Tag Archives: music

Summer Season 2014

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My picks so far from New York’s summer season:

Thursday, July 10, 8:30 PM
JAPAN CUTS: Why Don’t You Play in Hell? / 地獄でなぜ悪い (Jigoku de Naze Warui)
Japan Society, NYC

In Sion Sono’s latest provocation to hit NYC, Why Don’t You Play in Hell? (Sono has since completed three films with a fourth in post-production), a DIY film crew sets out to debut the new Bruce Lee but instead find themselves caught up in a yakuza clan feud. The film won the Public’s Choice Award at the 2013 Montréal Festival of New Cinema and the People’s Choice Award at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.

Reviewing Why Don’t You Play in Hell? for Roger Ebert’s Far-Flung Correspondents, Seongyong Cho wrote:

“…I watched the film with some sort of bizarre fascination, observing how far it was willing to push its sheer craziness, and it surely did not disappoint me. It is apparent from the opening scene that this nutty movie does not give a damn about looking realistic or believable at all, and it keeps going on and on with more craziness, and then we find ourselves in the middle of the deranged bloody mix of passion and delusion, in which every character is swept to the extreme point which must be seen to be believed.”

Friday, July 11, 7:00 PM
An Evening with Juana Molina
The Greene Space at WNYC/WQXR, NYC

The Argentine singer-songwriter and actress joins WNYC’s John Schaefer and NPR’s Maria Hinojosa for “a night of live music and conversation.” Molina’s Wed 21 (2013), her sixth album, is her first in five years.

Reviewing Wed 21 in Pitchfork, Nick Neyland wrote:

“Mostly this is an album that’s remarkable for how close Molina draws you in and then spits you out, alternating wildly between closeness and distance. The sense of familiarity carried over from her other records works in her favor, making Wed 21 feel like an old friend who’s back in town with a clutch of new stories to tell. Like all good storytellers, Molina’s gift is in the delivery. [7.5]”

Sunday, July 27, 8:00 PM
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds with Guest Nicole Atkins
Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC

With a 2013 album (Push the Sky Away) out and a new documentary (20,000 Days on Earth) on the festival circuit, the ultimate Australian multi-hyphenate and his band hits the US and Canada for a summer tour.

Reviewing Push the Sky Away in Pitchfork, Stuart Berman wrote:

Push the Sky Away is the 15th official album by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, but it could almost be their first. After 30 years together, the band has effectively come full circle, having completed its evolution from untamed beast to rock dignitary and, via the fearsome alter-ego offshoot Grinderman, back again. [8.0] “

Asbury Park’s own Nicole Atkins will be opening. Reviewing Atkin’s 2014 Slow Phaser, New York Daily News critic Jim Farber wrote:

“Nicole Atkins has a bullet-proof voice. Gleaming in tone, piercing in volume and unstoppable in attitude, it rips right through you.

“It’s the ideal vehicle for a song like “Cool People,” which could become the anti-Williamsburg anthem of all time. It’s a sarcastic takedown of hipster culture, delivered with a confidence that, ironically, makes Atkins seem like the coolest person in the room.”

Friday, August 1, 10:00 PM
Asian American International Film Festival: How to Disappear Completely
City Cinema Village East, NYC

In a recent interview with Gino Barrica on FLPNO.com, Raya Martin describes his latest fiction feature as one of his more “accessible” works:

“I was always trying out something visually new in my previous works, but it’s also a challenge to work structurally narrative-wise in a film. In a way, the story-telling in How to Disappear Completely is very simple: it’s a child’s daily life in a small town. That also makes it the most challenging: how do you translate certain moods and feelings in something as simple as that?

You also called this your homage to American Independent Horror. What were your influences and why did you decide to pay tribute to that genre?

“It’s always been clear to me that if I make my more narrative works, they’d be towards that: I grew up watching a lot of horror films, even before I discovered filmmakers like Antonioni or Maya Deren, I was already into John Carpenter’s Halloween and Wes Craven’s The Serpent and the Rainbow. They were my real formative heroes. The soundtrack, for example, is reminiscent of Carpenter’s own work in his films.

