Monday, May 21, 2012

Introducing Jennifer Archibald and The Arch Dance Company

Arch Dance Company is based in New York City, a unique mosaic of culturally diverse dancers and elite training from around the globe. Since 1999, the company has brought intense energy to the stage under the artistic direction of Jennifer Archibald. Arch Dance brings "realness" to every creation, evolving from personal investigations of human behavior.

Exploring movement styles ranging from an array of aesthetics, Archibald incorporates classical training, street, funk and lyrical style into a contemporary high energy performance. The dancers are asked to move with and against gravity as well as lyrically fly across space, encompassing both the hard edge of street dance with the fluidity of classical technique.

Lynn Simonson states "she is evolving a style of movement that is historically grounded and ahead of its time. Archibald’s potential vision and outstanding talent ensures her place as an innovator in the field of modern and jazz dance. The impact she has made on New York’s dance scene is changing the way in which people look at Hip Hop dance. Her innovative choreography is transforming Hip Hop dance as a new American art form."

Arch Dance Company has performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the performing arts in Washington D.C, Jacob Pillow Inside/Out Stage, New York’s Aaron Davis Hall, Washington D.C. DancePlace, Riverside Church, The Duke Theatre, Judson Memorial Church, Dance New Amsterdam, New World Theater, The Phillips Arts Center in Gainsville, Florida, and University of South Florida.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bali Alloy with JACK Quartet and Balinese Choreographer Dr. I Made Bandem and American composer Brian Baumbusch.

Bali Alloy

The JACK Quartet is currently fundraising for their collaboration with Balinese Choreographer Dr. I Made Bandem, and American composer Brian Baumbusch.

More information on the project is posted here:

Read below for Description

The JACK Quartet, New York, April 23, 2012:

We are excited to announce our new collaboration with Bali’s legendary choreographer and educator, Dr. I Made Bandem, and American composer Brian Baumbusch in preparation for a tour to Indonesia to perform at the Bali Arts Festival in June, 2012. The collaboration will involve a union of string quartet music with Balinese gamelan repertoire involving adaptations for string quartet of traditional gamelan pieces, and new works for strings, gamelan, and Balinese dance. The project began in 2010, and this year we have all been invited by the Provincial Government of Bali to present this first-of-a-kind collaboration at the annual art festival. We recently won a grant from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in support of the project.

The performance at the festival will involve three, one hour long sets of different ensemble formations highlighting the JACK Quartet, Brian Baumbusch and Musicians, and the Balinese Makaradhwaja Performing Arts Group directed by Dr. Bandem. The show will include many different styles of music, from the secular to the sacred, and will present an array of new works all inspired by the long standing tradition of the Balinese performing arts. We have commissioned a new work for string quartet entitled Mantle Eruption based on the volcanic activity in the ocean’s around Bali, composed by Brian Baumbusch using Balinese tunings and choreographed by Dr. Bandem. The show will also include a 40-minute dance drama based on the Balinese legend of Calonarang, composed in collaboration by Mr. Baumbusch and famous Balinese composer Nyoman Windha, and involving new choreography by Dr. Bandem.

We arrive in Bali on June 21st, and will have a week to rehearse with the Balinese performers before our performance at the Art Festival in front of an audience of 5,000 people. The festival is infamous for being the authoritative presenter of the most exciting and definitive Balinese gamelan music, and the Balinese community looks to the festival to discover new trends that are occurring in the Balinese performing arts. We are excited about the challenge of adapting to the learning model of an unfamiliar tradition of performing arts, and look forward to the opportunity to present our own interpretation of this famous culture of music and dance to a community of native listeners.

This engagement is supported by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through USArtists International in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.



Melissa Smey has taken the reigns of a musical animal that is headed in a very necessary direction. And when very high profile composers are presented such as Lachenmann or Boulez or John Zorn, the audience turn out is wonderful, one can feel the buzz of expectation. But with other portraits, the audiences are more meager, and the attempt to give it that same feeling seems forced.

Let me check, we are in New York City, correct? And yes, this is not music for the masses, nor was it ever thought it should be. As a matter of fact, the general audience that wishes to hear such and such a symphony orchestra play traditional fare, or when something has a buzz like Bang On A Can’s sold-out 25th Birthday Concert at Tully—lots of hype and hoopla and marketing money etc, and a big budget to boost does not hurt, making events like this happen are much easier.

Yes, Miller Theater has acoustic issues, it is dry and lacks sparkle, but with a group like Signal or Ice making it ring with fantastic ambiance, who really cares?

I believe the story goes that Schoenberg began to wonder what he was doing wrong when his works became more “popular,” as it were. And with so much happening on any given evening in NYC, it can be an embarrassment of riches.

