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OPEN FOR’m: Chaya Czernowin

In Uncategorized on October 28, 2013 at 9:23 am
“What I try to do is to create a strong experience which is almost kinesthetic… through your ears, you can actually smell, you can see, you can really come into touch with something that is not a melody or a harmony or a counterpoint. More than that, it is almost like a living organism… not an organism that we already know — it’s not something that you already have a drawer for. It is something that is a holistic entity, it has its own kind of way of existing in the universe. It is completely new.”
— Chaya Czernowin, composer

OPEN FOR’m: Chaya Czernowin
Tuesday, Oct 29th, 2013
7:00 PM in Brown Hall at New England Conservatory
OPEN FOR’m is an immersion, an encounter, a multi-dimensional experience. The Callithumpian Consort focuses on a single piece of music in a free-form event made of equal parts teach-in, demonstration, discussion, open rehearsal, Q and A session, pre-concert lecture, and post-concert reception. Sit next to and among the performers; experience the music, its history, challenges and beauties from inside the group!
Tonight’s concert is an encounter with the music of Chaya Czernowin (Walter Bigelow Rosen Professor of Music, Harvard University), that will continue at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on Thursday (10/31) with the premiere of Czernowin’s new work, Slow Summer Stay III: Upstream. The piece was commissioned by the Callithumpian Consort and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, with generous assistance from the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation.
We would love to see you on Tuesday, October 29th at our OPEN FOR’m in Brown Hall at the New England Conservatory — and please join us on Thursday, October 31st at the Gardner Museum for the premiere.  Click here to read a glowing preview article in the Boston Globe.
For $5 student tickets at the Gardner, please call the Box Office at 617.278.5156 (Wed-Mon, 10a-4p).

Above photo of Chaya Czernowin: Astrid Ackermann/Schott Promotion



In Uncategorized on June 23, 2012 at 10:51 am

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for!  (time flies when you’re celebrating the Cage Centennial)  After a week of incredible evening concerts, inspiring masterclasses and colloquia, and probably more rehearsals than one typically juggles in a performance season, we end our time at SICPP this year in a 6hr+ marathon in Brown Hall (and by 6, we really mean something like 8).

The detailed program is listed below, and includes works by our 2012 Composition Fellows, Reich’s DRUMMING, Cage, Wolff, the 2012 Electronic Workshop, and much more, with an on-going installation happening in Room 124 in the Jordan Hall building.  Come and go as you please … !  And feel free to stay for all of it.  Final countdown begins now!

CAGE Cartridge Music
WOLFF Pieces for Julius
Electronic Workshop group collaboration piece
Nick Vines Les Effaceurs (2010-2011) for solo guitar ~ II. Bambenga, III. Safari
CAGE A Book of Music
Simon Hanes, I Reckon
Ariane Miyasaki, The House My Grandfather Built

FELDMAN False Relationships and the Extended Ending
D. Edward Davis, deer
WOLFF Tilbury
Scott Scharf, clairaudience
DUSMAN Magnificat I
WOLFF Berlin Exercises

WOLFF Sonata
REICH Drumming

CAGE she is asleep
CRUMB Makrokosmos III Music for a Summer Evening (I, III, V)
Ryan Krause, Current Affairs
Alex Pozniak, Tower of Erosion
CAGE forever&sunsmell
Marek Poliks, tress/burl

Seunghee Lee, Nostromo
WOLFF Exercises
Sid Richardson, Synergie
ZORN amour fou
CRUMB Madrigals book IV
Jason Huffman, Ear, Nose & Throat
Haley Shaw, Diva
CAGE Experiences I

Daniel Lewis, Things Were Heightened
CRUMB Vox Balanae
HYLA House of Flowers
Kevin Church, …Poetically, Man Dwells…
CAGE string quartet

Robert Wolk, Petrichor Will Pass Fireflies Virga by Blue Summer, a Nocturne
Benjamin Irwin, Strange Alchemy
ZORN music for children
CAGE Concert with Aria

Kicking Off: Murail, Reich, Liang

In Uncategorized on September 9, 2011 at 11:15 am

(photo of Tristan Murail by E. Schneider)

Happy September!  We’re off to a hefty start this season, kicking off with Tristan Murail‘s Le Lac, Steve Reich‘s Sextet, and Lei Liang‘s Aural Hypothesis on Wednesday, September 14th in Jordan Hall.

