Maya Beiser’s Elsewhere at BAM (A Review)

Maya Beiser and Helga Davis performing in Elsewhere at BAM (Photo courtesy of Rebecca Greenfield)

Beth Morrison Projects
presents
ELSEWHERE
A Cello Opera conceived by Maya Beiser and Robert Woodruff
Maya Beiser, cello
Helga Davis, vocals
Music by Missy Mazzoli, Eve Beglarian, and Michael Gordon
Words by Henri Michaux and Erin Cressida Wilson
Choreography by Brook Notary
Film by Peter Nigrini
Brooklyn Academy of Music, NYC

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Written by Jeremy Shatan

The “story” of Lot’s wife – no more than a sentence in Genesis – is like a tea bag. Add the boiling water of imagination and emotion and it can expand into a fascinating and complex brew. This is precisely what Maya Beiser and her collaborators have done in “Salt”, the stunning third section of her “CelloOpera,” Elsewhere, which finished its four-night run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music last Saturday. With music by Missy Mazzoli and words by Erin Cressida Wilson, the unnamed wife of Lot, who was turned into a pillar of salt in punishment for looking back on Sodom, becomes a stand-in for the suffering of women across centuries and cultures – painful torments that often seem to take place “elsewhere.”

Wilson’s lyrics turn Lot’s wife into a three-dimensional character, a woman locked in a brutal marriage (and by the end of the piece, in jail) who is forced to give up her home and looks back, not in anger or curiosity, but because she recalled “The first painting our girl ever drew – forgotten and still-taped above the kitchen sink.” In performance, Lot’s wife is embodied by the astonishing Helga Davis, a pure theater artist with a gorgeous voice and true commitment to her craft. Using precise movements and a diverse array of voices, Davis is riveting. At one point the lights behind the stage went to full brightness and I took a quick look around the nearly sold-out theater. Not one person was anything but rapt and completely focused on the performance. Continue reading

The Box Is Empty Comes Up Full

The Box Is Empty
The Century Ballroom
Seattle, WA
Friday, June 29th, 2012

Written by Heather Bentley

Last Friday, the 29th of June, I had the pleasure of attending The Box is Empty at Seattle’s Century Ballroom. The Box is Empty is not only the name of the musical ensemble but also a philosophical concept.

From their website: Our name is based on a simple concept. Start with a project (i.e. a box), fill it with all of your spirit, energy, and creativity until the project comes to fruition. Then empty the box and start again. The Box Is Empty is a view of the process. All possibilities are open, creativity is unending. Surprise the box’s recipient with the gift of new experience. The Box Is Empty.

It’s clear from the spirited performances given that the organizers and performers are enjoying filling their empty box and sharing its contents. Consistent with current efforts to update the classical music experience, the event had the vibe of a happening, and indeed, swankiness was on display and liquor flowed, if not freely, at least within reach. Continue reading

Bang On a Can 2012 Preview ~ Marathon Schedule Announced

Here is the complete schedule of the 2012 Bang On a Can Marathon at the World Financial Center in NY on Sunday, June 17th!
This promises to be an incredible day of music, so please come out and see this marvelous marathon of edginess at the gorgeous atrium at the WFC.
By the way, did I happen to mention that it’s free?
EDITOR’S NOTE: Times are approximate due to performances.

Marathon 2012: FULL SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED

12 noon

Go Guitars by Lois V Vierk
performed by Dither

Saint Arc by Daniel Wohl
performed by Ashley Bathgate

Awakening by Jeremy Howard Beck
performed by The Guidonian Hand

In Bounds by Evan Ziporyn
performed by Vicky Chow

Bash by Ruben Naeff
performed by NYU Contemporary Music Ensemble with Jonathan Haas

a) Crossroads
b) Boot by Michael Lowenstern
performed by Todd Reynolds and Michael Lowenstern

~~~

2 PM

In and Out of the Game by Eve Beglarian
performed by The Guidonian Hand

my lips from speaking by Julia Wolfe
performed by Grand Band

The End by Ruby Fulton
performed by Newspeak

a) Nibiru by Marcin Stanczyk
b) Stroking Piece #1 by Thurston Moore
performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars

A Humble Tribute to Guaguanco by Gregg August
performed by Heavy Hands

~~~

4 PM

Prayers Remain Forever by Martin Bresnick
performed by TwoSense

a) B & E (with Aggravated Assault) by Oscar Bettison
b) Sweet Light Crude by David T. Little
performed by Newspeak

Thou Shalt/Thou Shalt Not by Michael Gordon
performed by the Michael Gordon Band

Quasi Infinity, written and performed by soprano saxophonist Jonas Braasch

a) Land of Sorrows by Brian Pertl
b) From Now On by Pauline Oliveros
performed by Deep Listening Band

~~~

6 PM

Kaki King (Note: Selections to be announced from the stage)

a) Instructional Video,  b) Breakfast at J&M,  c) Matt Damon by David Longstreth
d) Piano Studies 2a, 3c, 4a, 11 by Conlon Nancarrow (arr. Evan Ziporyn)
performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars

Alvin Luciernarrating his own I am sitting in a room with James Fei, digital delay system

~~~

8 PM

a) Distorting Melody** by Akiko Ushijima
b) sunray by David Lang
performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars

Kris Davis‘ Massive Thread performing Massive Thread by Davis

Just Ancient Loops* by Michael Harrison with film by Bill Morrison
performed by Maya Beiser

~~~

10 PM

Six Pianos by Steve Reich
performed by Grand Band

DJ Envee‘s Bang on a Can Remix

le Noir de l’Etoile by Gérard Grisey
performed by Talujon

* World Premiere
** US Premiere

Bang On a Can 2012 Marathon
Sunday, June 17th 12 PM-12 AM
Three World Financial Center
200 Vesey Street, 11th Floor
New York, New York 10281
Tel: 212.417.7000
Fax: 212.417.7214


World Financial Center.com

Bang on a Can.org

Cellophilia: W4’s All-Cello Event (A Preview)

New York-based new music collective West 4th (aka W4) are garnering a wonderful reputation in being very active and decisively creative in concepts for their concert series. This coming June 8th, they will put on an all-cello program titled “Cellophilia” where they will feature music not just for solo cello, but for multiple cellos of 2-8 at a time. There are eight cellists scheduled to appear, among them are Mariel Roberts, who is also a co-producer of the concert, and Bang On a Can All-Stars’ Ashley Bathgate.

The concert is being funded via Kickstarter. Please click here or on the link at the bottom to donate. Continue reading

Vicky Chow

Vicky Chow, a pianist who is well known as a member of the Bang On a Can All-Stars, is another great example of the hard-working, highly active new music community laden with creative artists and composers. Along with the All-Stars, Vicky has also been performing solo concerts regularly featuring the works of various modern and living composers, is one of the founding members of a Bang On a Can offshoot–the trio Typical Music, and is also the curator of a series of new music concerts held at the Gershwin Hotel called Contagious Sounds (which, by the way, she also participates in). In the coming year, Vicky will be releasing 2 new CDs: the new Bang On a Can All-Stars double CD to be released in February, and her second solo CD. She had a small break in her activities to chat with me about her work and her career. Continue reading