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SICPP 2013!

In concerts, SICPP on June 14, 2013 at 12:16 pm


SICPP 2013 HAS ARRIVED!  We are thrilled to welcome BnG Composer-in-Residence Rand Steiger this summer at SICPP, as well as guest artist Winston Choi. Our evening concerts pack a punch this year — performances by Steve DruryYukiko TakagiWinston ChoiScott DealStuart Gerber,Corey HammAdrienne ArdittiJessie LaFargue, and yours truly, the Callithumpian Consort, Sunday eve through Friday eve. We end the week as usual: with the legendary SICPP Iditarod on Saturday, June 22, which runs from 4pm until whenever (last year it ended around 3am; this year may look to be a little more sane!).

In addition to the evening concerts, SICPP participants will perform solo repertoire in midday concerts at 11:30am on MondayWednesdayThursday, and Friday at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (280 The Fenway). Museum admission fee is waived if you tell them at the door that you are attending the SICPP concert in Calderwood Hall. The Gardner is closed on Tuesdays, so Tuesday’s midday concert will be in Williams Hall, and will feature the percussionists of SICPP.

All concerts are free, except for Thursday’s SICPP/GuitarFest at the Fenway Center.

Sunday, June 16 @ 8pm, Jordan Hall
Stephen Drury, piano; Elizabeth Keusch, soprano; Jessi Rosinski, flute
Charles Ives: Concord Sonata
Helmut Lachenmann: Got Lost

Monday, June 17 @ 8pm, Jordan Hall
Winston Choi, piano
Elliott Carter: Two Diversions
Hans Thomalla: Piano Counterpart
Jacques Lenot: Cités de la nuit; Ils traversent la nuit
Brian Ferneyhough: Lemma–Icon–Epigram
Conlon Nancarrow: Two Canons for Ursula

Tuesday, June 18 @ 8pm, Jordan Hall
Yukiko Takagi, piano, electronics, video; Stephen Drury, piano;
Scott Deal, Stuart Gerber, percussion; & members of the Callithumpian Consort

Johannes Kreidler: Klavierstück 5 für Klavier und 4-kanalige ZuspielungStudie für Klavier, Audio- und Videozuspielung
John Zorn: Camarón for piano and four percussion (from Aporias)
Franco Donatoni: Hot
Béla Bartók: Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion

Wednesday, June 19 @ 8pm, Jordan Hall
Corey Hamm, piano; & members of the Callithumpian Consort
Rand Steiger (composer-in-residence): RésonateurA Menacing Plume
Tristan Murail: La Barque Mystique
Dorothy Chang: Ephemera; Echoes; Toccatina (from Five)
György Ligeti: L’Arrache-Coeur
David Rakowski: Étude No. 8: Close Enough for Jazz
Noël Lee: Étude No. 5 in A Minor, Op. 70: Legatospielen
Dai Fujikura: Étude No. 1: Frozen Heat
Earle Brown: Available Forms I

Thursday, June 20 @ 5pm, Fenway Center
$10 gen. admission / FREE students, seniors, NEC & NEU alumni
SICPP/Boston GuitarFest: Redcoat Reversal, New Music 
Clarence Barlow: …Until…
Rand Steiger: A Good Diffused
Rebecca Saunders: Vermillion
Jonathan Harvey: Still
More information here.

Thursday, June 20 @ 8pm, Jordan Hall
Yukiko Takagi, Stephen Drury, Corey Hamm, piano;
Scott Deal, Stuart Gerber, percussion; Keith Hamel, Caroline Park, electronics;
Adrienne Arditti, soprano; Jessie LaFargue, dancer; Callithumpian Consort

Rand Steiger (composer-in-residence): A Good DiffusedWoven Serenade
Elainie Lillios: The Rush of the Brook Stills the Mind
Keith Hamel: Touch
Kaija Saariaho: Six Japanese Gardens
Caroline Park: Music For Phrases

Friday, June 21 @ 4pm, Pierce Hall
Electronic Workshop Concert
Fresh new works for fixed and live/interactive electronics
by the participants in SICPP’s 2013 Electronic Workshop.

