Dvorak vs Twerking

I can’t tell if they’re serious. I think they might be. I think they really might believe that the only thing that keeps classical music from overtaking Miley Cyrus in the hearts and minds (and other body parts) of today’s listeners is the twerking. If it works for Miley, surely it can work for Antonín.Continue Reading

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Review: Prototype Festival – Thumbprint

One of the larger productions in this year’s Protoype festival was the world premiere presentation of Thumbprint, an earnest and righteous account of the first Pakistani woman to prevail in a court of law against a group of tribal elders responsible for her “honor rape“. It’s the sort of subject matter that dares you toContinue Reading

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Review: Protoype Festival – Paul’s Case

The Prototype Festival, a multi-week festival dedicated to showcasing new works of opera for reduced forces in smaller, more flexible spaces has garnered a lot of press in recent months. Last year’s inaugural festival has made it into several top 10 lists of 2013 and producer/cheerleader/impresario Beth Morrison was recently profiled in the NYTimes (apparently her striking neo-goth rockabilly style confounded the photo editors, believing her to be too hot for the classical world).Continue Reading

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Review: Anna Nicole, The Opera

An Anna Nicole Smith opera. So obvious. High tragedy, low comedy, and all spectacle. The source material is golden.  One would think it writes itself. One would be very wrong. The challenge (as with all adaptations, but even more so with non-fiction subjects) is two-part, first one must distill the mountain of actual events intoContinue Reading

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Arguendo – Bringing the Supreme Court to Life

Just back from NYC where I saw 16 performances in 10 days, the entire Prototype Festival of new opera, co presented by HERE Art Center and Beth Morrison Projects, and large chunks of the Under the Radar festival at the Public Theater. That’s a lot of theater. And much of it was fantastic. When askedContinue Reading

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Einstein and Moby and LINES, Oh My!

It’s been a big week for massive sweeping ambitious works of art. I read Cloud Atlas in preparation for the release of the movie (book is great, movie less so), saw Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick at the SF Opera, watched Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and capped the week offContinue Reading

One Response to Einstein and Moby and LINES, Oh My!

  1. David Rodwin says:

    I have so many thoughts about Einstein that I’m going to do a vlog about it, but for starters, because I’ve become accustomed to listening to the score without seeing the production, I forgot how funny if not silly Robert Wilson can be when at his best. Simultaneously, the Glass, Childs and Wilson are so shockingly on the same page in their approach to minimalism that I was blown away by the coherence and cohesion of vision. I’ve not heard many critics talk about this and perhaps it’s because critics rarely have to collaborate, artists do, so they have a lesser appreciation for something like that. And to have done this decades ago when there was little foundation for what they were striving for and to all be perfectly in sync in their vision leaves me dumbfounded.

    Oh, yeah, and it was all so staggeringly beautiful, I literally wept.

    (The speech about the lovers is so traditional in its story telling and devastating in the context of the post-modern insanity swirling around it)

    AND I was blown away by Kate Moran who has taken over Lucinda Childs’ part in the “knee plays.” She brought a whimsical, wry, human, playfulness and verve to the part. Lucinda, while one of the creators kept her performance so cold it was frozen. Kate has her formality, but she infuses it with irrepressible life. Frankly, I’m in love with her. I need to meet her. Work with her. The works. OK, internet, introduce us.

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Let’s Get Ready To Rumble!

Time to put the game face on. It’s about to get real. I’m goin’ big or goin’ home. (Continue with the conspicuously out of place sports phrases at will.) Very proud to announce that the string quartet I composed in Paris this past summer as part of the EAMA program “Do A Little Dance” was selectedContinue Reading

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Why bother composing?

Jeffrey Parola sounds kinda bummed in his latest blog post. He outlines the all too familiar plight of the contemporary concert music composer (no appreciation, money, and little hope of either). He then earnestly asks: Why do we bother? In my mind the answer is simple. Creation of music that didn’t exist before HAS toContinue Reading

3 Responses to Why bother composing?

  1. Well said. I have to agree with you. Composing as a profession may, sadly, be diminishing in relevance, and perhaps permanently. Supply and Demand. But writing music will always be relevant to the writer. And if it isn’t then why write at all? If the music is in your head, the exercise of expelling it, writing it out, realizing it fully, hearing it realized, should be the greatest reward. Everything else is largely ego and (false) expectation.

  2. Alexander Frank says:

    Exactly right. I imagine people write music for many reasons, but there is an almost certain trade-off regardless of your motivation. If you compose for your own edification, for the pure joy that only musical creation can bring, you must accept that any fame or compensation will be incidental. A composer of talent who desires recognition or money would be better served writing music geared toward radio play or scoring for film.

    If I strove for many years, writing exactly the music I wanted and loved, and it failed to gain any sort of recognition, I would certainly be discouraged. But the frustration would be directed toward others; more of an incredulous sadness that they aren’t affected by my music the way I am. For me, a (amateur) composer who is at least capable of conceiving and writing out novel music that I genuinely enjoy, to merely be given a perfect recording of every piece I ever wrote, even if I had to listen each in solitude, would be enough. The music is its own reward.

  3. Ben Phelps says:

    Well said indeed. Couldn’t agree more. How many composers have I met who I strongly suspect don’t like listening to their own music? Most of them. I simply can’t understand it.

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June 24 – Sneak Peak of Failing That (my solo opera)

I’ve been doing a lot of composing so far this year. In addition to an encore for the Hilary Hahn competition (which didn’t result in an honorable mention, but did result in a pretty cool piece for violin and piano), I’ve been chugging away on the solo opera that’s been a good four years inContinue Reading

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The Tauntaun Song

Last month I participated in A Musical Emergency, which is a loose collective of theater and music folks in SF that turns popular stories or movies into full length musicals. They divide the story up into bite sized chunks and everyone’s responsible for telling their part of the story however they feel. The movie wasContinue Reading

7 Responses to The Tauntaun Song

  1. Nolan Love says:

    This is just brilliant.

  2. Tom Shields says:

    Love the emotion! I laughed, I cried. It was better than Cats.

  3. Mark Casey says:

    “It didn’t hurt… that much.” Soooo good.

  4. Will Meyer says:

    Dude! I’m proud to have known you!

  5. Bayou says:

    This is the most brilliant thing I’ve heard in quite a while. I love Les Mis and the song selection was absolutely inspired. Tauntaun and Solo as Fantine and Valjean? Mind-blowingly awesome.

  6. Bayou says:

    Oh some Les Mis lover I am. Eponine and Marius… Still the sentiment holds.

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