But composer’s portraits MUST exist! They must prosper, and the musical intelligentsia in NYC that truly wishes for these efforts to continue must make a more than slightly harder effort to be curious. Remember when people were truly curious? Who is Hilda Paredes? If you did not know her music, be you composer, consumer of things most challenging and exotic or another member of the community in NYC who wishes to be heard when they appear at Miller, why were you not there? Do you study composition at Columbia or Manhattan School or Juilliard? In other words, what is wrong here? Is this pure laziness and apathy? When the New York Philharmonic performs Stockhausen’s Gruppen at The Armory, you can be sure this will be a different event. Does everything have to be all fanfare and bravura to be interesting? Is spectacle what matters is or true substance that is remembered?

Applaud Melissa for what she is doing by supporting this series with your body and your money, and stop complaining that there are not cutting-edge things going on in NYC. They happen all the time, and when you climb to the top of the mountain and look down, Melissa’s Composer’s Portraits are a shining example of what should be welcome and refreshing and a deep curiosity to those who wish to thrive in this world. My guess is there are a couple of thousand in NYC who should be at every one of these concerts, there is simply no excuse not to be there, except unless you are not in NYC at the time, giving birth or dying or otherwise so deeply occupied and you cannot make it. Where are the Q2 simulcasts for these concerts?

By the way, Hilda’s music is gorgeous, simply stunning and it was played with the usual aplomb by Brad Lubman and Signal. And with Irvine Arditti as soloist, a rare event indeed in and of itself…shall I go on?

If you can’t make it, then make a small contribution to the concert you can’t make and buy a few less cappuccinos.

And send Melissa a single red rose for every time she takes the risk! Applaud the effort and stop whining when no one comes to your portrait concert—names will be left out here! Sometimes the greatest things are only a few blocks away, and a few stops by subway. If it is a nice night out, sip your martini afterwards at the outdoor cafĂ©. Exercise your mind and your ears and support what is not always about hype and fanfare. One thing that will never happen is that you will find dullness or sameness.

And is Melissa supporting woman composers of note, you bet!

Dog Days Shatters The Dramatic Barrier

Dog Days by David T. Little is an ambitious undertaking by a composer whose powerful narrative comes to life through the production genius of Beth Morrison.

Based on a short story by Judy Budnitz, Dog Days is a contemporary opera that investigates the psychology of a working class American family against a not-so-distant-future wartime scenario. A collaboration with librettist Royce Vavrek, this black comedy asks: is it madness, delusion, or human / animal instinct that guides us through severely trying times? Where exactly is the line between animal and human? At what point must we give in to our animal instincts merely to survive? Scenes from Dog Days was commissioned by Carnegie Hall through The Weill Music Institute, and an expanded version was featured in New York City Opera’s 2010 VOX program. The work, developed with director Robert Woodruff, and commissioned by Peak Performances in Montclair, NJ in association with Beth Morrison Projects, is set for a September 2012 premiere.

Every breath of this work is alive and filled by a deeply imbued sense of desperation held together by Little’s thematic narrative line which fills the air with a dense fog of both desperation and enlightenment. Profiled by rhythmic drive and melodic power, in the end, its realizations are shocking! Performed by an expanded version of his ensemble NEWSPEAK with singers of extraordinary talent, the players, the vocalists and the audience are kept on-edge by a sense of expectation and brooding fear as to what may come next. Allan Pierson conducts this with exacting brilliance as every beat is filled with his realization of the work’s exactitude. David T Little scores!

Changing Course—Classical Music in the 21st Century by Stepehn W. Seifert, Director of the Newman Center for the Performing Arts in Denver, as it appeared in Western Ways, the Newsletter of The Western Arts Alliance

“Swimming” by Stephen W. Seifert

A Compelling Overview of the State of the Classical Music Industry by the Director of The Newman Center for the Performing Arts in Denver.


By Don Roth (a response from the executive director of the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts)

Stephen’s article (and the longer paper on which it is based) is a brilliant synthesis of the best thinking around the issue of “what’s wrong with the arts”, and in particular, what’s wrong with the “classical” arts and those organizations created to sustain them. I share with Stephen a frustration with so many organizations in this sector, which, faced with trouble, have a tendency to retrench to a steady diet of Boheme’s and Swan Lake’s and Beethoven’s Fifth’s.

Third Coast Percussion: Virtuosity and Subtlety

One of the most significant musical ensembles of our time, Third Coast Percussion devotes themselves to key works of the repertoire with a deep sense of pure virtuosity and musical care and subtlety, while avoiding the all too often felt and heard “noise-factor” experienced with some percussion groups. A deep sense of care and transparency is attached to a true sense of “groove” in a way that few ensembles achieve. Mode Records will release what I think will be one of THE significant Cage CD/DVD packages of the music of John Cage, and the result will be a recording of highly influential playing that defines and makes accessible, these seminal works by Cage. Hearing groups like Third Coast Percussion play Cage sparks the imagination and stimulates the senses. Filled with a world of color and brilliance and pure beauty, Third Coast brings pure elegance to to this music. View a small sample of the Video here