This past summer, we were thrilled to have French composer Tristan Murail in residence here in Boston at our annual Sick Puppy (SICPP: Summer Institute of Contemporary Performance Practice) festival, where we performed a large array of his music, including the world premiere of Lachrymae (2011) as well as our first performance of Le Lac (2001).  Murail describes this work (scored for an ensemble of 19) as being inspired by the emergent and ephemeral layers he experienced at a lake to the north of New York City.  “Every day, every hour, the lake has a different light, a new mood. It is ever present but ever changing, reflecting and magnifying the incessant movement of the seasons and climates.” (

Steve Reich‘s Sextet (1985) is written for percussion and keyboards: a shifting exploration of melody and harmony, at times revealing itself as foreground, then melting into the background (and back again).  Without a doubt, Sextet is a work of utmost focus, with its cyclic weaving of rhythm and patterns lasting just under half an hour.

Chinese-born American composer Lei Liang brings us Aural Hypothesis (2010), scored for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and vibraphone.  In the approximately eleven minutes that elapse, quiet and intimate sounds suddenly rush into a saturated storm, making its exit with glissandi and staccati carving and punctuating an elusive sonic texture.  A beautiful work, not to be missed live.

These three works — Le Lac, Sextet, and Aural Hypothesis — are guaranteed to blow you away into new musical worlds.  What better way to start the season?  Come join us on Wednesday, September 14th at 8pm in Jordan Hall and share this experience with us.

— your friendly webbottress.

Dare and Irreverence Review

In Uncategorized on January 15, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Callithumpian performing Earle Brown's Novara

Happy 2011!  Hope everyone has been staying warm and avoiding blizzards!

Just a brief post to say that our Flickr page has been updated with photos from our past December concert.  We had a marvelous review in the Boston Musical Intelligencer, which you may read in full here.  We performed Morton Feldman’s Viola In My Life (I), to which Intelligencer’s Dominique noted “…the ensemble nobly proceeded as if in a silent hall, and solo violist Sarah Darling’s performance was focused, nuanced and arresting.”  And regarding Earle Brown’s Novara: “…savage stabs of dissonance were employed deftly by Drury to cut through softly sustained static harmonies. Eventually, a nostalgic piano refrain, which began the piece, was tastefully revisited by pianist Elaine Rombola, fostering a satisfying completeness. By the end of this adventure, it seemed there was a smile on every face in the hall, from house to stage.”  Read more of this review.

Coming up: Stephen Drury performs a solo recital in Jordan Hall this Tuesday, January 18th.  The program will be Ives’s Concord Sonata (with flutist Fenwick Smith), Schumann’s Davidsbundlertanze, and Christian Wolff’s Hay Una Mujer Desaparecida (after Holly Near). Tuesday at 8pm, free admission.

–more soon, from your friendly

More Feldman!

In Uncategorized on December 5, 2010 at 10:13 pm
First Monday with Feldman

First Monday Series, 12.06.10 at 8pm.

Did violist Sarah Darling whet your appetite for more Feldman last Friday with her incredible sensitivity?  Fear not — Morton Feldman‘s The Viola in My Life, parts 2 and 3, will be performed tomorrow, December 6th at 8pm in Jordan Hall on the First Monday Series at the New England Conservatory.  The performance will feature violist Kim Kashkashian and pianist Stephen Drury, both on faculty at NEC, with NEC alumni Ethan Wood, Cheng-Hou Lee, Jessi Rosinski, Alexis Lanz, and Jeffrey Means.  Free admission!

Thanks again to everyone who came to Feldman/Brown/Diesendruck/Zaccagnini!  Here’s the listing of the fantastic personnel for that evening: Sarah Darling, Lisa Husseini, Ethan Wood, Ben Schwartz, Jeffrey Means, Elaine Rombola, Yukiko Takagi, Alexis Lanz, John Russell, Gabriela Diaz, Martha Long, Mary Cicconetti, Roslyn Black, Nicholas Tolle, Andre Sonner, Michael Unterman, Daniel Lim, David Goodchild, and Kathy Schulmeister.  Congrats to all on a great concert!  Pictures will be up on the Flickr shortly.

Again, tomorrow’s Jordan Hall concert includes parts 2 and 3 of The Viola in My Life — a musical opportunity not to be missed!

–more soon, from your friendly webbottress.

