February 16, 2012
The Gryphon Trio will be thinking a lot about Beethoven when this Canadian ensemble performs locally for the Candlelight Concert Society Saturday, Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. at Howard Community College's Smith Theatre. "We love Beethoven," cellist Roman Borys says from his Toronto home. "When we're asked who our favorite composer is, it's usually Beethoven that is our answer. " And so Borys, violinist Annalee Patipatanakoon and pianist Jamie Parker are eager to launch into an all-Beethoven program comprised of the Trio in C minor, Op. 1, No. 3; Trio in B-flat Major, WoO 39; Variations in E-flat Major, Op. 44; and Trio in B-flat Major, Op. 97 "Archduke.
July 12, 2009
Brian Sacawa and Erik Spangler see themselves as sound guerrillas. The co-founders of the Contemporary Museum's off-kilter Mobtown Modern concert series don't just perform experimental music - sometimes they like to sneak up on people with it. That's the case with Mobtown Modern's latest project, a rendition of Mauricio Kagel's Eine Brise (A Breeze), subtitled "Fleeting Action for 111 Cyclists." No, that number's not a typo. The piece features a troupe of 111 bicyclists, who whistle, ring bells and make whooshing noises with their breath while riding to re-create the sound of a breeze.
February 11, 2008
NEW YORK --When Marin Alsop stepped onto the podium of the Carnegie Hall stage to lead the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on Saturday night, a considerable crescendo of applause rose from a sizable audience that included feminist Gloria Steinem, stellar soprano Jessye Norman and Trey Anastasio, formerly of the rock group Phish. ... That feeling of good will in the house never abated. There was a sense of occasion about the event, which drew a larger turnout from the musical press than has typically greeted the BSO here in recent years.
August 12, 2007
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. // A slogan often encountered in this compact city nestled along the north side of Monterey Bay, where the midsummer temperature hovers around 70 and the sky can be a startling blue, makes a simple, hard-to-resist plea: "Keep Santa Cruz Weird." Sure enough, there is some weirdness here, including a much-talked-about cross-dressing man decked out in pink who, shaded by a parasol, strolls at a snail's pace along the main drag. But just "offbeat" might be a better description for this diverse and tolerant community where a huge, century-old boardwalk and amusement center along the spacious beach provides one level of entertainment, and an ambitious celebration of new music held in a modest 1939 auditorium provides another.
August 24, 2006
A call out for unity/in every province and city/what do you think we've been saying/since we first started playing." These words end 311's "Electricity," from the 1997 album, Transistor. This summer's Unity Tour - which comes to the Nissan Pavilion tomorrow - is turning these words into actions. Sharing the stage with 311 for the whole run are the Wailers, the legendary reggae band that backed Bob Marley for his entire career, and Hawaiian band Pepper, which plays a hybrid of reggae, rock, punk and pop. The tour is a celebration of the unity in contemporary music - these bands might not have shared the stage in a segregated live music scene decades ago. At each performance, Jamaican, Hawaiian and American music come together.
March 30, 2004
There could never be enough contemporary music around here. As is true in too many places these days, Baltimore audiences prefer to stick with well-worn sounds, preferably by long-decomposing composers. It doesn't help much to point out the obvious - if audiences way back when hadn't been willing to give new music a try, we might not be so familiar with the likes of Beethoven and Tchaikovsky now. Still, I heartily recommend a periodic visit to Nicholas Slonimsky's Lexicon of Musical Invective, originally published in 1953, for a strong dose of reality.