French conductor Ludovic Morlot's appointment as music director of the Seattle Symphony is one of the most exciting in the world of classical music. The 38-year-old Morlot has ideas—lots of them—from expanding repertoire to building 21st audiences for live music. He talks with T+L in this, his first season in Seattle, which began in fall 2011 and included throwing out the first pitch at a Seattle Mariners baseball game. (For more on Seattle, see "Seattle State of Mind" by Gary Shteyngart in the March 2011 issue of Travel + Leisure).
The San Francisco Symphony, with Michael Tilson Thomas its music director, has been celebrating its centennial throughout the 2011-12 season in a special, generous, and, for music-lovers, innovative fashion: first, it invited six of the leading U.S. orchestras to perform before San Francisco audiences, and, now this week (March 27-30) in New York's Carnegie Hall, the SFS brings a festival entitled American Mavericks, which features the music of pioneers of the ever evolving American sound from the 20th and young 21st century: Charles Ives to Meredith Monk, Aaron Copland to Steve Reich, Aaron Copland to John Adams. Among four premieres is Mass Transmission by 35-year-old composer Mason Bates. T+L talks with Bates about the score, which features electronics, the sonic possibilities of which he has become expert, both as a composer and as DJ Masonic, his alter-ego. See the interview after the jump.
Savannah is one of those mysterious places that I imagined coming to life in the dusty pages of antiquarian books. Other than what I saw in Clint Eastwood’s colorful depiction of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and some Civil War trivia, I didn’t know much about it. So when the opportunity arose to check out a new music festival, Savannah Stopover, I jumped at the chance to experience the Southern legend firsthand.
Nick Bertke is commonly known as Pogo, the Internet sensation whose music videos have garnered a cult following worldwide. He was born in South Africa, raised in New Zealand, and now lives in Australia. As a teenager, he began taking film clips from Disney movies, spliced their sound bites into distinct melodies, and then posted the remixed product onto YouTube. At first they were taken down from the website, presumably for copyright infringement, but with their viral popularity, he was soon commissioned by Disney to make them for the company.
Now, at age 23, and after a few international tours, he is traversing the globe to work on a more personal project, called World Remix. Using film shot by his own team, he is showing us his travels with an ear for its sounds and an eye for its sights. I had the opportunity to talk with Nick about this unique career.
roots rock veterans the Gourds are no strangers to the road. For seventeen
years they’ve toured the U.S. and abroad with their sweet and spicy brand of
southern country-blues-rock. With a new record out, Old Mad Joy,
and a whopping nine other studio albums under their belt, the band shows no
signs of slowing down. The Old Mad Joy tour takes the Texans
from San Francisco to Philadelphia and dozens of towns in between. Frontman
Kevin “Shinyribs” Russell calls the live show “kind of a cross between a
revival, a house party, a pep rally and a pow wow.” We connected with the guys
to ask about their time on tour and tips for would-be road warriors.
Q: You hail from Austin, which has been an indie hotbed for
some time now (here’s looking at you, SXSW). Have you noticed a shift in the
city’s music scene over the course of your careers?
the scene has been constantly changing for decades now. The biggest change has
come from the economic boom of the last 15 years; dot com bubble/high tech
expansion and real estate bubble. Also the focus of the city on encouraging
downtown residential occupancy and a ridiculous sound ordinance has transformed
live music into a migratory population in search of affordable leases and
appropriate neighborhoods. The musicians and service workers sort of gravitate
nearer to these places. So, lots of them are now in east Austin. The styles
have become much more diverse and the talent level much more exceptional.
Anne Manson, widely admired as a conductor of operatic repertoire that ranges from the Baroque to Philip Glass, leads the cast and orchestra of the Juilliard School in New York in the American premiere of “Kommilitonen!” She speaks to T+L about the unusual work, commissioned jointly by the Royal Academy of Music in London and Julliard.
Q: Peter Maxwell Davies, 77-years-old and considered the dean of British composers (he also holds the royal appointment as Master of the Queen’s music), wrote the score and David Pountney provided the libretto and has staged the work in London and now in New York. What is the work about?
A: It is about students, facing crucial issues at turning points in history: the black student James Meredith who in 1962 fought racial prejudice to enroll in the segregated University of Mississippi; a brother and sister in Munich who joined the White Rose resistance movement in Nazi Germany; and two Chinese students, who swept up in the Cultural Revolution, are compelled to denounce their parents. “Kommilitonen” is German for “fellow students,” by the way.
Last June, American contemporary-classical composer Nico Muhly, who is barely 30, electrified London audiences with the world premiere of his genre-busting opera Two Boys. That work, a disturbing detective story set in a world of sinister Internet chat rooms, comes to the Metropolitan Opera in 2013. But New York City is getting a chance to sample Muhly’s iconoclastic gifts, with his equally unconventional second opera, Dark Sisters, which currently has its premiere production by the Gotham Chamber Opera (through November 19). Dark Sisters moves next summer to the Opera Company of Philadelphia (June 8-18).
The new piece, which has a libretto by playwright Stephen Karam, follows one woman’s desperate attempts to escape from a polygamist Mormon sect. Fifty Nine Productions, the lighting and projections team responsible for integrating dramatic moving images into the Two Boys staging, creates images that range from stark landscapes of the American southwest to the re-creation of a sensational television news show, studio and telecast feed, side-by-side.
Recently, ukelele crossover star Jake Shimabukuro showed T+L around his hometown of Honolulu. Now, he lands on our turf to perform tracks from his latest album “Peace Love Ukelele” this Tuesday, November 15 at the Highline Ballroom in New York City. 212/414-5994. Don't miss his sweet rendition of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody."
Cousins of Afrobeat pioneer, Fela Kuti, The Lijadu Sisters have rhythm in their veins. Twins Taiwo and Kehinde emerged as the primary female voices of Nigeria in the ‘70s, writing and performing their own music and bringing women into the foreground of a largely male-dominated scene. Their 1976 LP Danger is being rereleased this week by Knitting Factory Records, the first of a four-album reissue that will unearth the out-of-print tracks and dust them off for a new generation of music lovers.