NYC Calendar February 2019

SATURDAY, February 2
8 pm Wet Ink: Piano Trios
Vicente Hansen Atria – Speleology [2016]
Linda Catlin Smith- Dreamer Murmuring [2014]
Eric Wubbels – if and only if [2018-19]
Wet Ink Piano Trio
Josh Modney, violin
Mariel Roberts, cello
Eric Wubbels, piano
VENUE: The DiMenna Center for Classical Music
ADMISSION: $10, free for students

SATURDAY, February 2
8:30 pm Yarn/Wire & Travis Laplante
Travis Laplante (tenor sax) Ian Antonio, Russell Greenberg (percussion) Laura Barger, Ning Yu (piano)
Yarn/Wire premieres a new evening length work in collaboration with Travis Laplante.

VENUE: The Stone

TUESDAY, February 5
8 pm Anaïs Maviel: who is this ritual for and from?
Anaïs Maviel — Voice, Percussion, N’goni
Sam Yulsman — Keys, Electronics
Daria Faïn — Movement

VENUE: Roulette
ASMISSION: $18 – $25

WEDNESDAY, February 6
8pm Issue Winter Benefit: Robert Wilson & Jim Jarmusch / Lucie Vítková
Robert Wilson reading John Cage’s Lecture on Nothing alongside improvised musical accompaniment by Jim Jarmusch. The evening opens with a performance from Czech composer, improviser and performer Lucie Vítková
VENUE: ISSUE Project Room
ADMISSION: $250 – 50

THURSDAY, February 7
8:30 pm Experimental film music
Billy Martin (percussion) Chern Hwei Fung (violin) Payton MacDonald (marimba, vibraphone) Frank London (trumpet) Kalun Leung (bass trombone) Ned Rothenberg (shakuhachi, bass clarinet) Anthony Coleman (piano) Doug Wieselman (clarinet)
VENUE: The Stone

THURSDAY, February 7
7:30 PM Tibet House US Benefit Concert
Philip Glass
Laurie Anderson with Rubin Kodheli, Cello
Jon Batiste
Tenzin Choegyal
Stephen Colbert
Chris Robinson Brotherhood
Debbie Harry
Jason Isbell
Angelique Kidjo
Nathaniel Rateliff
New Order’s Bernard Sumner, Tom Chapman, and Phil Cunningham with Joe Duddell
Additional artists to be announced
VENUE: Carnegie Hall (Stern Auditorium)
ADMISISON: $35 to $200

February 7–9, 13–16
8pm Robert Ashley: Improvement (Don Leaves Linda)
Music and Libretto by Robert Ashley
Music Direction by Tom Hamilton
Light and Stage Design by David Moodey
Performed by Gelsey Bell, Brian McCorkle, Paul Pinto, Amirtha Kidambi, Dave Ruder and Aliza Simons
Sound design and live mix by Tom Hamilton Produced by Mimi Johnson
VENUE: The Kitchen
ADMISSION: $25 General / $20 Members

FRIDAY, February 8
8 pm Argento New Music Project: The Voices of Erin Gee
selections of Gee’s vocal works from 2000 to 2016, including the NYC premiere of Mouthpiece 29 and Mouthpiece 25
VENUE: Roulette
ASMISSION: $18 – $25

FRIDAY, February 8
9 PM Kronos Quartet, Music for Change: The Banned Countries
music from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, and Libya
VENUE: Carnegie Hall (Zankel Hall)
ADMISSION: $63 to $75

SATURDAY, February 9
8 PM Dave Scanlon ensemble // Judith Berkson
Dave Scanlon ensemble (Weston Minissali, Dave Scanlon, Alena Spanger, Lydia Velichkovski), Counting No. 2
all counting practices are musical practices

Judith Berkson, Without Title for microtonal voice and Wurlitzer
Getting A Read On The Reed Organ (Reboot) for accordion, electric reed organ and voice
w/ Ian Davis and Judith Berkson
exploring microtonal pitches through acoustic instruments especially the voice
VENUE: Sunview Luncheonette

