September 25, 2009 |
It may be too soon and too hyperbolic to declare Carlsbad a new hotbed of contemporary classical music action. But as the sixth annual Carlsbad Music Festival unfolds this weekend featuring new music notables the Calder Quartet, the California E.A.R. Unit and guitarist-composer-conceptualist Fred Frith, clearly something is abuzz in the seaside town, at least for one weekend each year. Founded and nimbly run by young composer-violinist Matt McBane, the festival provides a fresh West Coast forum for new music, commissioned, performed and served up with seriousness as well as audience accessibility.
December 12, 1990 |
The great sorrow of contemporary music is not a lack of premieres, but the inconsistent performance histories afterwards. New music specialists, struggling to keep abreast of current production, can seldom afford the luxury of looking back, and nobody else seems to care. Which leaves works such as Henze's "Kammermusik 1958" all dressed up in robes of acclaim with nowhere to go. Rare performances of it tend to settle in memory with the weight of myth.
June 16, 1991 |
John Adams is home from the wars. A veteran of art's most grueling campaign--the creation of a contemporary opera--he has a wound to show for it: tendinitis in his right shoulder. He hurt himself by composing for more than 18 months, seven days a week, hour after hour, writing with pencil, 30 lines to the page, in a narrow upstairs room crowded with a grand piano, a bank of synthesizers, several samplers, a word processor, a printer and a tape recorder.
October 3, 1986 |
Pity the lot of the double bass player. Condemned to endless repetitions of tonics and dominants, he--occasionally a she -- rarely gets to shine except for some featured passages in the scherzo of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony or the finale of his Ninth. But for Bertram Turetzky, 53, who almost single-bowedly has made the instrument a solo vehicle of contemporary music, the double bass is "probably the most versatile of the bowed instruments."
January 8, 1992 |
After founding the London Sinfonietta in 1967, conductor David Atherton became known as an advocate of 20th-Century music, in general, and contemporary music, in particular. During his tenure leading the San Diego Symphony from 1980 until its demise in 1986 because of a budget crisis (it was later resurrected), he ruffled a few feathers with some adventurous programming.
March 2, 1990 |
The programming practices of Pacific Serenades, now in its fourth season, ought to provide a model for any chamber music series. First, the concerts are held in intimate, hospitable surroundings. Second, as was the case Wednesday evening at the William Andrews Clark Library, each concert places a newly commissioned work alongside examples of the standard chamber music repertory. And that's where contemporary music belongs, anyway--not relegated to mind-numbing orgies of new music.
July 24, 1985
Members of Southern California's contemporary music and poetry communities will be featured in a six-week series of performances beginning today at Safari Sam's in Huntington Beach. The series, co-sponsored by Safari Sam's and Atomic Records, opens tonight with readings by Surf Punks member Drew Steele, 18-year-old Los Angeles music writer Shredder and the "adolescent surf punk" music of the Fiends.
February 29, 1996 |
There's a reason CalArts calls it the Spring Music Festival. No other name is broad enough. For the next two weeks, the Valencia campus will be filled with the sounds of Indonesian music, African music and jazz. If that seems an odd grouping, it makes more sense when you realize that CalArts used to have separate festivals for world and contemporary music. They fused them in 1991 to show that the two categories aren't mutually exclusive.
March 5, 1985 |
In the ultra-serious, ultra-chic world of contemporary music, audiences simply don't go off dancing in the aisles. Music by the likes of Terry Riley and Philip Glass tends to sedate rather than excite. But at concerts by Paul Dresher, one of the members of the new minimalist generation (he prefers the term pre-maximalist ), many listeners have been inspired to shake their booties.