In Review: Mass MoCA’s Solid Sound Festival Keeps Fans Headed for the Hills With Music, Art and Community

The idea of a communal gathering has been branded and monetized, while the term “experiential” more often than not refers to a successful interaction an attendee might have with a branding or sponsorship presence at any given festival. MASS MoCA has proven an ideal environment for Wilco to curb this trend and create a small utopia every other year because they share the same belief that thinking as a fan first reaps a holistic engagement and interaction all its own.


Donnacha Dennehy, Julia Holter, Trio S, Gabriel Kahane, Jen Shyu, Dead & Company, and other striking sounds heard lately at Night After Night HQ.

Jen Shyu: Telling Personal Stories in Global Dialects

Nine Doors, a full length, multilingual, ritual music drama by Jen Shyu, came about as the result of a self-issued artistic challenge. “I wanted to write for as big a group as I could,” Shyu says, “and then distill it down to a solo.” The new project will have its premiere on June 29 in two concerts at National Sawdust, co-presented with World Music Institute and in association with Asia Society.


Omar Souleyman, King Crimson, Miles Davis, Marc Barreca, Pep Llopis, Michele Mercure, and other striking sounds heard lately at Night After Night HQ.

Robert Paterson and David Cote: Can Opera Handle Sexbots and Swinger Parties?

Composer Robert Paterson and librettist David Cote’s Three Way is, generally speaking, about sex. Or, to be precise: sex with an android, power games between a dominatrix and her piggish client, and erotic confusion among four couples in masks and robes at a suburban swinger party. In advance of their BAM engagement, we invited Paterson and Cote to interview one another about how and why they wrote such a charming opera with such a naughty title.

#HearAllComposers: Straining Our Ears, Amplifying Our Voices

I’ve been writing music criticism since I graduated college in 2012, but about a year ago I made the decision only to review concerts with at least one woman (or trans or nonbinary) composer on the program. I was tired of attending concerts featuring exclusively the music of white men, and tired of frantically sifting through concert season announcements that came in the mail, only to find a single token white woman amidst a sea of white men. People around me were perplexed.

Ian Rosenbaum: Inviting Composers to Play in the Percussionists’ Sandbox

“Our mission, our goal as an ensemble, is to play percussion music that we feel is as good as any other chamber music for any other instruments that is being written now, and get it in front of people who have never heard it before,” Ian Rosenbaum declares of Sandbox Percussion, the esteemed quartet of which he’s a member. The group appears at National Sawdust on June 7, playing works by Christopher Cerrone and Timo Andres.


Exaudi Vocal Ensemble, Jason Moran, Kate Carr, Roger Waters, Providence Research Ensemble, Bobby Previte, and other striking sounds heard lately at Night After Night HQ.