Friday, June 21 @ 8pm, Brown Hall
Stuart Gerber, percussion; & members of the Callithumpian Consort
Mathias Spahlinger: música impura
Alan Sentman: Patchwork
Iannis Xenakis: RebondsOkho
Adam Roberts: Anakhtara
Ulrich Kreppein: Abendlich auf schattenbegleiteten wegen

Saturday, June 22 @ 4pm, Brown Hall
THE SICPP IDITAROD: music starts at 4pm, come and go as you please!
a 6-hr-plus marathon concert featuring performances by the Fellows of the Institute, including music by Morton Feldman, Earle Brown, Luciano Berio, Frederic Rzewski, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Rand Steiger, George Crumb, Scott Deal, Charles Ives, Roger Miller, Mathias Spahlinger, Steve Reich, and the composers of the SICPP New Works program.


Closing Notes on SICPP (+ photos!)

In reviews, SICPP on July 1, 2012 at 4:01 pm

11-hr Iditarod proof. Photo by Elaine Rombola.

Because, in the end, eleven hours wasn’t all that bad—the sheer bulk of time encouraging a get-comfortable attitude that made every piece feel a little more generous than it might on a regular concert… SICPP and its audience is, by definition, a like-minded bunch on at least a basic musical level. But, as in Cage’s music, and Wolff’s music, and the Iditarod itself, it’s the chaos of agreement that’s so much fun.” — Matthew Guerrieri

Many thanks to Matthew Guerrieri, who stayed for all 11+ hours of the Iditarod this year and wrote this heart-felt, lovely review on NewMusicBox, noting every piece from Cartridge Music (4:00 pm) to Concert for Piano and Orchestra with Aria (around 3:00 am).  Read the complete review here.

We began the week of concerts with an all-pianist fest on Sunday afternoon, June 17 in Jordan Hall: Christian Wolff’s Sonata (for three pianos), performed by Stephen Drury, Steffen Schleiermacher, and Yukiko Takagi, sandwiched by John Cage’s Winter Music, performed by Louis Goldstein, Joseph Kubera, and Schleiermacher, and Music of Changes, performed by Joseph Kubera — who, according to Boston Globe’s Matthew Guerrieri, “more than met the challenge”.  The full Globe review can be read here.

Monday evening’s program consisted of the world premiere of Christian Wolff’s Overture (performed by Callithumpian Consort), as well as Wolff’s Hay una mujer desaparecida (performed by Stephen Drury), Cage’s Concerto for Prepared Piano and Chamber Orchestra (with Yukiko Takagi on prepared piano), and Cage’s Music for Seventeen (performed by Callithumpian Consort).  Wolff’s Overture, comprised of smaller, intertwining subsets within a larger ensemble, culminated in the much larger picture of a greater aural collage: a refreshing angle, which some modernists may see as only separated, trite conversations.  In Cage’s Music for Seventeen (or for any number of players, up to 17), each performer has his / her own score and timer — very much like musicians in a Merce Cunningham performance — and performs on his / her own, as there is no universal score.  Callithumpian Consort, spatialized across the entire stage (with Stephen Drury and Yukiko Takagi bowing the pianos in large motions, Drury at stage left, Takagi at stage right), became a visual system: a fascinating and (depending on the individual) challenging experience to breathe in.  David Patterson of the Boston Musical Intelligencer noted Yukiko Takagi’s performance in the Concerto as “graceful” and “highly sensitized”, and that “…the silences as well as the sounds were perfectly — can I say, harmoniously — delivered seriatim.”

Tuesday’s concert, Cage’s String Quartet in Four Parts (performed by Gabriela Diaz, Ethan Wood, Karina Fox, and Benjamin Schwartz) and the complete Sonatas and Interludes (performed by the one and only Louis Goldstein), was clearly the melt-in-your-mouth program of the week.  Of the Quartet, Fred Bouchard of the Boston Musical Intelligencer writes that the performers were “equals in adept phrasing and observing Cage’s deft conceptual flow.”  Bouchard describes the Sonatas and Interludes as “Cage’s microcosm of eternity… As Goldstein gently unrolled and rerolled Cage’s universal scrolls, he stopped the clock, left us calmly ecstatic, with a transcendent glimpse into a quizzical afterlife.”  Read the complete review here.

Jessi Rosinski and Ethan Wood gave a terrific and thrilling performance of Nicholas Vines’s Obsidian Magnified on Wednesday evening, then followed by a well-framed, approximately 31 minutes of simultaneous Cage music played by champion performers Steffen Schleiermacher (31’57.9864″ for a pianist), Karina Fox (26’1.1499″ for a string player), and Scott Deal (27’10.554″ for a percussionist).  The program rounded off with the Callithumpian Consort performing Frederic Rzewski’s Coming Together / Attica: the first, a driving build-up of energy, followed by the much slower and calmer Attica, with David Prum and Paul Howe as the narrators conveying the spectrum of energy.

