Monday, July 26, 2010

Performer Postlude from Alisa

Here is a picture of the author. Photo credit: Liz R's Amazing Camera
[Editor's Note: Even though this festival has officially ended, we were never able to hear from the performers - they were busy practicing or they were in rehearsal! As a composer, I am eternally grateful for their hard work, and I hope they were able to occasionally surface and enjoy Blonay. Anyway, here is violist Alisa Seavey's take on the festival. Enjoy!]

Before Jennifer and Kyle close the door on the MusicX blog- I wanted to represent my story as being one of the twenty-some young performers who came to MusicX for this crazy adventure! Led and inspired by eighth blackbird as our loving yet firm coaches we “doubled” the instrumentation of their ensemble with an added on bass and a singer! We were one of each- violin, viola, cello, bass, then two flutes, clarinets and the crew of powerful women (plus Paul) of pianists; and guys plus Yu-Chun of percussionists! I also wanted to acknowledge an awesome array of the composer-performers: “walk the walk, talk the talk”. I was impressed with this for two of the composers I was paired to work with- (Sarah and Ben) who were as great performers, as they were composers. Therefore no matter how “difficult” I thought parts of their works were- I knew they were putting in the same kind of work for someone else’s work. That was a really cool thing for me to experience.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Lisa Kaplan told me on a cold evening in January that I really should apply to Music10 because not only is the program fantastic, but also because Blonay is a beautiful quaint town. "You will not want to leave," she said, and then proceeded to tell me how the Hindemith Center had their own cherry trees and gardens, along with plentiful desserts and clean air.

Truthfully, I was a bit skeptical, especially since it was so hard to imagine such a wonderful place when experiencing an icy bleak winter in the Midwest. And now that I'm experiencing a unbearably sweltering summer in the Midwest (a week-long heat emergency has been declared in Cincinnati, fyi), I realize that I did not want to leave.

The morning after the last concert was a bit surreal. There were a few remaining participants, each of us painfully recovering from the night before, staying up as long as possible wishing those who left earlier a safe journey home. While we were eating breakfast, the staff at the Hindemith Center undertook some serious cleaning in the salon. As I watched one of the ladies fluff and arrange the pillows on that slanted uncomfortable sofa, it hit me: I miss you dearly. I miss you all.

I miss hanging out with you; I miss eating with you. I miss playing ping-pong; I also miss going to concerts and performing with you. Trips to Vevey were fun; maybe I saw an opera with you that included a midget. All in all, post-festival depression has settled in. All I can do to alleviate this void is to log onto Facebook and hopefully grasp some form of virtual communication via status update or comment on the many photo albums that have appeared since the ending of this festival. It's pathetic; I know, but it's the only solution I can think of at this moment.

I hope I see you again. Chances are I might because the music world is so small, but I don't know when we'll meet. All I can say is, be well, do great creative things, and please stay in touch.

Final Concert

[This post was written by Douglas Pew, one of the composers at the festival.]

To wrap up our experience at Music10, we had a wonderful final concert this evening. With a sense of family spirit after these two weeks together, we gathered to be treated one final time by Eighth Blackbird and several student performers.

Eighth Blackbird opened the concert with a charming work by Missy Mazzoli entitled Still Life with Avalanche. The piece has a very fresh mix of lyricism and rhythmic punctuation and I found it very youthful and enthusiastic. Particularly delightful were the thwacks of the kick drum and the hiccupping rhythms throughout the ensemble.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Lisa Moore Masterclass

[Editor's Note: This post contribution is from Sarah Gibson, one of the composer/performers (piano) at the festival. She is a also a fellow Trojan. Fight on, Sarah.]

I am sure it is very clear that we all have been absolutely spoiled the past two weeks going to fantastic rehearsals and concerts, and hearing great lectures and masterclasses by Joel Hoffman, Stephen Hartke, Martin Bresnick, and eighth blackbird…but just when you think we couldn’t possibly have anymore fantastic musical experiences, Lisa Moore, with her incredible piano playing abilities, blonde curly hair, and awesome accent to go along with a great since of humor, came over the Alps to see us. It was such a fantastic experience to squeeze one more masterclass in our schedules, and it definitely got us excited to hear Lisa give her piano recital today.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Lisa Moore solo concert

This post was written by Maria Grenfell:

On the sweltering hot Friday at 3.00pm we all trooped up to the Aula Bahyse (town hall) in Blonay to hear a recital by Australia-American pianist Lisa Moore. Trained in Australia and the USA, Lisa resides in New York City where she collaborates with a wide range of musicians and artists.

(photo by Lisa Moore)

We were treated to a wide diversity on this recital, beginning with Robert Schumann (yes, the 19th-century composer) and ending with a work by Moore’s husband, composer Martin Bresnick.

Music10 Composers 3 and Final Vote

Last night was our third and final concert of new works by Music10 participant composers. I found it to be a tremendously varied, adventurous evening of music. For logistical reasons, many of the most difficult works of the festival ended up on this program, making it a tour-de-force for many of the performers.

Louis Chiapetta's ...and again... created an ethereally drifting musical environment, with soft bell-like sounds occasionally interrupted by more intense outbursts. The piece, scored for the same instrumentation as Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time, managed to incorporate the influence of Messiaen without being overshadowed by it.

(photo by Lisa Moore)

L'ange pale by Amy Kirsten was an explosively radiant work. Set to her own French poem, Amy's piece crystallized the words through singing, humming, and chanting among all of the musicians. Lindsay Kesselman's wildly ecstatic vocal lines were complemented by Tim Munro's flute playing, and contrasted by a wide array of percussion sounds from Jeremy Malvin and Christian Smith.

Music10 Composers 2

This post was written by composer Ted Goldman:

There are many places to play music over the summer, but not quite so many where one can take a trip to Mont Blanc with new found friends after the festival ends. That trip at the end of Music09 was just one of the (extra) musical experiences that led me to return this year. Spending two weeks and three meals a day with musical colleagues in little Blonay is like listening to a piece composed with a limited amount of material: it creates a highly focused and memorable impression and allows for rapid development in a short span of time. The materials of my last two summers

(photo by Lisa Moore)

at MusicX consisted of day hikes with my performers, conversational ping pong, and of course intense music making.

The latter activity was well represented in Wednesday night's Music10 composers' concert. Douglas Pew's En Los Muros De Arl├ęs contained a beautiful variety of marimba timbres: quiet tremolos created by rubbing the mallets between two keys, and unfocused woody sounds made from bamboo-sheave mallets, among others. These colors were arrived at in cooperation with percussionist Yu-Chun Kuo - one of the many sorts of collaborative experiences that make the MusicX environment rewarding.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Pictures from Music10 Composers I

I feel a picture post is appropriate here, considering my arms are exhausted and I am wincing in pain. Last night another nerd/composer/percussionist/new music-phile game commenced (the first game is vaguely mentioned here), and the game-du-jour was playing Louis Andriessen's Workers Union.

We had a ton of fun blasting that piece, but all is fun and games until you wake up the next morning with an aversion to bright light and your head throbbing in pain; or, in my case, I have an aversion to lifting heavy objects and my forearms are throbbing. Blowdrying my hair this morning was a little tricky.

Anyway, while I drag my arms on the floor like an orangutan, please enjoy the photos from the concert.