Last night I went to see fellow ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble) musicians perform the first of a series of concerts called On and Off the Page with the venerable Christian Wolff at Issue Project Room. I am so happy that ICE has launched such a great project along with the many other things ICE does. According to our website, On and Off the Page “is a series illuminating music that breaks down the barriers between written and improvised music.” As a musician that has been improvising and composing more and more, I am excited to see an organized effort to bring attention to this dynamic area of making live performance. What’s odd is that improvisation has been a big part of music-making for centuries but classical music has somehow evolved to be a genre that is extremely focused on “the printed page.” Many of the canonic classical composers (Bach, Mozart) were all improvisers/performers/composers. ..not to mention the invited improvisatory nature of a lot of Renaissance music that existed even before them. Somehow, through the years, we have become so specialized that the idea of branching out to other roles of music-making is new again to our generation. I have high hopes for my ICE buddies on this series! The next concert will be on March 16th at Le Poisson Rouge.