Claudia Quintet to play First Night

From the Boston Globe, the Claudia Quintet will play Boston’s First Night fest this week.

NEW YORK – When percussionist and composer John Hollenbeck, an eclectically minded veteran of the New York scene with a portfolio ranging from big band and klezmer to avant-garde “new music,’’ set out to form his own group, he didn’t necessarily expect to make something as unusual – nor as durable – as the Claudia Quintet.

Now nine years old and about to release its fourth CD, the quintet features a distinctive front line of clarinet, vibraphone, and accordion. Its distinctive sound and Hollenbeck’s ambitious yet accessible compositions have earned critical acclaim and fueled the emergence of Hollenbeck, 41, as a prominent composer, a Guggenheim fellowship recipient who is frequently solicited for adventurous new commissions.

JOHN HOLLENBECK’S CLAUDIA QUINTET
At: First Church in Boston, Thursday, sets at 9 p.m. and 10:15 p.m.
Information and First Night buttons at http://www.firstnight.org

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By Any Means brings chemistry and history to the Newport jazz festival

The Boston Globe reviews the supergroup By Any Means Necessary.

The trio of alto saxophonist Charles Gayle, bassist William Parker, and drummer Rashied Ali play with a potency and urgency that can make your hairs stand on end. They also just happened to have made one of the greatest albums in free jazz, a 1993 date called “Touchin’ on Trane,’’ a collection of tunes inspired by, rather than composed by, John Coltrane. (For contractual reasons, the album was released under the artists’ individual names rather than by By Any Means.) In 2008, more than 20 years after it formed, By Any Means finally released a proper album, a superb two-CD set called “Live at Crescendo’’ that was recorded at a club in Sweden.

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SICPP Review

From The Boston Globe:

How to generalize a 36-piece, eight-hour sweep? Much of the program seemed compositionally less concerned with advocating particular vocabularies (tonal/atonal) or concepts (minimalism/serialism) than with exploring the means of production, the various orthodox and unorthodox ways instruments can make noise. Results were often mobile-like, artfully arranged rather than intensely plotted. Flutist Ashley Addington and guitarist Mark Wilson deftly placed the stop-and-go Impressionism of Toru Takemitsu’s “Toward the Sea.’’ Karlheinz Stockhausen’s “Refrain’’ uses the decay of vibraphone, celesta, and piano (John Andress, Christopher Lim, and Stephen Olsen) to chart loose, ringing constellations. Lukas Foss’s “Ni bruit ni vitesse’’ explores the far reaches of two pianos – Lim and Leah Kosch at the keyboards, percussionists Victoria Aschheim and Masako Kunimoto working inside the instruments’ cases – and the combination of clanging, buzzing, and slow-rolling scales was mysterious and magical.

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A new music festival brings what Boston isn’t hearing

The Boston new music scene is profiled.

But there is a lot more new music under the sun – including an entire world of viscerally charged contemporary concert works that draw inspiration from improvised traditions, minimalism, popular or folk music. This other music doesn’t have a single name, but it’s clear that it’s not thriving here. Performances of works by Steve Reich, John Adams, Louis Andriessen, Magnes Lindberg – hugely prominent composers with international reputations – still take on the whiff of forbidden fruit. Osvaldo Golijov, a Boston-based composer whose music taps into world-music genres from tango to klezmer, has a far bigger profile nationally than he does in his own hometown. A minimalist landmark like Terry Riley‘s “In C” draws a crowd barely larger than the group of performers on stage. I have heard exactly one work by John Zorn performed here in almost three years. And if you want to hear anything by the legions of younger composers and performers inspired by the various downtown traditions, the pickings are extremely slim.

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New festival to showcase innovation in music

Stephen Drury and others will play in Colorado.

Three nationally and world-renowned musicians who are pushing the envelope of innovation in sounds and harmonies will headline the first Open Space Festival of New Music on the University of Northern Colorado campus next week.

Pianist Stephen Drury, composer Paul Rudy and bouzouki player Roger Landes will perform together and individually next Thursday and Friday between a series of lectures and presentations organized by UNC professors Paul Elwood and Sara Heimbecker.

Drury, the Boston Globe’s 1989 Musician of the Year, has performed or recorded with the American Composers Orchestra, the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Radio Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Boston Philharmonic, the Boston Pops, the Springfield (Mass.) and Portland (Maine) Symphony Orchestras and the Romanian National Symphony.

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At NEC, six hours of Stockhausen

Karlheinz Stockhausen at Old Billingsgate Mark...
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A recent Stockhausen performance is reviewed.

At just after 3 p.m. on a Sunday, Vic Rawlings begins to “play a rhythm in the vibration of his body.” He’s only following directions, those of the late German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, whose “Verbindung” (“Connection”) gives that instruction. What does it mean? Rawlings interprets it as a low guttural scrape across the tailpiece of an amplified cello.

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