I remember growing up in the Philippines and getting so scared by the Filipino folk tales of creatures and superstitions. How much of that influenced the film?

“There’s a different sense of terror in the Philippines, I think. It’s very interesting that we seem to be desensitized by everyday murders, but half-bodied flying witches are very much alive in our consciousness. It’s this overlapping of the superstitions with seemingly urban consciousness that makes us unique. I get paranoid more about a rattling sound on the roof that could come from a demonic creature, than perhaps a burglar. It’s that weird consciousness in the film.”

This screening will be the film’s US East Coast premiere.

Friday, August 8, 2:30 PM
The Princess Pyunggang – FringeNYC
Sheen Center – THE LORETTO, NYC

Bibimbab Theatre
Writer: Sookyung Hwang
Director: Jong Yeoup Lee
Choreographer: Grace (Yu Sun) Kang
“The story of Princess Pyunggang is a Korean ancient tale that tells the unforgettable love between a foolish and the princess of Goguryo. This story combines Korean traditional drumming instruments songs and dances to deliver a breathtaking performance.”

Monday, August 11, 3:45 PM
mislabeledilEMMA: No, I Don’t Have Downs Syndrome – FringeNYC
Abrazo Interno at the Clemente, NYC

Quirky Girl Productions
Writer: Emma McWilliams
Director: Anne Moore
“A quirky girl’s search for identity amidst the confusion of being told she was “disabled.” She faces the issues of discrimination, gender equality, race, religion, and “fitting in” as she tries to understand the Syndrome she was born with spontaneously.”

Tuesday, August 12, 7:00 PM
Nisei – FringeNYC
The Theater at the 14th Street Y, NYC

Covenant Ballet Theatre of Brooklyn
Writer: Marla Hirokawa
Music by Keith Hall, Craig Brann, Taki Rentaro, Harold Payne, Jake Shimabukuro
Choreographer: Marla A. Hirokawa
“It’s WWII and a Nisei, 2nd generation Japanese American soldier has to overcome bigotry displayed against him and his family by the very country he is fighting to protect. This legacy unfolds in a ballet of love, strength and honor.”

Saturday, August 16, 7:00 PM
Breaking the Shakespeare Code – FringeNYC
64E4 Mainstage, NYC

Hey Jonte! Productions, L.L.C.
Writer: John Minigan
Director: Stephen Brotebeck
“A brash, naive young actress approaches a gifted but callous acting instructor to coach her for an audition. Surprising them both, Anna and Curt’s explosive chemistry sparks 16 years of cat and mouse seductions and entanglements.”

Sunday, August 17, 7:45 PM
Forgetting the Details – FringeNYC
The White Box at 440 Studios, NYC

Nicole Maxali Productions
Writer: Nicole Maxali
Director: Paul Stein
“Family, Filipinos & Alzheimer’s. Described by Dave Chappelle as “funny, heartwarming & funny again,” this one-woman show will make you laugh, cry & remind you that in the end, it’s not the details that matter.”

Wednesday, August 20, 2:00 PM
The Fiery Sword of Justice – FringeNYC
Abrazo Interno at the Clemente, NYC

Pill Hill Productions
Writer: Lauren Letellier
Director: Kel Haney
“The last thing any corporation wants to hear is … the truth! One businesswoman’s super-heroic compulsion to confront hypocrisy leads her to battle Big Pharma, boozy bosses, and the fractured family fantasies that fueled her fight for Justice.”

Acheron – 21st Century Choreographers, NYCB

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Acheron
21st Century Choreographers III
New York City Ballet
3 May 2014
Lincoln Center, NYC

Music: Francis Poulenc
Choreography: Liam Scarlett
Principal Casting: Rebecca Krohn, Ashley Bouder, Sara Mearns, Andrew Veyette, Amar Ramasar, Adrian Danchig-Waring, Anthony Huxley
Organ Soloist: Michael Hey

Costumes: Liam Scarlett (Costumes Supervised by Marc Happel)
Lighting: Mark Stanley

Premiere: 2014, Lincoln Center

Let’s say it was happenstance, and not a verdict on the state of ballet in 2014, that NYCB’s three-night survey of contemporary choreography concluded with the elegiac Acheron, the first work commissioned by the company from Royal Ballet artist in residence Liam Scarlett.

