Entries by Steve Smith

Album review: David Lang, thorn

For all that his large-scale works have commanded the spotlight over the last decade or so, David Lang initially burst into the public eye and ear with pithy, concise, and clever chamber works… On ‘thorn,’ an appealing new CD by flutist Molly Barth, Lang’s puckish instrumental miniatures assume center stage.

Playlist.

Igor Levit, Aaron Dilloway, Zeal & Ardor, Vanessa Rossetto, Kara-Lis Coverdale, Félicia Atkinson, Daniel Corral, and other striking sounds heard lately at Night After Night HQ.

Album Review: Vanessa Rossetto, erased de kooning + rocinante

Everything that’s erased leaves its trace of its passage behind: a point as familiar to the manuscript recyclers of antiquity to modern-day digital data-recovery sleuths. Deletion rarely amounts to a positive thing, but on ‘erased de kooning,’ one of two recent recordings by Vanessa Rossetto, an act of bulk erasure results in an absorbing new piece surprisingly rich in ghostly associations.

Tristan Perich and Christopher Tignor: Intuitive Processes

Though it’s not exactly a case of “opposites attract,” those who know the music of composer-performers Tristan Perich and Christopher Tignor might not automatically pair the two creators despite a shared association with electroacoustic music and technical ingenuity. Yet in a recent interview in advance of their joint appearance at National Sawdust on May 5, they discovered a healthy amount of overlap in their working methods and philosophies.

In Review: Philip Glass, A Madrigal Opera

How do you invite an audience into an opera that has no characters to relate to, no story to follow? The inventive director RB Schlather, mounting A Madrigal Opera as the final entry in his engaging, productive National Sawdust residency, approached that challenge in an artfully literal-minded way, mingling members of the stellar vocal ensemble Choral Chameleon among the audience and engulfing them all within an elegantly simple, smartly realized common frame of reference.

Playlist.

The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Mark McGuire, Leyland Kirby, Marco Fusi, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Alex Mincek, and other striking sounds heard lately at Night After Night HQ.

Du Yun: The Pulitzer Prize, MATA, and Fostering Diversity

Du Yun was chilling out in a Dubai bar after a long day of networking at Culture Summit 2017, when her phone suddenly went berserk. From one friend or colleague after another came the same message: The Chinese-born American composer had just been awarded the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Music for Angel’s Bone, her challenging, provocative, and stylistically groundbreaking opera. By phone from Shanghai, she spoke about the experience.

Zachary Woolfe: Curating Cultural Experiences in the Digital Domain

Zachary Woolfe started attracting attention immediately when he came to The New York Times as a freelance classical-music reviewer in 2010, having written stylishly and persuasively already for numerous publications and outlets in New York City and elsewhere. In March 2015 the Times named Woolfe its classical music editor, even as the paper was undergoing one of the most penetrating periods of self-evaluation in its history: the so-called 2020 Group, tasked with re-imagining the way this venerable institution envisioned and engaged its mission during a time of seismic change and financial straits throughout the entire media industry. In a recent interview at The New York Times offices, Woolfe addressed those changes, large and small, during an exceedingly generous and wide-ranging conversation.