Heavenly rhetoric: Oracle Hysterical meets New Vintage Baroque.

The Passionate Pilgrim, a new collaboration between composer-performer collective Oracle Hysterical and period-instruments ensemble New Vintage Baroque, is a fascinating Baroque-pop song cycle based on mostly debunked Shakespeare, coming soon on VIA Records and at National Sawdust January 21.


The Nels Cline Singers, Alex Cline Ensemble, Steve Lacy Trio, Craig Taborn, Mark Dresser Seven, and other stirring sounds playing lately at Night After Night HQ.

Here be Kate Soper.

Kate Soper, a composer, vocalist, and core member of the composer/performer collective Wet Ink, has announced the New York City debut of her newest music-theater piece, IPSA DIXIT, coming to Dixon Place February 3 and 4.

Linda Catlin Smith and other timbres from Canada.

A recording of Dirt Road, a gorgeous, austere 70-minute, 15-movement work by the Canadian composer Linda Catlin Smith on the label Another Timbre, landed on my year-end Best of 2016: Noteworthy Recordings list. Now, welcome news: In February 2017, Another Timbre will launch a Canadian Composers Series with a two-disc collection of works by Smith and four further volumes.

On the nature of rabbit holes.

You’re reflecting on musicians whose work you’ve long admired… say, for instance, Nels and Alex Cline, who you just heard performing a week ago with Yuka C. Honda, and whose recordings you’ve been listening to in the days since. You remember you first became aware of them because the college radio station where you once worked got a few generous packages of albums from a California label called Nine Winds, including records that featured the Brothers Cline…


Jaap van Zweden, Skylark Quartet, Eve Risser White Desert Orchestra, Karel Husa, Rudy Royston Trio, and other stirring sounds playing lately at Night After Night HQ.

Best of 2016: Noteworthy Recordings

Trying to tally the year’s “best” recordings is a thankless task, not least because there’s no realistic chance anyone has heard everything.… every listener’s taste is individual, and focus can be contingent upon situation. All of which said, the following lists comprise the new recordings and archival projects that impressed and moved me most in 2016, with an appendix of still more albums that brightened this year.

Best of 2016: 10 Memorable Musical Events

For anyone expecting a painstakingly winnowed-down, tightly focused tabulation of the most significant events to take place in the musical world circa 2016: I apologize, but you’ll have to look elsewhere. Even so, it’s not at all difficult to name 10 meaningful and affecting musical performances I witnessed this year.

Best of 2016: In Praise of National Sawdust

For all the manifold benefits that come with being a music journalist and critic embedded at a performing-arts incubator and presenter – and they are substantial – one meaningful constraint is that it feels inappropriate now to include my employer’s projects and products among my year-end best-of listings. What follows is a concise tally of NS-related events and releases that under other circumstances absolutely would have figured into my own personal summaries of the year’s most vital art.

Reinier Van Houdt, doing what he likes.

The Dec. 2 print edition of the Boston Globe includes a terrific profile of the Dutch pianist Reinier Van Houdt, who has just released a new 3CD set of Michael Pisaro’s music and will perform in Boston, New York, and Minneapolis.