SATURDAY, February 9
8:30 pm illy B’s Improvisers Orchestra
Billy Martin (percussion) Tomas Fujiwara (drums) Mary Halvorson (guitar) Chern Hwei Fung (violin) Dana Lyn (violin) Ned Rothenberg (reeds, flutes) Sylvain Leroux (flutes) Anthony Coleman (piano) Chris McIntyre (trombone) Frank London (trumpet) Doug Wieselman (clarinet)
VENUE: The Stone

TUESDAY, February 12
6pm Pop-Up Concerts Mivos Quartet & Nadav Lev
Richard Carrick Space:Time for electric guitar and string quartet (2014/2018), New York premiere
Tristan Murail Tellur for solo guitar (1977)
Anahita Abbasi Distorted Attitudes IV / Facile synthesis for string quartet (2015), New York premiere
Yair Klartag Nothing to express for electric guitar and string quartet (2014)
VENUE: Miller Theatre at Columbia University

THURSDAY, February 14
8:30 pm Vicky Chow plays Philip Glass Etudes Book 1
Vicky Chow (piano)
VENUE: The Stone

FRIDAY, February 15
8:30 pm Vicky Chow plays Philip Glass Etudes Book 2
Vicky Chow (piano)
VENUE: The Stone

SATURDAY, February 16
7 pm Nicholas Isherwood
Karlheinz Stockhausen, Havona And Capricorn
VENUE: Spectrum

SUNDAY, February 17
Nownet Arts Festival 2019
7 PM Universal Synchrony Music by Sarah Weaver, Improvisation for Peace
Performers: Jane Ira Bloom, soprano saxophone, Robert Dick, flutes, Min Xiao-Fen, pipa, Ned Rothenberg, woodwinds, Denman Maroney, piano, Mark Dresser, bass, Stephan Moore, electronics (Illinois), Kieran Maraj, electronics (Toronto), Doug Van Nort, electronics/sonifications (Toronto), Sarah Weaver, conductor
VENUE: DiMenna Center for Classical Music
ADMISSION: $20/$15

TUESDAY, February 19
8 pm Mixology Festival 2019: Shelley Hirsch & The Mercurius Wagon //
Crystal Penalosa: Sources of Power
VENUE: Roulette
ASMISSION: $18 – $25

TUESDAY, February 19
7:30 PM Ensemble Connect
McPhee, Balinese Ceremonial Music
Steve Reich, Quartet
Julia Wolfe, On Seven-Star-Shoes
John Adam.s Chamber Symphony
VENUE: Carnegie Hall (Weill Recital Hall)
ADMISSION: From $32 to $38

TUESDAY, February 19
9 pm Modney and Wubbels perform Anthony Braxton’s Composition No. 222
Repertoire: Anthony Braxton: Composition No. 222, for violin and piano (1998)
Josh Modney, violin
Eric Wubbels, piano
VENUE: Areté Venue and Gallery

WEDNESDAY, February 20
7 pm Marco Fusi / Kukuruz Quartet
Marco Fusi, violin, viola, viola d’amore
Kukuruz Quartet
Salvatore Sciarrino: Fra sé
Giacinto Scelsi: Xnoybis I, II, III
Sciarrino: Capriccio di una corda
John Cage: The ten thousand things
Marcel Zaes: Quartet No. 10 for four electronic metronomes
Julius Eastman: Gay Guerilla
VENUE: The Italian Academy

WEDNESDAY, February 20
8 PM Terry Riley’s “In C”, presented by Darmstadt
Darmstadt is the presenting series led by composers Nick Hallett and Zach Layton, known for staging radical re-interpretations of works from the canon of experimental music and art, including John Cage, Morton Feldman, Pauline Oliveros, Meredith Monk, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Alvin Lucier, and Anthony Braxton.
VENUE: (Le) Poisson Rouge
ADMISSION: $20-$30

