“Resist!” could be the 21st-century motto of Handel’s serenata Aci, Galatea e Polifemo, a mythological story of steadfast love cleverly interpreted by the director Christopher Alden as a modern-day tale of bullying and manipulation. The staging, co-produced by countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, Cath Brittan, the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and National Sawdust, completes its brief run this week.
Halfway through his final season, and with Contact! returning for two chamber-music concerts at National Sawdust, New York Philharmonic music director Alan Gilbert talks at length about his association with new music as part of a broad mix of objectives he pursued, and offers glimpses of what his future might hold.
I feel like the artists that we have showcased, the voices are really singular. I think of trends as being “lets get on the bandwagon and do it this way,” and I just don’t think we’re attracted to artists like that. The trend, maybe, is that rules aren’t really required anymore.
A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke, released on ECM in March 2016, is the rare improvisational piece with a title that clues the listener into its inner workings. In this series of journeying duets, pianist Vijay Iyer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith seek out and magnify aspects of cosmic rhythm, one phrase (and, often, one patient single note) at a time.
“These years, I feel that part of my time left on earth is to be working in my art on something that you contemplate, that you’re not ever going to find the answer to” – Meredith Monk talks about her new album, On Behalf of Nature, in advance of a concert at National Sawdust in November.
Laraaji, the New Age musician and meditation guide who gained worldwide recognition after recording with Brian Eno, talks about his artistic and spiritual paths, the therapeutic power of laughter, and music of the eternal now.
Back when Paola Prestini was brainstorming what National Sawdust could be and do, she voiced the conviction that journalism and criticism are fundamental to the artistic ecosystem. Now, as our new journalistic initiative takes its first steps out into the world, we want to share the thinking behind this unconventional pursuit.