Set to Francis Poulenc’s Concerto in G for Organ, Strings and Timpani, which the composer wrote over a four-year period in the 1930s during which he was deeply affected – spiritually and musically – by the untimely death of his friend (critic and composer Pierre-Octave Ferroud), Acheron takes its name from one of the five rivers of the Greek underworld. The river of woe.

To quote Praline (Monty Python Flying Circus, episode 6): “Well where’s the pleasure in that?”

After sustained dancing to silence, we confront the shattering opening of Poulenc’s concerto, which becomes more meditative as reflected by the tempo markings: Andante, Allegro giocoso, Subito andante moderato, Tempo allegro. Molto agitatio, Très calme: Lent, Tempo de l’allegro initial and Tempo d’introduction: Largo.

Acheron then moves between pas de deux by three principal couples (Sara Mearns and Adrian Danchig-Waring, Rebecca Krohn and Tyler Angle, Ashley Bouder and Amar Ramasar), a male soloist (Anthony Huxley), and ensemble sections with five couples from the corps de ballet.

Let’s say this is a work that requires more than one look.

Sonatas and Interludes – 21st Century Choreographers, NYCB

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Sonatas and Interludes
21st Century Choreographers III
New York City Ballet
3 May 2014
Lincoln Center, NYC

Music: John Cage
Choreography: Richard Tanner
Principal Casting: Tiler Peck, Amar Ramasar
Pianist: Elaine Chelton

Costumes: Carol Divet
Lighting: Mark Stanley

Premiere: 1982, Eglevsky Ballet

Tiler Peck and Amar Ramasar danced with astonishing precision and subtlety, their musculature lit sharply from above as they moved in seemingly effortless harmony with Cage’s fiendishly complex rhythms.

After the final presentation of Les Bosquets, Program III opened with a 1980s work by NYCB Ballet Master Richard Tanner.

Tanner set his Sonatas and Interludes to five pieces from John Cage’s groundbreaking work of the same name for prepared piano, which Cage composed in the 1940s, shortly after encountering Vedic philosophy and the teachings of Ananda K. Coomaraswamy.

The sixteen sonatas and four interludes of Cage’s full work express the eight dominant emotional themes (Rasas) described by the Nātyasāstra, an ancient work of dramatic theory: Rati (love); Hasya (mirth); Soka (sorrow); Krodha (anger); Utsaha (energy); Bhaya (terror); Jugupsa (disgust); Vismaya (astonishment).

In Tanner’s choreography, a pianist performs onstage (the highly accomplished Elain Chelton in Saturday night’s performance) as a couple execute a pas de deux.

Tiler Peck and Amar Ramasar danced with astonishing precision and subtlety, their musculature lit sharply from above as they moved in seemingly effortless harmony with Cage’s fiendishly complex rhythms.

DGV: Danse à Grande Vitesse – 21st Century Choreographers, NYCB

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DGV: Danse à Grande Vitesse
21st Century Choreographers II
New York City Ballet
30 April 2014
Lincoln Center, NYC

Music: Michael Nyman
Choreography: Christopher Wheeldon
Principal Casting: Sara Mearns, Robert Fairchild, Megan Fairchild, Gonzalo Garcia, Maria Kowroski, Tyler Angle, Tiler Peck, Andrew Veyette

Costumes: Jean-Marc Puissant
Set: Jean-Marc Puissant
Lighting: Jennifer Tipton, recreated by Jesse Belsky

Premiere: 2006, The Royal Ballet, Covent Garden

I wish I could’ve taken my father to this ballet. He had an intuitive feel for vehicles of all kinds and how they could be made to run faster, smoother, and with ever-refined elegance. He died thirty-two years ago, and I do declare I missed him at this performance. He would have absolutely got this production.