WEDNESDAY, February 20
8:30 pm Jeffrey Zeigler and Yuka Honda
Jeffrey Zeigler (cello) Yuka Honda (Electronics)
VENUE: The Stone

THURSDAY, February 21
8pm Rena Anakwe: The Cosmology Of Water
VENUE: ISSUE Project Room
ADMISSION: Free ($10 suggested donation)

FRIDAY, February 22
7:30pm and 9:30pm Tom Rainey Combobulated Album Release Concert
Tom Rainey -drums
Ingrid Laubrock -saxophone
Mary Halvorson -guitar
VENUE: Jazz Gallery
ADMISSION: $25/$10 members; reserved table seating: $35/$20 members

FRIDAY, February 22 – SATURDAY, February 23
7 PM The Living Dying Opera
Ju-eh (Juecheng Chen), countertenor
Hwarg (Howie Kenty), composer
François-Thibaut Pencenat, visual artist
VENUE: The Abrons Arts Center

SUNDAY, February 24
8 pm Ned Rothenberg: Beyond C
Beyond C is a concerto for improvising woodwind soloist—Ned Rothenberg —and an ensemble of variable instruments—Contemporaneous.
VENUE: Roulette
ASMISSION: $18 – $25

MONDAY, February 25
8 PM False Harmonics #1: Nate Wooley’s Columbia Icefield
(feat. Mary Halvorson, Susan Alcorn & Ryan Sawyer), MV Carbon
VENUE: Pioneer Works
ADMISSION: $15-$20

THURSDAY, February 28
8:30 pm Not Bloodcount
Tim Berne (alto sax) Chris Speed (tenor sax, clarinet) Michael Formanek (acoustic bass) Jim Black (drums)
VENUE: The Stone

THURSDAY, February 28
8pm Inbal Segev: 21st Century Women
Inbal Segev, solo cello
Anna Clyne: Rest These Hands
Missy Mazzoli: A Thousand Tongues
Reena Maria Esmail: Perhaps with film by Heather McCalden
Kaija Saariaho: Spins and Spells
Gity Razaz: Legend of Sigh with film by Carmen Kordas
VENUE: Roulette
ASMISSION: $18 – $25


18 Most Memorable Music Events in New York in 2018


1. The Head & the Load by William Kentridge and Philip Miller
(Park Avenue Armory, December 4–15)
2. Anthracite Fields by Julia Wolfe (December 1, Carnegie Hall)
3. IPSA DIXIT by Kate Soper
(October 27, Miller Theatre at Columbia University)
 A powerful exploration of the meaning of language and art, incredible voice and  original sounds.
4. The Mile-Long Opera: a biography of 7 o’clock by David Lang
(October 3-8, High Line)
5. Only the Sound Remains by Kaaia Saariaho (Lincoln Center, September 28)
6. Daniel Kahn’s “Yiddish Shabes” (Yiddishland, August 17)
7. The Force of Things: Opera for Objects by Ashley Fure
(Gelsey Kirkland Arts Center, August 6-8).
     Audible and beyond audible, “the mounting hum of ecological anxiety around us,” exceptionally imaginative music and architecture of the frightening future.
8. Leonard Bernstein’s MASS (July 17-18, Lincoln Center)
9. Toy Piano Plus, Margaret Leng Tan (Spectrum, June 2)
10. Terry Riley’s Autodreamographical Tales & Science Fiction, performed by Bang on a Can All-Stars & Terry Riley, voice (NYU Skirball Center, May 13)
    A masterful sonification of dreams and mystery.
11. Music of Max Johnson w/ Mivos Quartet, Beck, Thomson & Gornstein (Spectrum, March 30)
12. Cellular Songs by Meredith Monk (BAM, March 14-18)
      Enchanting way of being present in the nature and voice.
13. Audrey Chen with Talibam! (Wonders of Nature, March 8)
14. The Stone Benefit with Laurie Anderson et al (The Stone at Ave C, February 22)
15. An Evening with Vincent Moon and Priscilla Telmon (MoMA, February 19)
16. LES Elegy 3: Oriental Shtetl — Shekhina Big Band with Frank London, Steve Dalachinsky et al (The Stone at Ave C, February 15)
      Beat Poetics and Sun Ra Ecstatics – liberating music entering Jewish chakras to tell us we are going to live soon.
17. Matthew Shipp and Roscoe Mitchell (Carnegie Hall, January 27)
18. Quintavant in New York (Spectrum, January 11)

