Monday, June 10, 2013
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
We have cameo appearances by classical guitar virtuoso David Leisner, who has been described by American Record Guide as "...among the finest guitarists currently performing," and he certainly lives up to that description.
And if you've ever wondered how gorgeous a theorbo can sound (or if you just wanted to know what a theorbo was), look no further than master theorbist Hank Heijink, who we've managed to snag for a special number.
We are also bringing back multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and composer Bora Yoon, who captivated our audiences on both coasts during ARCO and TOWER.
And, finally, Trio Eos, a female vocal trio whose voices are what we imagine angels sound like when they sing.
Two weeks until the big reveal, and we are itching with anticipation. Hoping that some of you are as well.
Friday, April 19, 2013
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
About a year ago, though, I was struck by how light/dark opposition might be stretched -- in the concert context -- into a land of conscious/unconscious thought, or awake/dreaming. That led to the "Aha!" moment that is about to culminate in Ascending Darkness (subtitled "Soundtrack to a Dream").
In my mind (and my mind only, unless someone else is drawn there by chance), the dramatic arc of this concert is very much informed by the writings of Joseph Campbell - specifically "Hero With a Thousand Faces." It's a journey into the un- (or sub-) conscious, something akin to a quest. With that said, I think the only important thing to know going into a concert like this is that you have the opportunity to make it into your own journey, your own quest.
The music and lighting are designed to draw you into a quasi-sleep state -- not that you'll be out cold, snoring, but more like withdrawn from the outside and paying serious attention to things sonic. Once you're there, each piece develops the dream further. Whatever associations or images you come up with along the way, they're all valid. This is YOUR dream, remember? One of the interesting things to know about archetypal hero quests/dream journeys is that they all share the same broad-based sequence of events, regardless of culture or time period. Given that, it's likely that the sequence of associations and images you experience during this concert will be similar to what others experience. Interesting post-concert discussion fodder, we hope!
Back to writing music for this. More soon...
Friday, January 18, 2013
Happy Friday, and here's a little clip of something we've been listening to a lot recently:
It's not exactly "classical," but we like to mix things up a little!
Thursday, May 31, 2012
This concert started in my mind with the idea of alternating electrical current, or more specifically the notion that extreme energy, and ultimately power, can be generated by alternating differing signal types in rapid succession. A quick glance at the program notes shows that this idea – switching back and forth between old (Classical) and new (Neo-Classical) music – is still very much alive.
Then I began to think about the very “Sympho” idea of using that generation of power to create something new and very large-scale, something specifically inspired by human aspirations.
Bionic Symphony is a large-scale work, composed of four “bionic symphonies” (Parts I, II, III, and IV in the program order), connected by interludes. The music in these “bionic symphonies” alternates between Classical (in this case by Mozart and Haydn) and Neoclassical (music that uses Classical forms and conventions as a starting point for the creative process) movements or short pieces.
What is a Symphony? In Reader’s Digest terms, it’s a musical piece of Classical origins, usually but not necessarily in four movements, where those movements were typically in the order fast-slow-dance-fast. (The dance movements could be slow or fast but were usually in triple meter.) The first movement is typically in sonata form, where (after an optional slow introduction) initial material is presented in an “exposition”, then toyed with in the“development”, and finally re-presented in more final terms in the “recapitulation”.
More importantly, and in terms we can all understand, a Symphony is a journey contemplated and then travelled, a problem encountered and then solved. As we progress from the Classical into the Romantic period, especially with composers like Beethoven, Schubert, and Brahms, we start to encounter thematic and other organic links between movements. In some later instances (e.g., Sibelius’s Symphony No. 7), there are no breaks, yielding a Symphony in one movement.
Our “bionic symphonies” are designed to integrate the feeling and sweep of a Symphony: in either two, three, or four movements, they have their own journey to travel or their own problem to solve. Indeed, the evening as a whole, if you look at it carefully, is itself of Symphonic proportions: four movements, each with its own flavor, and designed with a forward momentum from beginning to end.
In the end, though, you'll be able to put all of that in the background, because this evening has been designed to transport you into an exciting, emotional space: a movie-length, nonstop, century-hopping smorgasbord of great music. I can't wait to share it all with you!
(Again, for tickets, click here.)
Friday, February 10, 2012
Sympho has invented a new performance concept, at once more accessible and visceral than the traditional concert-hall experience. Gone are the barriers separating orchestra from audience. Innovative theatrical techniques borrowed from contemporary theatre – alternative spatial positioning, lighting – help invigorate a concert-hall experience gone musty with tradition.