Sybarite5 ~ Kickstarting the Forward Festival

Sybarite5, that great quintet that specializes in transcriptions is back, and they are currently raising money through Kickstarter for an event called the Forward Festival, which the group is calling “The world’s first portable chamber music festival”. You can find out how to help by watching the clip and clicking on the link below for details.

From their Kickstarter page:

This May, Sybarite5 is on a mission to launch the world’s first portable chamber music festival, The Forward Festival.
The Forward Festival is simple by design but limitless in its scope and reach. For our inaugural week of concerts, we will collaborate with the outstanding musicians of the Sarasota community to perform in venues across the city. The music will be fresh and accessible; the performances vital and surprising. Forward Festival will bring the whole community together to celebrate its inherent cultural richness during this week. We then plan to re-create the Forward Festival in cities and towns across the country and the world.


The first Forward Festival will take place in Sarasota, FL, where the group has deep roots. We have five concerts lined up, featuring world class artists in five different Sarasota venues. We will collaborate with Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Blythe Gaissert, Sarasota Orchestra’s principal cellist and harpist Abe Feder and Cheryl Losey; Sarasota’s own renowned Chroma Quartet; acclaimed pianist Djordje Nesic; and versatile percussionist George Nickson. The concerts will take place all over Sarasota, from the Symphony Center to alternative art spaces like the HuB. The concerts will include music from Debussy to Radiohead and a world premiere by Andy Akiho.



This is our most ambitious undertaking to date. We are truly creating something from the ground up; something we hope to see flourish for years to come and which will enable us to engage with communities previously unreached by classical or chamber music. But we can’t do it alone. There are huge expenses associated with creating a music festival, and we have already received some wonderful support, but we have a long way to go. The funds we hope to raise through this campaign will go towards the immediate cost of this year’s festival. We need to rent venues, get insurance, pianos, music, cars, video equipment, as well as pay for travel, production costs, video, printing, ticketing, and other expenses…the list goes on and on! But you can help. Plus, your support will also help the larger mission of the Forward Festival: to help its presence evolve across the country and the world, and become something that is recognized as an innovative contribution to the artistic landscape of our time. Please consider being a part of this journey—and help us bring Forward Festival to your own backyard!



Comprised of violinists Sami Merdinian and Sarah Whitney, violist Angela Pickett, cellist Laura Metcalf and bassist Louis Levitt, Sybarite5 is the first string quintet ever to win the Concert Artists Guild Competition. The quintet has performed in 26 states, as well as Newfoundland Canada, and is traveling to Japan and Argentina in the coming months. Sybarite5 made its Carnegie Hall debut in Zankel Hall in 2012, and its debut EP Disturb the Silence reached the top ten on the Billboard Charts. The group also recently released an all-Radiohead album on the CAG Record label. Sybarite5 has received awards and accolades including the Sylvia Ann Hewlett Adventurous Artist Award, a Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Grant, and others.

Click here to donate to Sybarite5’s Kickstarter page for the Forward Festival

Forward Festival (

The Glass Shō ~ Lainie Fefferman Discusses Her 2 Premieres

Composer Lainie Fefferman sat down to do a really fun and informative interview with me for The Glass Sho podcast, and below are some excerpts from the chat about her 2 premieres next month. The rock oratorio Here I Am, featuring new music band Newspeak and a cappella trio Va Vocals (May 1st at Roulette in Brooklyn), and a stand-alone piece titled “The Pirate’s Daughter” to be premiered by ETHEL at their Homebaked Commssions concert (May 11th at DROM in Manhattan; Links with information are on the bottom)
You can listen to the full published interview on the Glass Sho link at the bottom or on the right of this page.

newspeak4[Pictured left, Newspeak]

“Here I Am is a rock oratorio…It’s just tough what to call it. It’s new music, but it’s got lots of rock elements in it. I call it an oratorio because it is in the tradition of biblical stories and people singing out these biblical stories often as an omniscient narrator and not always taking on a role as a biblical character. It’s the intoning of these biblical stories and it’s not staged, but a semi-staged production. It’s got a lot of theatrical elements. It doesn’t feel like a concert to me, and I felt that rock lets you know the sound of the music that’s going to happen in this oratorio, because it’s a singing-out of these crazy biblical stories, so, that’s where that came from! I don’t really know what it is, it’s some kind of big, crazy theatrical music extravaganza, so I call it an oratorio.”