Disclaimer: This is a list of the most memorable music events in New York that we have attended in 2018. After several unsuccessful attempts to arrange them in the order of significance/beauty/power/originality/meaningfulness/etc, and still being sure only about the top 3 (numbers 4, 7, and 12), we’ve decided to put them in the reverse chronological order. Also, two events listed here did not appear on ET NYC calendar, and are “technically” not so much “extended”, but were so memorable that we simply couldn’t omit them.

The Sound of a Fellow New Yorker

One day in August, Rimona sang to me “that new café… ” line. A member of Grace Chorale Brooklyn, and a Fellow New Yorker, she said she will perform it repeatedly while other choristers will sing different lines creating together The Mile-Long Opera: a biography of 7 o’clock. “Is David Lang by any chance the composer?” – I asked, as it immediately reminded me of “the day,” performed at Bang On A Can festival in spring. Simple, repetitive, deeply human… This time also immersive, multisensory, site-specific.

Funny, how the absence of references to minimalism and various developments in the history of opera changes everything…
Funny, how the absence of references to minimalism and various developments in the history of opera changes nothing…

October 3rd, I am standing in line to get into the line which will hopefully lead me to an entrance to High Line, holding two tickets which Rimona handed to me this morning in one hand, and the hand of another Fellow New Yorker in another. I remember my first summer in the city, when the second section of High Line had just opened, and I fell in love with the concept of “Fellow New Yorker” and its actual representation at the same time. I haven’t started hearing the sounds of The Mile-Long Opera yet, but I already feel its spirit. It’s past 7 o’clock.

Funny, how the lack of references to various post-modern philosophies changes everything…
Funny, how the lack of references to various post-modern philosophers changes nothing…

One way to describe “what happened” “on stage” that night (for a more conventional account, read here ) is to “define” a “Fellow New Yorker”, or rather, to map several characteristics of this species, and then say – there were a thousand of them performing a specified script, and several thousand adding improvised elements.
Someone willing to stand in line that will lead them to an unforgettable intellectual, cultural, artistic or spiritual experience (remember mile-long lines to The Night of Philosophy, or The Stone benefit on Avenue C, lines to new shows at museums, or – which one is your favorite line?) Someone who constantly mourns the closure or relocation of favorite places. Someone who can’t tell the difference between life and art, but loves to discuss it as if they were professional philosophers, as they are constantly presented with objects that fit both categories at the same time. See those people wiping the windows? Are they a part of the script? You know they are once the idea is repeated.

Funny, how the lack of references to John Cage and his ideas of art entering daily life changes everything
Funny, how the lack of references to John Cage and his ideas of art entering daily life changes nothing

Verse/Spot 16 (out of 26), “will you marry me.” I am standing on a metal structure above the singers, trembling, holding the hand of the FNY who made me tremble here before, who said almost these words just around the corner, in that old café (is it still there?).
Personal stories. Making art together. I look into your eyes, you look back, you say, I listen. Simple, repetitive, deeply human.

Erlena Dlu

©2018 by Extended Techniques. All Rights Reserved.