A close collaboration between choreographer Christopher Wheeldon and designer Jean-Marc Puissant, around the idea of a train journey inspired by Michael Nyman’s MGV, or Musique à Grande Vitesse – High-Speed Music (composed to commemorate the 1993 inauguration of the north European line of the French high-speed train á grande vitesse, more commonly known as the TGV), DGV brilliantly explores the intersection of the theatrical and the functional through a tour de force ballet for 26 dancers, with four pas de deux.

A phenomenally prolific dance-maker, Christopher Wheeldon is a knowledgeable creature of the New York City Ballet. He moved to the city to join NYCB at age 19, and began choreographing for the company in 1997, retiring as a dancer in 2000 to focus on dance-making. In 2001, Wheeldon became the New York City Ballet resident choreographer and first resident artist.

Designer Jean-Marc Puissant began his career as a dancer, studying at the School of Paris Opera Ballet and the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris before performing with the Birmingham Royal Ballet and Stuttgart Ballet, where he danced and created roles in classical, neo-classical and contemporary repertoires.

Michael Nyman’s work encompasses operas and string quartets, film soundtracks and orchestral concertos. He is perhaps best known for his film scores, which include a dozen Peter Greenaway films (The Draughtsman’s Contract and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, etc.); Neil Jordan’s The End Of The Affair; several Michael Winterbottom features (Wonderland, A Cock And Bull Story, The Trip); and Jane Campion’s The Piano.

An abstract work that is at times quite raw, DGV propels 26 dancers on a trip where the romance of a train journey collides with the machinery of speed.

From Nyman’s program notes for the original score:

“MGV runs continuously but was conceived as an abstract, imaginary journey; or rather five inter-connected journeys, each ending with a slow, mainly stepwise melody which is only heard in its ‘genuine’ form when the piece reaches its destination. The thematic ‘transformation’ is a key to MGV as a whole, where musical ideas- rhythmic, melodic, harmonic, motivic, textural – constantly change their identity as they pass through different musical ‘environments’.”

Wheeldon described the music as “open and full of air,” noting: “I wanted to capture that feeling you get when you are travelling – of being suspended in time and space.”

Against a sculpture of buckling steel, the corps de ballet evokes the machinery of the high-speed train as four couples track the journey through intricate, seemingly impossible pas de deux that wonderfully exploit Sara Mearns’ graceful athleticism and famously supple spine, Maria Kowroski’s regally expansive limbs, Tiler Peck’s  brilliant technique, and Megan Fairchild’s luminous stage presence.

Not enough has been written in praise of the New York City Ballet Orchestra, surely one of the best bands working in this town. With a schedule of seven performances each week of rotating repertoire, this group performs perhaps three or four times the repertoire of a typical symphony orchestra. Ballet requires the total integration of music and dance. The NYCB Orchestra is an essential, integral partner in this miracle.

Year of the Rabbit – 21st Century Choreographers, NYCB

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Year of the Rabbit
21st Century Choreographers II
New York City Ballet
30 April 2014
Lincoln Center, NYC

Music: Sufjan Stevens (orchestration: Michael P. Atkinson)
Choreography: Justin Peck
Principal Casting: Lauren Lovette, Tiler Peck, Teresa Reichlen, Harrison Ball, Robert Fairchild, Craig Hall

Costumes: Justin Peck (costumes supervised by Marc Happel)
Lighting: Brandon Stirling Baker

Premiere: 2012, Lincoln Center

After Les Bosquets, Program II opened with Justin Peck’s acclaimed 2012 work Year of the Rabbit, a ballet for 18 dancers set to Michael P. Atkinson’s string orchestration of Sufjan Stevens’s Enjoy Your Rabbit, an electronica album based on the Chinese zodiac.

Much has been written about Justin Peck’s emergence as a world-class choreographer and also about his affinity for the New York City Ballet: his innate understanding of the pure distillation of movement and music, the rhythmic pulse and quickness, that are the company’s hallmarks, and also his collegial relationship with these dancers in particular. I’d like to focus on his genius for extramural collaboration, which I believe has already made a significant impact on NYCB’s storied history – one that extends through George Balanchine at least as far back as Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. I say Peck goes further than his legendary predecessors through an unprecedented talent for looking outside the world of classicism to create entirely new collaborations in which music and dance form an integral whole while retaining full artistic autonomy.

