music

New year, new job

I can’t believe it’s almost been 3 months since I started my new position with Orchestra of St. Luke’s. This year has already felt so monumental to me, and it’s also just started.

As Development and Executive Assistant, I support both the development team and executive director, and so far it’s really put my multi-tasking, multi-hat-wearing skills to the test. Already in the past 3 months, I’ve worked my first Carnegie Hall concert; helped with logistics for our Gift of Music Gala at The Plaza; and felt like I make an actually impact on the landscape of classical music in the city.

OSL is a phenomenal organization whose history of innovative music making and community building within the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood and beyond is incredibly inspirational to me.

I can truly say calling OSL my workplace home is such an honor.

Who would’ve thought I’d be lucky enough to land a job with an arts org that presents a 3-week long summer Bach Festival?? If you had told me that a decade ago, I’d think it was a pipe dream—too good to be true. I mean, I was the girl with the punny “Get Off My Bach” bumper sticker on my Honda Accord. I’d drive under thick canopy trees, serenaded by fugues and partitas, loving the precision and rhythm and beauty inherent in each piece. And now look how the stars have aligned. My heart is warmed with gratitude.

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what I’m listening to:

The latest release from Third Coast Percussion: Perpetulum, which features a new commission by Philip Glass of the same name. David Skidmore’s piece on the album is also particularly impressive, and it’s been incredibly productive to write to.

what I’m reading:

just finished The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish by Katya Apekina and Leslie Feinberg’s legendary Stone Butch Blues (both so powerful and so incredibly good but cw: abuse, trauma, suicide, so pls read with caution !) and I checked out Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth from the library today, so I know I’m in for a treat

 
 

transcendent obsessions (or hearing reich's Drumming for the first time irl)

I’ve been turning something over in my head for a while now: Chamber works are to poems as symphonies are to novels. 

Hearing a composer’s chamber piece is to see their mind at work, the cogs churning and whirring; experimenting and exalting; wrestling and grappling and fixating on something—namely, an obsession—and turning it over and over again. 

It’s a something all writers deeply understand. 

This past Thursday, I heard Steve Reich’s Drumming in its entirety performed at House of Yes (HoY), and it was nothing short of transcendent. 

 
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Sandbox Percussion and HoY aerial performers and vocalists [left to right]

Sandbox Percussion and HoY aerial performers and vocalists [left to right]

 

Synesthetic, mesmeric, meditative… Sandbox Percussion along with guest musicians and HoY performers did not disappoint. I won’t lie—I was worried that including aerial performers and dancers and large-scale digital visuals would potentially detract from the music, or distract. But rather it was additive, truly transformative.

Reich’s phasing technique is in many ways an aural exploration of obsession. Beginning in unison with a singular pattern, soon one of the performers pushes forward, incrementally faster, displacing the initial line by a beat and weaving a texture of new patterns. The result is a churning state of flux, never stagnant or stale, that is at once soothing as it is surprising. 

And this isn’t the construction of hierarchies; rather, what becomes is a meditation on what could be if you were to train your mind on one thing—one tone, one motif, one timbre. It’s no wonder I love listening to Reich's music when I write.

After the show, I was in this gooey state of awe and raw excitement. Buzzing with presence and visions about what’s to come.

My close friends know I’ve been saying this for forever, but the perception and reception of *classical music* have been shifting for a long, long time, and it’s made significant strides out of the graveyard. In the coming years, I anticipate more accessible, interdisciplinary, innovative work. Smaller works, more intimate works. More ambitious programming and staging. More of the new, without forgoing the old. (Just listen to what Modern Medieval is doing to get a taste of what I’m talking about.)

All in all, it’s an exciting time, both as active listener and creator. Perhaps sometimes we forgot the intention and deliberation that goes into both these roles. Perhaps we could be kinder on ourselves for even attempting such monumental acts. 

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