 is a wonderfully conceived show thought up by AWS’s artistic director Alan Pierson (who I have a total music crush on for his work with not just AWS, but also his neat programming with the Brooklyn Philharmonic). The show draws much of its inspiration from a failed meeting between Karlheinz Stockhausen and John Lennon (played by actors in the production, a third actor portrays Luciano Berio), but has speaking/singing roles for nearly every ensemble member as a variety of major figures from the time help outline events of the year (MLK and JFK assassinations, Nixon presidency, Vietnam, and more) and draw us as audience members into a rapidly changing world. Of my recent voyages for new music, 1969 was the show most similar to our work in The Fourth Wall. Though this is not AWS’s first “hybrid arts” show, it’s the first I’ve been able to see live and it has given me some wonderful new ideas for TFW. Stay tuned!