Lainie Fefferman: Here I Am – Trailer from Lainie Fefferman on Vimeo.


“I’ve loved ETHEL forever! When I was just starting to learn about new music, one of the first CDs I bought was the 1st ETHEL CD with the arm. And I fell in love, I just decided that was it!
Ralph Farris called me some time ago, and I was actually having dinner with my family, and I said ‘Hello? Who is this number?’, and he said ‘Hi, this is Ralph Farris, can I talk to you?’, and I was talking to Ralph Farris! He said ‘We love your music, can you write a piece for us for our Homebaked Commissions?’, and I was over the moon! That was my dream commission!

Trailer for the Pirate’s Daughter

I had been doing a series of pieces for a bunch of friends that I’m calling my portrait pieces–I tape interviews that I have with the commissioning performer, and I use that as a tape track. I highly edit it, but I use it as a tape track behind the piece, so that the audience hears the piece and the performer’s voice speaking about music, life and whatever we happen to be talking about. So this is what I wanted to also do for ETHEL’s piece. It turns out they are hilarious! So, the piece has a lot of humor, but I talked to them…Because ETHEL’s been so big in my life, I ended up talking to them a lot about the history of the group–what makes them (in my mind) a really special quartet and what makes them really different from other string quartets, and in a way, the piece is an homage to what they’ve done for the New York music scene and new music in general.”

The Glass Shō: Episode 4 (Lainie Fefferman)

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Click here for info/tickets for Here I Am at Roulette, May 1st

Click here for info/tickets for ETHEL’s Homebaked Commissions show featuring Lainie’s piece The Pirate’s Daughter at DROM, May 11th

Lainie Fefferman (

The Glass Shō ~ Michael Vincent Waller Talks Five Easy Pieces… The EP

Composer Michael Vincent Waller released Five Easy Pieces, a digital EP of solo piano pieces that sound very much in a vein that combines minimalist styles with French impressionism. Gumi Shibata and Jenny Q. Chai are the featured soloists on the recording.

Michael talks about the EP in this excerpt from the interview he did for The Glass Sho podcast. You can hear the interview in its entirety on the link below.

Michael Vincent Waller - Five Easy Pieces - cover

“Five Easy Pieces is a new EP I just released…Essentially, this is the beginning of my recorded career. I had always focused on live performance, composing and commissioned works, but recording was something I had been interested in, and this is my first offering, which, I think is music I want to hear. The EP is about creating a vibe of contemplation, a kind of hypnotic, relaxing introspection. Sort of philosophical while being emotional. The EP, although it’s only 25 mins, allows you to enter into that world and really experience it without being sort of overloaded, I guess.”

The Glass Shō: Episode 3a (Michael Vincent Waller)

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Click here to purchase Five Easy Pieces by Michael Vincent Waller

Michael Vincent Waller (

Fred Ho (1957-2014) ~ Marie Incontrera Shares Memories of Her Mentor

Fred Ho

Composer/saxophonist/bandleader Fred Ho, a truly unique artist who has been creating an interesting avant-garde blend of music featuring elements of jazz, big band, opera, and Asian folk and theatrical music, has sadly passed away on April 12 after battling metastatic colorectal cancer for the last 8 years. But it is very interesting to note that Fred Ho continues to keep his legacy going through his protégés, one of them his last student, composer Marie Incontrera. I heard about him when I interviewed her about the premiere of one of her works, and sure enough, I had the brief pleasure of meeting Mr. Ho that night at the show. Marie and I later spoke of interviewing Fred to preview a concert of his, but by that time, he’d become too ill to do an interview. Continue reading