Steffen Schleiermacher gave an incredible solo piano recital of the New York and Darmstadt avant-garde in Jordan Hall on Thursday; if you missed it, you’d be lucky to have his CDs in your hands, full listings of which you can find here.  Earlier on Thursday was the SICPP / Boston GuitarFest concert at the Fenway Center, at which Jeremy Eichler of the Boston Globe noted the “unflappability” of the musicians, especially in Philip Glass’s Music in Fifths.  On Friday in Brown Hall was the anticipated (and delayed) world premiere of Alvin Lucier’s Braid, a beautifully-threaded piece with patterned layers of microtonal beatings, performed exquisitely by Callithumpian Consort.  The evening then shifted gears to an amazing, full staging of Christian Wolff’s The Exception and the Rule (play by Bertolt Brecht) with Jennifer Ashe, Brian Church, Paul Howe, David Prum, Wesley Ray Thomas, and Callithumpian, wrapping up the night.

Phew!  And then of course was the aforementioned, 11+hr Iditarod, with every piece mentioned in this stellar review by Matthew Guerrieri.  What a week.  Happy 100th, John!  The way we listen continues to change…

It was wonderful to have you as a part of this special week: the 2012 SICPPies, Christian Wolff, Stephen Drury, Louis Goldstein, Joseph Kubera, Steffen Schleiermacher, Tanya Blaich, Scott Deal, John Mallia, Yukiko Takagi, Nicholas Vines, Callithumpian Consort, Aaron Likness, Dave Tarantino, Michael Unterman, Ryan Krause, Corey Schreppel, Alex Hug, Perry Johnson, Marie von Kampen, Lisa Nigris, Aaron Dana, Bob Winters, Richard Feit, Ching Yeo, and finally, our very own wonderful program director, Elaine Rombola.  Thank you!

Photos can be found at the SICPP 2012 Flickr set, and we’re always looking for more — if you have some photos you’d like to share, feel free to send them on over to and we’ll put them up (and credit you, of course).

Signing off with Stephen Drury’s words: “Remember us in your wills, and enjoy the noise.”

until next time,

SICPP 2012 Begins!

In concerts, SICPP on June 15, 2012 at 12:32 pm

design by Aaron Dana (

It’s that time of year again, when SICPPies (pronounced: “sick puppies”) from all over congregate at the New England Conservatory for the annual SICK PUPPY festival: the Summer Institute of Contemporary Performance Practice.  This year we celebrate John Cage’s 100th birthday, feature world premieres by composer-in-residence Christian Wolff (as well as the rescheduled world premiere by Alvin Lucier), and immerse ourselves in an incredible amount of new music from every angle.

Join us, as we celebrate the Cage Centennial in 7 days of concerts, starting this Sunday afternoon (6/17) and ending with Saturday’s infamous Iditarod (6/23). In addition to the full-length, (mostly) evening concerts listed below, there will be lunchtime concerts throughout the week (Mon-Fri) in the Keller Room at New England Conservatory.

All concerts are free at the New England Conservatory of Music, with the exception of the SICPP/Boston GuitarFest concert on Thursday, June 21 at the Fenway Center.

Sunday, June 17 @ 3 pm
Joseph Kubera, Steffen Schleiermacher, Louis Goldstein, Stephen Drury
John Cage: Music of Changes
John Cage: Winter Music
Christian Wolff: Sonata (for three pianos)
JORDAN HALL at the New England Conservatory

Monday, June 18 @ 8 pm
Stephen Drury, Yukiko Takagi, Callithumpian Consort
Christian Wolff: Hay Una Mujer Desaparecida
John Cage: Concerto for Prepared Piano and Orchestra
John Cage: Music for Seventeen
Christian Wolff: Overture (world premiere)
JORDAN HALL at the New England Conservatory

Tuesday, June 19 @ 8 pm
Louis Goldstein, Callithumpian Consort
John Cage: Sonatas and Interludes
John Cage: String Quartet in Four Parts
JORDAN HALL at the New England Conservatory

