I read in the New Music Box this week that Lukas Ligeti received the 2010 Alpert Award in the Arts. Way to go Lukas! Really incredible. Visit their site to see the other artists that were named fellows.
A couple months ago Ben Davis from Cuddlemagic contacted me about opening for their show at the House of Yes coming up this Friday. He then also asked me to join in on a few of their songs that they are currently recording and releasing soon. Not knowing much about the group at all, I said yes and was pleasantly surprised when we started working together. One thing I felt I related to them immediately was their play with rhythm and meters. I decided to contribute on toy piano, music box and also handbells.
Cuddlemagic is a Brooklyn and Philly-based group. They’ve been on tour for a couple of weeks now and is making their second to last appearance this Friday at the House of Yes. The Dustbusters will also be playing, a Brooklyn-based folk/roots music group. I hear that there will be a contra-dance following!
I received an email from Random Access Music for a call-for-proposals to new music ensembles and individual artists. As a Queens-based musician, I was excited to see an organized effort to bring new music to Queens. Sadly people seem to be reluctant to do things in Queens, but the series will take place at the Secret Theatre in Long Island City right near the PS1 Moma. I hope that Random Access Music will get some fresh musicians involved. To find out more about what they are looking for, how to apply and about RAM, please visit their website.
I decided to make a mini-tour through Europe after being invited to the 2010 Approximation Festival , a five day piano festival in Dusseldorf. For over a year ago, I had been in email contact with a Hamburg-based pianist Thies Mynther about various creative projects. He found out about my work through Coraline and told me about some of his theatrical pieces using prepared piano. I couldn’t believe that there was actually someone else out there doing something so similar to Coraline. He then wrote a really quirky piece for toy piano and electronics (which I regret that I didn’t play in Dusseldorf.) Just a few months ago, we decided to finally meet in person and he invited me to Dusseldorf to perform with his duo, Phantom/Ghost at the Approximation Festival hosted by Volker Bertlemann (aka Hauschka).
The line-up was filled with interesting musicians–the first night I saw Rachel Grimes (US) and Aki Takase (Berlin/Japan), followed by Barbara Morgenstern (Berlin) and Kathy Supove (NY) the next night. Already it proved to be a unique keyboard festival allowing a large range of keyboard players with different backgrounds and styles to do what they do. I came a couple days early to work on a few songs with Phantom/Ghost. Thies (piano) and Derek (vocals) played their own set, then I joined them for three songs (including Theatre is Fun from Coraline) and played my own solo set. It was great to share a stage with Phantom/Ghost. They write great songs and have a distinctive sound to their style. The experience made me realize that most of the musical endeavors I have are either completely written music or completely unwritten music. My short period of time with Phantom/Ghost was unusual because it was a collaboration that existed in that gray area in between.
If you are unfamiliar with Hauschka’s music, I recommend listening some of his tracks for piano. I learned on this trip that his music has evolved quite a bit in the last 20 years. It is interesting to ponder the range of his musical background and to know him as a keyboard player now. His solo piano shows often come through New York City and he has recently just released a new record. He is definitely someone to listen to (or meet up close) because aside from his music, he is a gem of a person too.
I will be giving a short in-store performance at Permanent Records (181 Franklin, Greenpoint) tonight at 7PM. It is in celebration of my new mini-CD Mesmers that features all original works for toy piano, bowls, music boxes and electronics. The whole album is only 20 minutes, so it should be short and sweet. Since it’s an in-store performance, my set will be stripped down a bit and I’m looking forward to even more exaggerated miniature set-up that I will be using. Hope to see some of you there!