The Glass Shō ~ Rebecca Brandt Discusses Her Album Remixed


Composer Rebecca Brandt sat down with me to discuss her new CD Numbers & Shapes: Revisited. It’s really a collection of remixed takes on the pieces from her first full-length CD simply titled Numbers & Shapes, but this was a different kind of project–while not involving Rebecca’s full-on expertise as an artist/composer (at least in real time), her focus was on the initial stems of the pieces and working in tandem with the mixing artists.
Below is an excerpt from our interview for The Glass Sho, which, by the way, can be heard in its entirety when you click on the link on the bottom or on The Glass Sho link on the top right.

“It was actually not originally my idea, it was a friend that came to me with the idea. I was actually looking to start a new project at the numbers&shapesrevisitedtime, and I kind of wasn’t really sure if I wanted to do another full album by myself, or what I wanted to do, so, when this was presented to me, I thought it was a pretty neat idea. After we went over the logistics, and how we were actually going to go about doing it, it just seemed like it would be really fun! He knew lots of people that were interested, so it kind of worked out!

First, I had to be involved with the initial production when I had to get the stems together, and we did get to talk creatively about what we were looking for and the concept of the record, but really, we just kind of let the artists do their own thing and bring their own styles, and as you may have heard, a lot of the remixes don’t follow my songs at all, and some of them don’t even sound like they were taken from my stems, which I think is a really cool interpretation! Someone took these stems and these masters and manipulated them in such a way it made them unrecognizable, but used the same building blocks, and some of the other songs follow the stems more closely. I thought the interplay between the two modes was pretty neat!”

The Glass Shō: Episode 1–Rebecca Brandt discusses Numbers and Shapes: Revisited

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Click here to purchase Numbers & Shapes: Revisited

Rebecca Brandt (

New Music Bake Sale 2014 ~ Preview

Pictured: Hotel ElefantHotelElefant

The 5th annual New York edition of the New Music Bake Sale is happening tomorrow from 4-11 PM at Roulette in Brooklyn. Once again, some of the greats of the new music field in NY are on hand to deliver fabulous sets of music AND raise funds for the music community through an array of yummy baked treats (and some CDs as well). Tickets for this event are 10 dollars a piece (and you even get a raffle ticket with that), so please come on over!


4PM: Exapno members Amirtha Kidambi, Matthew Gantt, and Ellen O’Meara
5PM: Newspeak
6PM: Rhymes With Opera
7PM: ensemble, et al.
8PM: Hotel Elefant
9PM: Talea Ensemble
10PM: Contemporaneous

Sunday, MARCH 16 2014: 4pm-11pm
509 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn
(917) 267-0363
Tickets: $10

New Music Bake Sale (

THE SNOW MELTS TO REVEAL NEW MUSIC ~ Review of A Night of New Music for Voice and Piano

Pictured below, from L to R: Heather Meyer, Robert S, Cohen, John Eaton, Christopher Berg, Daniel Neer, Peri Mauer, Debra Kaye, Jennifer Griffith, Patricia Leonard, Christopher Oldfather, Sharon Harms, Valerie Gonzalez.nightofnewmusic--groupphoto

New York Composers Circle
New Music for Voice and Piano
St. Peter’s Church, NYC
March 6, 2014

Written by Ted Gorodetzky

Neither inches of unwelcome snow nor blustery winter temperatures can keep a good concert down. The proof was last week’s presentation of new music from the New York Composers Circle concert at Saint Peter’s Church in midtown Manhattan. Forced to reschedule from their original January date due to weather none of us now miss, all composers and performers were remarkably able to reassemble on March 6th for a stimulating and varied evening that featured three premieres amongst the program of New Music for Voice and Piano. Continue reading