I’ll start with an extract from an interview with the New York Times dance critic Roslyn Sulcas:

JUSTIN PECK: I first heard “Rabbit” on WNYC, in a profile of a string quartet who had done these arrangements of his “Enjoy Your Rabbit” album. I was really taken with the music, found it really innovative and danceable, and I kind of kept it on my radar. I started experimenting with it during a few sessions at the New York Choreographic Institute, and Peter Martins [City Ballet’s ballet master in chief] was encouraging. When he asked me to do a piece for the company, I invited Sufjan to the ballet and told him what I wanted to do.

SUFJAN STEVENS: …I’d had requests before from choreographers, mainly college students doing liturgical modern dance. But I didn’t know anything about ballet. When I moved to New York, I had a ballet friend who dragged me to “Apollo,” and I hated it. Ballet seemed so anachronistic, so formal and classical and archaic and irrelevant to pop culture, the world of YouTube and reality television. I didn’t understand it.

But when Justin invited me to do the “Rabbit” ballet, he persuaded me to have an education and kind of curated my experience. He would say, come and watch this, watch that, then we would talk about it. “Agon” was when it really clicked for me. There is no pandering, there is nothing coy about it — it is so distilled and perfect, immaculate. That’s what convinced me that ballet was important. It is all about absence of self — there is no ego in it, even though there is extreme self-consciousness. Ballet is like proof of the existence of God, whereas my art is proof of the existence of me. It made me understand how selfish and boring it can be to make art that is all about yourself.

Not to take anything away from George Balanchine, but nobody had to sell Igor Stravinsky on ballet. Not only does Justin Peck have the choreographic chops and good taste in music necessary to create ballet of the first order, but he also has that strange quality of the impresario – that of the unleashed imagination combined with an intuitive sense of the popular – that sets him and today’s NYCB quite apart in the world of 21st century ballet.

Something important is happening in the building formerly known as the New York State Theater, and Justin Peck and his corps de ballet are at the epicenter.

This Bitter Earth – 21st Century Choreographers, NYCB

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This Bitter Earth
21st Century Choreographers I
New York City Ballet
29 April 2014
Lincoln Center, NYC

Music: Dinah Washington and Max Richter
Choreography: Christopher Wheeldon
Principal Casting: Wendy Whelan, Tyler Angle

Costumes: Valentino (Costume Supervision: Mark Happel)
Lighting: Mary Louise Geiger

Premiere: 2012, Vail International Dance Festival, with Wendy Whelan and Tyler Angle

Following Les Bosquets, (a brief “pièce d’occasion conceived by 2014 Art Series collaborator JR, featuring guest artist Lil Buck and original music by Woodkid”), Program I opened with Christopher Wheeldon’s poignantly lyrical This Bitter Earth, a duet from his Five Movements, Three Repeats.

Returning to the NYCB stage for her final season before “retiring” (to focus on new collaborations in modern dance) – Wendy Whelan reaffirmed her supreme command of post-Balanchine classicism in a razor-sharp performance that adeptly carried the emotional weight of the Clyde Otis ballad, as realized by Dinah Washington:

This bitter earth
Well, what fruit it bears
What good is love that no one shares
And if my life is like the dust that hides the glow of a rose
What good am I?
Heaven only knows.

Choreographer Wheeldon incorporated into his ballet the conclusion to the soundtrack of Martin Scorsese’s 2010 thriller Shutter Island , in which Scorsese’s longtime musical collaborator Robbie Robertson layered Dinah Washington’s vocal over Max Richter’s “On the Nature of Daylight”, creating a mash-up that “collapses worlds of time and idiom into an improbably pure evocation of a shuttering heart.” (Bradley Bambarger, New Jersey On-Line)

In future posts I will have more to write about the integrative genius I see at play within this company.

