Violinist Darragh Morgan Profiled

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

Though he first picked up the violin in the context of Irish traditional music, and undertook classical music studies at Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, Darragh Morgan has long specialized in “new music.” It’s a vague term that encompasses 20th and 21st century music for orchestral and chamber instruments, but can also incorporate virtually anything else.

Morgan’s latest album, For Violin and Electronics, is exactly what it says on the cover: six pieces, all by living composers, on which his instrument either converses with, floats in and around, or battles with electronic soundscapes that can be quite beautiful, or abstract and harsh, sometimes shifting from one to the other at a moment’s notice. “All the tracks have a fully notated, often virtuosic, live violin part which I had to approach learning just as I would Beethoven’s Violin Concerto,” Morgan says.

William Parker Profiled Ahead of Vision Festival

English: Photography of William Parker at Jazz...

Source: Village Voice.

William Parker settles in at a round table in his East Village apartment. It’s a Sunday afternoon, and he’s just arrived home from a string of European dates with his organ quartet, two of them in Italy, a country where Parker performs so often that he’s recognized in the street. In a couple of days he’ll head north to Tufts University for a performance and symposium on art, race, and politics. Not long after, he’ll be off to Peru to play with folk musicians. But today is for family and practicing.

Lou Harrison Profiled

Lou Harrison

Source: NPR.

When it comes to exploring music from other cultures, our ears are open wider now than ever before, thanks in part to YouTube and streaming services. But there’s someone else to thank: composer Lou Harrison, who was born 100 years ago on May 14, 1917. Often called an “American maverick,” Harrison blended Eastern and Western traditions in his music, practicing a kind of “cross-culturalism” long before it was fashionable.

Harrison was born in Portland, Ore., and the Asian decor his mother chose for their home was his first window into the East. Later, when the family moved to San Francisco, Harrison the teenager spent his nights at the opera. Not Puccini or Verdi — the Chinese opera. Eventually, you could hear Asia bubbling up in his music.

Suzanne Ciani Interviewed and Profiled

Source: The Guardian.

It might not seem so much of a stretch any more, but imagine spending your entire life in a tempestuous relationship with a machine. Not a sleek smartphone or tablet – we’ve seen how that can escalate in Spike Jonze’s Her. Instead picture a tapestry of tangled multicoloured wires, knobs and buttons, a bulky modular synthesizer otherwise known as the Buchla. Suzanne Ciani has spent much of her career testing the limits of one of these cumbersome instruments. So dedicated to its oscillating drones, burbles and bleeps did she become that has jokingly referred to the Buchla as “her boyfriend”. At times that affair was “traumatic”, she says now, down the phone from her studio in the Californian coastal enclave of Bolinas, sounding like both Marilyn Monroe and a Woodstock hippie. “Technology’s always very risky – you never know when it might break.”

George Crumb Profiled

Source: philly.com.

It’s a big week for music about paintings. In Philadelphia, Dirk Brossé and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia have been readying Brosse’s Pictures at an Exhibition for this weekend’s premiere. And at Washington’s National Gallery of Art last Sunday, veteran Philadelphia composer George Crumb listened from the audience to the premiere of his Metamorphoses Book I, a cycle of piano works based on his favorite paintings.

Crumb’s work crossed new boundaries. Performed for the Washington audience by keyboardist Margaret Leng Tan, Metamorphoses showed that the 87-year-old composer — long retired from the University of Pennsylvania and now living quietly in Media — still has the power to drive some listeners to premature exits. But mostly, his work had audience members too entranced to leave the East Building Auditorium when it was over. Even after extended clapping, they lingered.

Chris Pitsiokos Profiled

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

On any given night, at one of the many venues favored by New York City’s vibrant DIY experimental jazz scene, chances are good that firebrand saxophonist Chris Pitsiokos will be on stage, turning the room inside-out.

A tireless composer and improviser, Pitsiokos’s mushrooming catalog contains nods to both the bebop swing and the ’80s electric jazz of Ornette Coleman. There are also traces of John Zorn’s full-scale eclecticism, Peter Brötzmann’s gale-force heft, the nihilistic noise of Lydia Lunch, and The Flying Luttenbachers’ “brutal prog.” It’s no wonder the 20-something-year-old Pitsiokos has helped spearhead the nascent movement of fellow outliers shaping Brooklyn’s jazz underground.