Medea: Exploring the Total Field of Senses

“If John Cage was alive and heard this, he would go nuts,” – said an audience member of Medea, a Pasolini-inspired butoh-opera, staged near Olimpiysky sports complex in Kyiv on June 12, starring butoh dancers Valentin Tszin and Flavia Ghisalberti with music by Audrey Chen (vocals), Phil Minton (vocals), Henrik Munkeby Norstebo (trombone), Thomas Rohrer (rabeca), and Michael Vorfeld (percussion). Of course, such reaction could address a myriad of outdoor performances, and, coming from a pianist who had performed Cage a number of times, was just too obvious. That night, however, another idea of Cage could take on a new meaning, if we replace “sound” with “sense,” which isn’t too much of a stretch, given 21st century urge to multisensory experiences. It seems that this is exactly what the show’s organizer, a highly imaginative music agency Ukho, does best: making Kyiv’s audiences of all ages believe that music is not just sound.


photo by Lili Viter

It is the time of the day when the sun breaks up into pieces and scatters over the sky like – cherry blossom? pieces of flesh and blood? I walk past Olimpiysky stadium up the hill, until the voices of football fans recede into silence and the stadium’s UFO-looking roof emerges in front of my eyes – the place’s mysterious view indeed reminds of Pasolini’s desert landscapes. Few hundreds of unordered chairs await the audience; Medea is about to start.

Supposedly without a plot, this genre-bending opera has no melodic lines, let alone arias, but can be perceived as a counterpoint of sensorial threads, on the verge between stasis and narrative. Barefoot dancers, barely dressed in skin-colored clothes, emerge from the audience, writhing with pain. Their suffering becomes our suffering – we could almost touch them and do feel the cold of their freezing feet hitting the asphalt. Humming screams of Minton and Chen can hardly be perceived as sound, but rather as shades of silence that at once project agony and fill up the void. Complete silence would be just too intense – too intense to leave the audience one-on-one with the thriller thread of the performance, by Tszin and Ghisalberti. After several wild acts, such as Tszin getting up the metal construction, the couple meets in a static movement. Their Zen-like concentration and emotionally-charged slow motion vaguely reminds of New York’s Japanese dance couple Eiko and Koma. The subtle eroticism and the dancers’ cruelty to their own bodies, however, is definitely Pasolini’s: replace the mystery of this mixture of beauty and pain with his mysticism, and you arrive at realism – “only those who are mystical are realistic.” Once Jason tears off Medea’s “perfectly real” silicone skin, she scratches her real leg over the sharp edge of a wooden platform.


To add to the opera’s perfect combination of music and movement, yet another sensory line: some thirty butoh-village performers, steadily moving from backstage through the audience, their gaze steadily fixed on the horror which only their eyes can see. Barefoot, with cobblestones on their heads, they slowly walk over freezing ground, and the audience, again, can empathize with no effort. Yet another thread is our freedom to move across the space, choosing a different perspective each time, yet another – the sun going down slowly, in its own pace.


photo by Volodymyr Osypenko

Once the listener immerses into visual agony and is completely captivated by the couple, something remarkable happens. The sun goes down, the music switches from lightly-colored silence to scream, the thirty dancers “suddenly” emerge behind our backs, and, having passed the audience, they acquire voice. Once everything reverses, the suffering experienced by Medea and Jason is no longer there – it reverses into silence and stillness of our tortured hearts, from realism to mystery.

Erlena Dlu

©2016 by Extended Techniques. All Rights Reserved.

Medea is a part of Architecture of Voice project, vol. 2: around stadia, curated by Sasha Andrusyk of Ukho Music Agency (Kyiv). Previous shows included: “Blumenstudien” by Lucia Ronchetti in sub tropic orangery of botanic garden, Phil Minton and Audry Chen in paleontological museum, David Lang’s The Little Match Girl Passion in a church, Victoria Polyova’s Ave Maria Stella in a swimming pool, among many others.

Mary Kouyoumdjian’s Music Renders Time Impotent

Having bumped into memory, time learns its impotence.
Joseph Brodsky

One of many questions triggered by Silent Cranes: The Music of Mary Kouyoumdjian, Performed by Kronos Quartet and Hotel Elefant presented on May 12 in Roulette, is the fragility of the boundary between political art and overt political statement. A descendent of a family that went through the Armenian Genocide, Kouyoumdjian shares Sartre’s belief in committed art, and, as Sartre suggests, in her works she recovers this world “by giving it to be seen as it is.”