2013 NYC Fall Season – First Picks

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Welcome back. Here are my picks so far:

Saturday, September 7, 8pm
New Chamber Ballet – Season Opening

City Center Studios, 130 West 56th St, 5th floor
The season opening performances at City Center Studios feature a world premiere by Miro Magloire, as well as Klavierstück, The Letter, In a Simple Black Dress, and Anna’s Last Day.
http://newchamberballet.com/performances.html

Thursday September 12, 2013, 9pm
Keren Ann

Littlefield, 622 Degraw st., Brooklyn, NY
http://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/322243

Saturday, September 28, 12:30pm
New York Film Festival: The Wind Rises (Kazi Tachinu) | Hayao Miyazaki 2013

Japan | Japanese with English subtitles | 126 minutes
http://www.filmlinc.com/nyff2013/films/the-wind-rises

Sunday, September 29, 11:30am
New York Film Festival: Norte, The End of History (Hangganan ng Kasaysayan) | Lav Diaz, 2013

Philippines | Tagalog with English subtitles | 250 minutes
http://www.filmlinc.com/films/on-sale/NORTE-THE-END-OF-HISTORY

Sunday, September 29, 9pm
New York Film Festival: Nobody’s Daughter Haewon (Nugu-ui ttal-do anin Haewon) | Hong Sang-soo 2013

South Korea | Korean and English with English subtitles | 90 minutes
http://www.filmlinc.com/nyff2013/films/nobodys-daughter-haewon

Monday, September 30, 6pm
New York Film Festival: Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil le Clercq | Nancy Buirski, 2013

USA | 87 minutes
http://www.filmlinc.com/films/on-sale/afternoon-of-a-faun-tanaquil-le-clercq

Tuesday, October 1, 6:15pm
New York Film Festival: Try and Get Me | Cy Endfield, 1950
USA | 85 minutes
http://www.filmlinc.com/films/on-sale/TRY-AND-GET-ME

Wednesday, October 2, 6pm
New York Film Festival: Manila in the Claws of Light (Maynila: Sa mga kuko ng liwanag) | Lino Brocka, 1975
Philippines | Tagalog with English subtitles | 124 minutes
http://www.filmlinc.com/films/on-sale/MANILA-IN-THE-CLAWS-OF-LIGHT

Sunday, October 6, 6:15pm
New York Film Festival: Abuse of Weakness (Abus de Faiblesse) | Catherine Breillat, 2013
France | French with English subtitles | 105 minutes
http://www.filmlinc.com/films/on-sale/abuse-of-weakness

Tuesday, October 8, 6pm
New York Film Festival: Mysterious Object at Noon (Doka nai meuman) | Apichatpong Weerasetakhul, 2000
Thailand | Thai with English subtitles | 83 minutes
http://www.filmlinc.com/nyff2013/films/mysterious-object-at-noon

Wednesday, October 9, 8pm
Metropolitan Opera: Norma | Vincenzo Bellini, 1831
Riccardo Frizza (conductor); Sondra Radvanovsky (Norma); Kate Aldrich (Adalgisa); Aleksandrs Antonenko (Pollione); James Morris (Oroveso)
http://www.metoperafamily.org/opera/norma-bellini-tickets.aspx

Friday, October 18, 8pm
Janelle Monae, Apollo Theater
http://www.apollotheater.org/all/details/150-janelle_mon%C3%A1e_10_18_13

Monday, November 4, 7:30pm
An Evening with Esa-Pekka Salonen, SubCulture
http://www.92y.org/tickets/production.aspx?pid=95847

Friday, November 8, 7:30pm
Alexei Ratmansky Premier (The Tempest), American Ballet Theatre
http://www.davidhkochtheater.com/moreinfoABT.html

Friday, November 15, 7:30pm
Rokia Traoré, Rose Theater
http://www.whitelightfestival.org/beautiful-africa

Persian Songs from Timurid Period (14th Century) to Today

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World Music Institute Presents
Global Salon with Bahar Movahed (vocal), Ali Samadpour (tar), Navid Kandelousi (violin, kamncheh, tombak)
Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Peter Norton Symphony Space, New York City
17 April 2013

In her New York debut at the Thalia, Tehran born and bred polymath Bahar Movahed introduced a sold-out house to eight centuries of Persian song, accompanied by master instrumentalists Ali Samadpour and Navid Kandelousi.

