Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cameos by...

Another one of the great things about putting together a Sympho concert is the incredibly talented artists we get to work with (this on top of the fantastic musicians of the orchestra, of course!).  So here we are, around the calendar corner from Ascending Darkness, and we have another brilliant line-up.

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

Darkness, Blessed Darkness...

One of the exhilarating things about putting together a Sympho concert is that we never know how the many moving parts will coalesce on the night of.  One of the terrifying things about putting together a Sympho concert is that we never know how the many moving parts will coalesce on the night of. 

By that, I mean, we usually start with a concept, then search for the right venue to bring that concept to life, then curate a “playlist,” then compose or commission the interstitial pieces, then bring in guest artists (musical or other), then add lighting, then determine musician placement throughout the space, then figure out the logistics of getting musicians around the space if the program calls for it, etc.  (There’s more to it, of course, but I won’t bore you with minutiae.)  Needless to say, there’s always room for things to go wrong – like when one of our commissioned composers pulled out at the last minute for one of our concerts, or when our projector failed for another concert, or when, for yet another concert, the projections weren’t quite what we had been expecting.  But the unexpected is just par for the course for us, and we’ve learned to roll with the punches.

What we can’t take chances on, though, for our next concert, is darkness, given that we’ve entitled our concert Ascending Darkness, and that we’ve been describing this concert, more or less, as a concert in the dark.  Were we performing in a black box theater or standard interior concert space, the possibility of pitch blackness would be a given.  But this concert calls for resonant acoustics, and we were fortunate enough to have been granted use of the architectural marvel that is the Church of the Ascension in Greenwich Village.  While perfect in just about every aspect for “Ascending Darkness,” I had noted, though, a potential glitch in the possibility of light transmittal from the gorgeous, stain-glassed windows. 

So we were worried, and not just a little…until our visit to the space last night.  Relief.  Finally, we were able to see the space with the lights turned off, and, oh, blessed, blessed darkness.  We were able to revel and dream in the limitless luxury of blackness – surprisingly black, given the aforementioned windows – imagining ourselves as the audience immersed in the dream we’re planning to weave.  So here we are, planning and prepping for this concert with a renewed commitment.  Finalizing touches to the musical offerings now, and our lighting designer – yes, we have a lighting designer for a concert in the dark, but more on that later – plotting his concept to execution, to assist us in enhancing the experience for our audience. 

Can’t wait to share this performance with you.  I suspect this will be an intensely memorable experience for most, if not all, of the audience.  And, if nothing else, it will be undoubtedly unique.

‘Til later.