Striving to approach controversial issues through the arts is especially apt with respect to  difficult topic addressed by Kouyoumdjian. Indeed, it is more common to learn about a century-old tragedy of the Armenian genocide by experiencing artworks created by the descendants of exiled Armenians, rather than by means of a history lesson. I did this with Ararat (2002), a film directed by an Armenian-Canadian Atom Egoyan, that shares many images and themes with Kouyoumdjian’s work: pomegranates, Arshile Gorky, Turkish soldier cutting the stomach of a pregnant woman, Hitler’s infamous inquiry, 1.5 million killed.

One of great qualities of Kouyoumdjian’s music is its ability to transmit state of madness, exemplified in two portraits of genocide survivors – composer Komitas who suffered post-traumatic disorder after his deportation to a prison camp, and painter Gorky, who lost his mother to starvation. Sea of Two Colors (2011) transports the listener to the realm of a restless soul of Komitas; flowing piano trills of the sea can also be heard as dark sinister clouds that cover once clear mind of a legendary composer and, with a brief moment of transfiguration, dissolve into eternity. Gorky’s voice in Everlastingness (2015) sounds completely detached from the accompaniment (reminding of Schumann’s songs), as the protagonist, consumed by his memories, lives in a fever dream beyond reality.

Photo by Dominica Eriksen

Gorky’s ruminations didn’t engulf me as strongly as the last piece performed by Hotel Elefant: This Should Feel Like Home (2013) indeed felt like contemporary Armenia the way I imagine it, with all the imprints of the past. Folk melodies, marching band, distant voices, Orthodox church singing returning time and again – these recorded sounds naturally blended with their own reflections on the piano, flutes, clarinets, and strings.

The title piece of the concert, a four-movement multimedia work performed and commissioned by Kronos Quartet, seemed somewhat less integrated. The first movement appropriately introduced some highlights of Armenian cultural heritage: projected images of beautiful rugs and ceramics, traditional costumes and architecture, an old recording of Komitas music and his portrait on the screen. In the following movements pomegranates decomposed into blood as my ears submerged into survivors’ testimonies, my heart pierced with every word. I felt that these words were too numerous and too literal, leaving the music no role other than an accompaniment to a documentary film. After so many atrocities copied from real life and pasted into the piece, some of the conclusions in the last movement seemed redundant. Shocked by the work’s content, I felt imprisoned by the abundance of words. One of my inner voices resisted the idea that the facts, the images, the narrative and the conclusions were all thrown into my face so literally, leaving no room for interpretation.

Photo by Dominica Eriksen

I’ve always believed that in order to create a real work of art one should favor the figurative over the discursive, especially in the music; but further reflections on Kouyoumjian’s Silent Cranes proved that its case might be different. I realized that  the piece bears many similarities to Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw (1947) so heavily (and to my mind unfairly) criticized by Adorno for literal depiction of suffering. The subject in each piece is personal to both composers, both works are based on the reports of survivors (although Survivor has a fictional narrative and it is not clear whether any reports at all are quoted directly), and the text is clearly recited. Moreover, both works stress the role of memory, although, ironically, in Schoenberg’s, written right after the Holocaust, the narrator “cannot remember everything,” while Kouyoumjian digs a hundred years into the past to give voice to someone who “was young, but still remembers.” One more twist of irony: in 1915, The New York Times systematically reported on the mass murder of the Armenian people, while the atrocities of the Holocaust were not immediately disclosed. And what do we remember today? Perhaps the artists who talk about the events which political will is trying so hard to sink into oblivion, have a right to be fully committed (i.e. realistic) – this is the only way time can lose its battle to memory.

Erlena Dlu

©2015 by Extended Techniques. All Rights Reserved.