Movahed’s learned program notes are the best place to start:

“In this concert we are presenting the art of the ballad (tasnif or taraneh). Our program starts with pieces from the 14th century and ends with post-modern pieces by Ali Samadpour. This is the first time that such a concert is being performed, and I am thrilled to be performing this journey with Ali Samadpour and Navid Kandelousi. What we see and hear in this concert is the evolution of composition based on factors such as rhythm, scales, and poetry.

Timurid Period
“In the Timurid period (14th and 15th century), the music contained maqams (collection of ancient tunes and melodies) and a developed series of rhythmic scales – the same as sonatas, concertos, and symphonies in Western classical music. The composer’s job was to mix the ancient melodies and the rhythmic scales in order to make a new melody which was still largely based on the original form. The singer was not responsible for the meaning of the lyrics as much as he was for the spirit of the music. Music and poetry were combined with each other to create a third language of emotion and feeling regardless of the meaning of the poem….

Qajar Era
“In the Qajar era (18th century), the previous approach to music was totally lost. The use of Iranian classical poetry was pushed aside and the lyrics were created by either the composers themselves or a few songwriters….

Pahlavi Era
“Later on and in the Pahlavi era (20th century), Persian music became largely poetry-based. The singer’s first responsibility was to stress the meaning of the poem by performing it correctly. Due to this approach combined with a desire to compose on a variety of rhythms and tempos, classical Persian poetry became popular again amongst the musicians. Today this is still the main approach to Persian traditional music….

Contemporary Persian Songs
“Ali Samadpour’s pieces could be considered post-modern in a sense that they do not limit themselves to the early scales of Timurid music and at the same time do not necessarily have the characteristics of the Qajar period….”

In the course of their debut concert, Movahed, Samadpour and Kandelousi brought eight centuries of Iranian culture to life for a roomful of appreciative New Yorkers. Let us hear more!

Music Making as a Tool for Promoting Brain Plasticity

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Wan CY, Schlaug G. Music making as a tool for promoting brain plasticity across the life span. Neuroscientist. 2010 Oct;16(5):566-77. Review. PubMed PMID: 20889966; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2996135. [Free full text.]

Neurologists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School summarize research on the effects of musical training on the structural and functional organization of the human brain.

“This review summarizes research on the effects of musical training on the structural and functional organization of the human brain. Engaging in musical activities not only shapes the organization of the developing brain but also produces long-lasting changes even after brain maturation is complete. The fact that the adult brain can undergo continual modifications highlights the potential of rehabilitation treatments that are designed to induce plastic changes to overcome impairments due to brain injury. For this purpose, music may be a suitable medium because it transmits visual, auditory, and motor information to a specialized brain network consisting of frontotemporoparietal regions.”

Free full text is available via PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Sinawi Glows in Dahlem

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Shamanistic Improvisation Music Ensemble: The Sinawi
7 February 2011
Museen Dahlem, Berlin

A rare opportunity to hear traditional Korean shamanistic music performed in sinawi ensemble by gayageum virtuoso Kim Hae-Sook (Department of Korean Traditional Music, School of Korean Traditional Arts), agaeng master Kim Young-Gil and master percussionist Yoon Ho-Se, and introduced by a hauntingly beautiful folksong prelude by Kang Hyo-Joo of the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts.

Kang Hyo-Joo, Voice, Janggu (장고 or 장구, a double-headed drum)

The Sinawi
Kim Hae-Sook, Gayageum (가야금, a multi-stringed, harp-like instrument)
Kim Young Gil, Ajaeng (아쟁, a bowed, zither-like instrument)
Yoon Ho-Se, Janggu, Jing (a brass gong)

Program
Noraet garak (Kang Hyo-Joo)
Changbu taryeong (Kang Hyo-Joo, Yoon Ho-Se)
Janggu Sinawi (Yoon Ho-Se)
Ajaeng Sinawi (Kim Young Gil)
Sinawi-Ensemble (Kim Hae-Sook, Kim Hae-Sook, Yoon Ho-Se)
Gayageum-Sinawi (Kim Hae-Sook)
Namdo-Sinawi (Kim Hae-Sook, Kim Hae-Sook, Yoon Ho-Se)