Wednesday, June 20 @ 8 pm
Steffen Schleiermacher, Karina Fox, Scott Deal, David Prum, Callithumpian Consort
John Cage: 31’57.9864″ for a pianist
John Cage: 26’1.1499″ for a string player
John Cage: 27’10.544″ for a percussionist
Frederic Rzewski: Coming Together/Attica
Nicholas Vines: Obsidian Magnified
JORDAN HALL at the New England Conservatory

Thursday, June 21 @ 5 pm
SICPP/Boston GuitarFest: NachBach
Jonathan Godfrey: Sonatina for solo guitar
J.S. Bach: Contrapunctus XIV (unfinished) from Die Kunst der Fuge
Elliot Carter: Shard
Alvin Lucier: Canon
Philip Glass: Music in Fifths
Fenway Center at Northeastern University
Ticketing information and directions here.

Thursday, June 21 @ 8 pm
Steffen Schleiermacher: The Early 50’s: New York + Darmstadt
Christian Wolff: For Piano I (1952)
Bernd Alois Zimmerman: Exerzitien (1951-53)
John Cage: Music for Piano #4-#19 (1952)
Hans Ulrich Engelmann: Suite I op. 7 (1950)
Morton Feldman: Extension 3 (1953)
Karlheinz Stockhausen: Klavierstück VII + VIII (1954/55)
Earle Brown: Folio (1952/53)
Olivier Messian: Cantéyodjâya (1948)
JORDAN HALL at the New England Conservatory

Friday, June 22 @ 8 pm
David Prum, Paul Howe, Brian Church, Jen Ashe, Callithumpian Consort
Christian Wolff: The Exception and the Rule (fully staged)
Alvin Lucier: Braid (world premiere)
BROWN HALL at the New England Conservatory

Saturday, June 23 @ 4 pm
The SICPP Iditarod: beginning at 4 pm and going until whenever.
A six-hour-plus marathon concert featuring performances by the Fellows of the Institute;
highlights will include music by Christian Wolff and John Cage, Steve Reich’s Drumming,
2010 SICPP Fellow Mark Poliks’s tress/burl ( a Callithumpian/SICPP commission),
new works by the SICPP 2012 Composition Fellows, and music by
Morton Feldman, Linda Dusman, John Zorn, Lee Hyla, Luciano Berio, and George Crumb.
BROWN HALL at the New England Conservatory

see you there,

Sick Puppy, 2011

In concerts, SICPP, upcoming on June 9, 2011 at 2:50 am

© 2011 Aaron Dana (

Yes, we will have T-shirts (original graphic by Aaron Dana) to purchase at this year’s SICPP festival, which is happening soon: June 18 – 25 at the New England Conservatory in Boston.  SICPP (also known as “Sick Puppy”) is an intensive performance seminar on music of the 20th & 21st centuries for advanced instrumentalists, vocalists, and young composers.  It’s a full schedule: 8 days of master classes, lessons, back-to-back rehearsals and concerts — invaluable for anyone interested in the newest music and ready to tackle the challenges of this special repertoire under a faculty uniquely experienced in learning, performing, and teaching this music.  In many cases our SICPP faculty have worked directly with the composers themselves — Cage, Reich, Wolff, Czernowin and more — and can impart first-hand information about the music.

A few things to note: this year we welcome our 2011 composer-in-residence, Tristan Murail, who has written Callithumpian Consort a new work, Lachrymae, for string quartet, bass, and flute, which will be premiered during the festival.  We also welcome guest artist, pianist Ursula Oppens, who will be giving a solo concert of Corigliano, Rzewski, and Wuorinen as part of the SICPP festivities, as well as coaching our pianists on a variety of repertoire.  Another exciting bit of news: during SICPP, Stephen Drury and Scott Deal will premiere John Luther Adams‘s Four Thousand Holes, a work commissioned by Drury, which was recently released on Cold Blue Records, selected by Alex Ross as one of his top CD picks, and which received a stellar review from Textura.  And finally, a new Callithumpian-commissioned work, Counterfactual by Joshua Fineberg, will be receiving its second performance after a successful Spectral Summer concert at Boston University last weekend.

A full bill this year!  Lots of exciting things to look forward to.  Check out our concert listing, now up on our website, or visit the NEC calendar events page.  You can find detailed program information on both sites, and you can follow us on Twitter or “like” us on our brand new Facebook page for the latest.

More soon — SICPP countdown starts now!

until next time,