May 9, 2013 | by andrewsigler | | Leave a Comment
Classical pianist James Rhodes has made a connection with wider audiences recently through documentaries for BBC 4, Sky Arts, and TEDxOxford. He speaks more about his viewpoint in this NPR interview, which also has the TEDxOxford presentation embedded.
Heads up folks, there’s a bit of NSFW language.
April 25, 2013 | by andrewsigler | | Leave a Comment
A grant to Allison Orr Dance (aka Forklift Danceworks) in Austin, Texas, of $10,000 will support the creation and presentation of Journeyman by choreographer Allison Orr, in collaboration with the employees of Austin’s Municipal Energy Department. This is the third in a series of large-scale civic spectacles and will include original music by Graham Reynolds performed by the Austin Symphony and led by conductor Peter Bay, and feature 75 employees performing on 35-foot utility poles and ten bucket trucks and cranes.
April 15, 2013 | by tristanboyd | | Leave a Comment
This week we were able to catch a word with Matt Teodori from Line Upon Line Percussion as he discussed the upcoming Fusebox Festival opening event, a performance of Hugh Dufourt’s epic percussion masterpiece Erewhon. Take a look at the video here. For more information check out lineuponlinepercussion.com and fuseboxfestival.com
Craig Hella Johnson in Roundtable and Musicians Forum at Texas State University next Thursday, April 18
April 12, 2013 | by andrewsigler | | 1 Comment
Roundtable Discussion, Music Bldg. (MUS 214) – 4:30
Craig Hella Johnson, Dr. Joey M. Martin, Dr. Jonathan Babcock, and Dr. Lynn Brinckmeyer will discuss their professional experiences.
Musicians Forum “The Professional Artist and the Ensemble,” Music Bldg. Recital Hall (MUS 236) - 6:15pm-7:15pm
An open dialogue with artist-in-residence, Craig Hella Johnson and Conspirare professional artist Laura Mercado Wright, mezzo soprano. Maestro Johnson & Ms. Wright will share their perspectives for professional artists and the value of the ensemble experience.
Both events are free and open to the public!
April 10, 2013 | by tristanboyd | | 1 Comment
Excited about Fusebox Festival? Listen as Ron discusses some of the future plans for the festival and what shows we can expect this coming month in the 2nd part of our interview found here.
Last week we got together via Google Hang with Ron Berry, the Artistic Director for Austin’s annual Fusebox Festival, to discuss the festival and this year’s lineup. Check out part 1 of the interview here! To learn more about the festival take a look at fuseboxfestival.com.
March 21, 2013 | by andrewsigler | | 2 Comments
Acclaimed director Peter Sellars delivered the keynote speech at Future Play - a symposium about the future of music education presented by the Barbican Centre and LA Phil. Sellars covers a series of insightful and provocative viewpoints which can be heard severally or all together HERE.
“We’re so not finished with this” – why we need to remind ourselves what the form of classical music was all about.
“How interested, really, are we in African Drumming… except that it helps your Steve Reich concert?” - a call for radical structures of reciprocity.
“If you are so culturally narrow, you are in trouble right now” - emphasising the centrality of ‘ethnic’ music to the western classical tradition.
“The working educational model for fascism” - a searing critique of the American education system.
Guitar players are not hard to find in Austin. On a given night in the music capitol one can probably expect to find over a hundred people strumming some four chord songs in a number of bars, clubs, coffee shops, and perhaps even street corners downtown. What audiences were treated to Friday night by the Austin Classical Guitar Society’s guest duo Soloduo was something else entirely.
Matteo Mela and Lorenzo Micheli have performed across the globe, but have a special place in the Austin crowd’s heart having performed here several times with the Austin Classical Guitar Society. As a first time listener to a classical guitar concert let me assure you, my blank slate was filled with only praises.
The concert begin slowly with some variations on a Handel theme before transitioning to some preludes and fugues from the “Well Tempered Guitar” by Castelnuovo-Tedesco. While beautifully articulated by the duo, all of these pieces served only as the appetizers in a dense 6 course meal. The first bit of steak came when the pair broke into Piazzolla’s Tango Suite. Amidst the flurry of rhythmically active and clearly articulated notes it first occurred to me that two performers never play carefully. Mela and Micheli perform without any regard for how their personal interpretations of time and shape will affect the cohesion of the group, each placing their faith in the other to respond accordingly to their musical freedom. Their faith is well rewarded. From long years of performing together the two have developed an understanding of each other that surpasses nearly any group I’ve ever seen, allowing no fear of ensemble disunity to prevent them from expressing as much they desire.
The acoustics of the Methodist church were not the most excellent, and often many subtleties in Soloduo’s playing were lost to the audience seated further back (myself included). This being said, the quiet nature of the concert allowed me to examine the audience and experience under a particularly revealing lens. Matthew Hinsley, the Executive Director of the Austin Classical Guitar Society (ACGS), has done an amazing job over the past decade increasing the donor base for the society and creating a diverse and loyal audience for their series of concerts. Sitting near the back I was able to see nearly every age group represented in the 500 or more people in attendance. Furthermore, as the duo plucked away at their instruments, the resulting sound was less than able to cover any conversation within a 20 foot radius, so none were held. In silent affirmation of the pair’s talent the audience remained completely still and attentive.
Stillness however, was well earned by the performers, especially in the second half which included a delightfully crunchy serenade by Jolivet, a breathtaking transcription of Debussy’s Claire de lune, and a virtuostic display of technical and musical skill in the duo’s transcription of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. Every note was played with total relaxation of form and enraptured the audience. The aforementioned stillness was relatively easy to achieve with such wonders occurring on stage. At the conclusion of the concert I looked down at my watch to discover that my internal clock had poorly misjudged the nearly 2 hour length. I felt as if I had only been sitting for 45 minutes.
The guitar is an accessible instrument to many, not carrying the pretentious nature of so many other “classical instruments,” yet as Soloduo demonstrated, the amount of classical excellence that can be demonstrated on it is staggering. In many ways this sets up classical guitar concerts for success. Classical music fans and those without a taste for Mozart or Haydn can get a great amount of satisfaction from watching excellent guitarists without having to jump anywhere outside their comfort zone. I personally felt more than comfortable listening to the music provided by the pair of Italian guitarists. I should bear in mind however that perhaps my first take has spoiled me; I don’t expect to hear a classical guitar duo anywhere near as good anytime soon.
Looking for interesting classical music events this March? Not only does the Blanton Museum of Art offer a unique performance experience on March 10th but the internationally renowned Austin SXSW festival will host its own plethora of classical events in no more than a week. Leave a comment and let us know which concerts you are most excited about and make sure not to miss out on these great opportunities!
February 27, 2013 | by tristanboyd | | Leave a Comment
On Friday, March 1st the Austin Classical Guitar Society will present a performance by the fabulous guitar duo SoloDuo . Texas Performing Arts invites you to join the performing artists and many other leading artists in the Austin area at Pinthouse Pizza for a casual post-concert “hang” after the show!
If you haven’t yet heard SoloDuo, check out this amazing performance of “Chiquinha Gonzaga” from the Suite “Retratos” by Radamés Gnattali!
Whether you have questions about the performance, ideas you want to share with the artists, or are simply interested in grabbing a drink with others who appreciate the excellent music you’ve experienced, this event will be an excellent way to cap off a spectacular performance by what the Washington Post calls “one of the most engaging duos in classical music”
There is a special discount for friends and fans of Texas Performing Arts – tickets are just $15 (normally $35). This discount is only available by phone! Simply call the guitar society at 512-300-2247 and mention “Pinthouse Party”.
Directions to Pinthouse Pizza can be found here.