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Ecstatic Music
18 Feb 2011
Inside the Classics

A little over a week from now, the orchestra makes its annual trip to New York, there to play our apparently-also-annual Beethoven/Sibelius smorgasbord at Carnegie Hall. We have explained to New York that we know how to play other composers’ music, too. But New York didn’t say anything for a while, then nodded and smiled thinly in a weird, off-kilter sort of way that made us think of serial killers, so Beethoven and Sibelius it is!

(Seriously, I don’t know why we only play those two composers at Carnegie. I’m told it’s been at their* the hall’s request, though, so I guess it means they like the way we play them.)

I’ll actually be sticking around the city for most of the week following our Monday night concert, and I’ll be spending a good bit of that time shadowing our very own MicroCommission composer and fellow ItC blogger, Judd Greenstein, as he prepares for one of the many concerts in the Upper West Side’s Ecstatic Music Festival, which he curates.

Judd and I will sit down for a long-form interview at some point, but mainly, I’ll just be trying to capture as much audio and video of his musical life as possible for later use both here on the blog and elsewhere. The New York new music scene is an incredibly diverse and exciting place to be right now, and the music being made crosses genre boundaries and performance conventions that would have been unthinkable even a decade ago.


Sing Along, by Judd Greenstein, performed by the NOW Ensemble

The concert all this preparation is for will take place on Thursday, March 3, and feature the debut of Judd’s new ensemble, The Yehudim, which his Twitter feed says contains many, many percussionists. Apparently, they’re quite loud. (Also, I initially thought that something called DUMBO was involved in the performance, but it turns out that this is a neighborhood in Brooklyn, and Judd was just trying to give me directions to the rehearsal studio. I don’t feel that this mix-up reflects badly on me in the least. DUMBO sounds way more like some sort of high-tech mixing software than a geographical designation.)

I’ll do my best to blog my New York week as it’s going along, though things may get a bit sparse on busy days. (The trouble with being a musician visiting New York is that we all know at least a thousand people who live there, it being a bit of a musical center and all, and if you’re part of a visiting orchestra playing Carnegie, all of them know exactly when you’re going to be in town.) But rest assured, we’ll have a lot of Judd’s music and more in this space over the coming weeks and months, and stay tuned for details regarding a performance of some of his music in St. Paul in just a few weeks!

Speaking of which (you knew this was coming,) have you made a donation to the MicroCommission Project yet? We’re off to a great start, with over $3000 of our $20,000 goal already raised, but frankly, we need a lot more of you to jump on board with us and get involved in bringing Judd’s first major orchestral work to life! It only takes a couple of minutes, and the amount you give is entirely up to you. Also, whatever you choose to give is 100% tax-deductible, and every dime we raise goes to the composer and his publisher. No administrative fees, no diverting a chunk of the proceeds to the orchestra’s budget – this is purely and simply a drive to pay for the creation of art. Sound good? We think so – click here to get involved.

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