Feldman, Brown, Diesendruck, Zaccagnini

In Uncategorized on December 2, 2010 at 1:17 am

We’re kicking off December in good taste!  This Friday, December 3rd at 8pm, we’ll be playing works by four different composers: The Viola in My Life 1 by Morton Feldman, Novara by Earle Brown, Second by Michele Zaccagnini, and Still Telling by Tamar Diesendruck.  Diesendruck is currently on composition faculty at Thornton School of Music (USC), and has received the Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Ives Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and commissions from the Koussevitzky and Fromm Foundations, to name just a few of her accolades.  Her works include experimental pieces such as 8 ——>∞ for eight cellos (“eight tends toward infinity”), as well “as unusually slow, stark music, the grief that does not speak.” (USC).  We’re thrilled to be giving the world premiere of her work, Still Telling, written expressly for the Consort.  Read more about Tamar Diesendruck here.

We’ll be performing the first movement of Morton Feldman‘s The Viola in My Life 1; movements 2 and 3 will be performed the following Monday, December 6th in Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory as part of the First Monday series, with Kim Kashkashian, viola, and Stephen Drury on piano and celesta.

Here’s a sneak peak of Earle Brown’s Novara for 8 instruments — live footage caught in rehearsal!

Earle Brown - Novara

Callithumpian Consort rehearse Earle Brown's "Novara" at NEC

See you this Friday, Dec. 3rd at 8:00pm in Brown Hall at New England Conservatory.  Admission is free.

— more soon, from your friendly webbottress.

Boulez Reviews!

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2010 at 2:21 pm
Callithumpian performs Boulez

Callithumpian performs Boulez at Seully Hall

Congrats to our ‘Thumpers, and many thanks to all who came to experience Boulez first-hand at Boston Conservatory!  From The Faster Times, Matthew Guerrieri writes, “If there’s an ensemble better suited to this sort of thing than the Callithumpian Consort, I don’t know of it—given the kind of Moore’s-Law-esque acceleration in musical training, there’s doubtless far more musicians able to navigate Boulez’s tangles than when it was written, but the Consort (reflecting the predilictions of its director, pianist Stephen Drury) combines that ability with a devil-may-care, caution-to-the-wind flair. So this Le marteau—conducted by Jeffrey Means—was not only technically secure, but confident enough that Boulez’s touches of timbral character and narrative came to the fore…”

And more from Guerrieri: “Soprano Jennifer Ashe sang all three works on the program, a feat for which tour de force seems strangely inadequate. Ashe’s voice, silvery and fine-spun, was lithe and lucid from top to sometimes wickedly deep chest-voice bottom, with enough clarity to delineate the precipitous lines and carry them through often busy instrumental traffic. To simply make it through such a trio of scores on one program is testament enough to skill and technique; to do so with style, the illusion of ease, and an intelligent interpretive point of view is kind of mind-boggling. Those wild, leaping, coursing, uncompromising lines have rarely sounded so good.”  Read the entire review here.

From the Boston Globe, Harlow Robinson writes: “…“Séquence’’ (1955), the lone Barraqué piece performed with gusto on Thursday by the intensely focused members of the Callithumpian Consort and new music diva soprano Jennifer Ashe, who displayed remarkable pitch control amid apparent sonic chaos. A cool Jeffrey Means conducted. Based (sort of) on a dense text by Friedrich Nietzsche and scored for an eccentric ensemble including violin, cello, piano, harp, celesta, glockenspiel, xylophone, vibraphone, and unpitched percussion, “Séquence’’ creates a hypnotic, shimmering, multilayered world whose underlying mathematical complexities bend and boggle the mind.”  Read more of this review here.

Coming up next: we’ll be performing Earle Brown, Michele Zaccagnini, Morton Feldman, and a world premiere by Tamar Diesendruck on December 3rd, 2010 at New England Conservatory.  8:00 pm, free admission. See you then!

Enjoy the holiday!


Boulez Festival in Boston

In Uncategorized on November 9, 2010 at 9:14 pm

Thank you to all who came to our Harvard Group for New Music concert last Saturday!  Our classic ‘Thumpers – Jessi Rosinski, Rane Moore, Gabriela Diaz, Benjamin Schwartz, and Jeffrey Means – performed music by Harvard composers Trevor Bača, Josiah Oberholtzer, Ian Power, Sivan Cohen-Elias, Sabrina Schroeder and Ann Cleare.  We came across kind remarks by Richard Green, who expressed his admiration in Callithumpian’s liveliness and tightness in “thorny pieces” — read the rest of his review here.

This week we’re over at Boston Conservatory for the 2010 Boulez Festival.  Thursday night will kick us off, with the amazing Jennifer Ashe performing Le marteau sans maître (1954), Improvisation sur Mallarmé I, II (from Pli selon Pli, 1962), and Jean Barraque‘s Sequence (1956), with Jeffrey Means conducting.  Friday’s concert will be a variety of Boulez’s acoustic and electroacoustic works, with Michael Norsworthy in Dialogue de l’ombre (1985) for clarinet and tape, Gabriela Diaz in Anthems 2 (1997) for violin and electronics, and Sonatine for flute and piano (1946) with Sarah Brady and Yukiko Takagi.  Cellist Rhonda Rider, on faculty at Boston Conservatory and at Boston University, will be performing Messagesquisse (1977) with conservatory cello students.

All concerts are FREE, starting Thursday evening at 8pm, Seully Hall at the Boston Conservatory: 8 The Fenway, Boston MA.  For more information and concert details, click here.

Hope to see you there!

your friendly

November: HGNM

In Uncategorized on October 24, 2010 at 1:21 am

October flew by!  In just a couple weeks, Callithumpian Consort will be performing at Paine Hall on the Harvard Group for New Music‘s series, run by Harvard University’s Music Department.  The concert will be a full program of music by composers Trevor Bača, Ann Cleare, Josiah Oberholtzer, Sabrina Schroeder, Sivan Cohen-Elias, and Ian Power.  Mark your calendars for Saturday, November 6th at 8pm! More program details to follow soon.

Meanwhile, here’s a wonderful review/recap of our Sept. 28 ASHLEY/WOLFF/LUCIER concert from the Boston Musical Intelligencer. Special guests did appear that night — it was great to welcome back Alvin Lucier and Christian Wolff, both who have come to the New England Conservatory for residencies in 2006 and 2010, respectively.  Many thanks to all those who played with us that night: Miki-Sophia Cloud, Martha Long, Elizabeth England, Amanda Hardy, Denexxel Domingo, Alexis Lanz, Adam Smith, Clark Matthews, David Vaughan, Randall Taylor Graham, Steve Skov, Diamanda La Berge Dramm, Michael Unterman, Andrew Chilcote, Corey Schreppel, Luke Varland, Beth McDonald, Amanda Romano, and Andrew Zhou.

Click here to find more information, repertoire, and select audio clips from Callithumpian’s 2010 Wolff Festival at New England Conservatory.

Christian Wolff at New England Conservatory (photo by Andrew Hurlbut)

More soon!

— your friendly webbottress

Praise for Left Coast!

In Uncategorized on September 22, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Callithumpian Consort performs Left Coast at the Gardner

Cold and rainy weather did not dampen the spirits of our audience last Thursday at the Gardner Museum!  In short, our 9/16 Left Coast concert was an American landscape panning from Songbirdsongs (John Luther Adams) and the Suite for Cello and Harp (Lou Harrison), smearing into James Tenney’s Swell Piece and ending with In C by Terry Riley.

From the Boston Globe: “…How else to describe the serene, seamless flow of four works by Californian and Alaskan composers that made up the Callithumpian Consort’s program titled “Left Coast’’? Of course, there is no single unifying Pacific aesthetic, but it was impossible to miss the tactile richness and mellow colorings that ran through very distinct works by John Luther Adams, Lou Harrison, James Tenney, and Terry Riley. They were played here as one extended offering, without breaks for applause, a kind of four-movement West Coast Symphony…” (Jeremy Eichler).  Read the rest of the review here.

And from the Boston Musical Intelligencer: “…Closing with the longest performance of the evening (though not nearly as long as many renditions) was the most compelling performance of Terry Riley’s In C I have yet to hear (including some widely circulated recordings by Bang on a Can and a number of other performances I’ve played in myself).  The pacing of In C is the key, and it is what differentiates true, convincing performances from underwhelming, indiscriminate ‘jam sessions’ on the piece.  Subtleties –such as how Philipp Stäudlin emerged and submerged the bright tone of the soprano sax into the texture, and how violinist Ethan Wood chose the absolute perfect time to highlight the harmonic motion of the piece (yes, there is indeed harmonic motion in In C) with an appropriate change from viola to mandolin–are what made this performance shine.”  Read more of this review here.

Congratulations to all!  Coming up next: Robert Ashley/Alvin Lucier/Christian Wolff on Tuesday, Sept. 28th at 8pm in Jordan Hall at the New England Conservatory (Boston). We’ll be playing Ashley‘s in memoriam…Esteban Gomez, Lucier‘s Crossings, and Wolff‘s Rhapsody.  Admission is free, but come early to snag your seat!

–more soon, from your friendly