People are aware of all sorts of important causes and precious endangered species going extinct…but what about the survival of classical music? Or at least its relevance to people outside classical music-dom. Like philately (which used to be one of my favorite hobbies before the miniature works of art went adhesive), classical music has become one of those hobbies that contain a handful of middle-aged aficionados, who I’m sure want to see classical music (ahem, concert music) live beyond their lifetime.
So let’s make it happen! Our new and improved ‘Classical Music is Dead*’ tee, exclusively designed for us by Gigi Burris, will help get classical music in people’s heads and get you loads of attention. It sure did for Rachel, read about her shirt shenanigans here. These limited-edition gems are rare, so you’d better nab one fast and get ready to be stalked by paparazzi! Shirts arrive February 5…more info and pics coming soon.
Publicity for $1?! Your name in lights (ok, more like in ink on quality paper) at our next event! Details here.
I found The Transitionists, Theme Magazine’s current issue, particularly inspiring. According to editors Jiae and John, ‘Transitionists travel in between design and art, creating a dialog between their commercial and personal work, playing off the constraints and perks of each discipline. The end result is better work.‘ I find this idea of Transitionists relevant not just to the designers and artists on whom the magazine focuses, but to any musician/entrepreneur and others who are also pursuing multiple endeavors in the classical music world.
I read the magazine cover to cover. This issue really hit home: as many artists/designers are averse to being categorized as one or the other, or both (although they are clearly doing both), artists in other disciplines may have similar concerns about how they are perceived. Definitely understandable; for example, tell people you teach the piano and you’re a ‘piano teacher’ (image: old lady in the suburbs who missed her chance after getting married and having kids). You want people to think of you as what you want to be. A single label eventually seems to have some sort of power over who we are or what we will become.
I’ve struggled with the idea of being a pianist, a business person, and a teacher. (Mainly the former two). As a musician, I feel like I don’t do enough, although I do as much as I possibly can. There is this guilt that many of us encounter when we’re not spending every waking moment with the instrument, practicing into oblivion, because that is what a musician is supposed to do. (There are also unwritten rules about what we’re supposed to wear to be taken ‘seriously…’ more on that later.) I’m sure I’m not the first to grapple with the question of what they are supposed to be doing to deserve, it seems, the privilege to be called a musician (especially when not following a typical path).
Now we can be happy to know there’s another option besides adhering to a super sticky label: we too can be Transitionists, using different talents to enrich one another. For instance, teaching allows a musician to learn more about the craft by having to demonstrate and talk about it, starting a concert series creates an opportunity to turn those isolated hours in the practice room into something meaningful. Multiple undertakings are normally viewed as constraints by uncreative minds. These alleged constraints could instead be used to guide one another.
I could write an entire thesis about the Transitionist movement and classical music here, but I will spare you. Luckily, Theme has an issue full of inspiring interviews and visuals. If you were unable to pick up a copy of Theme at our soiree, you can get it at any proper bookstore or subscribe here (which I would recommend, as this magazine kicks ass and it took me years to find a true favorite! Added bonus: it smells good).
-Amanda Hick and Walter Aparicio, soprano and piano extraordinaires
Went to BAM for the first time last night to see the US premiere of Philip Glass’s new opera ‘Kepler,’ an hour-and-a-half work about the scientist’s exploration of the sky and his coming to terms with science and God: he arrives at the conclusion that astronomy and God are connected and it is up to humanity, through science, to find out God’s plan.
The music sounded great with the libretto, which included some of Kepler’s own quotes and the usual libretto filler. The harmonies and the rhythm were the strongest supporting elements of the ideas contained in the text. The musicians and conductor Dennis Russell Davies straight up had their shit together. Sound-wise, Kepler was fantasic.
The production itself, however, needs a makeover. At an opera strong visuals are expected, a must even. Aesthetics aside, visuals also help the audience follow the story better. For example, the main soloists dressed in plain black concert attire were meant to be the voices of Kepler’s thoughts, but that was not clear. At the very least, the scenery could have been, I dunno, a starry night perhaps? (This seems obvious to me.) I understand the budget was probably low, but creativity does not take thousands of dollars…and we can confirm that here at The Nouveau Classical Project! My mind was racing with ideas as I sat there. Anyway, you should still go see it!
Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of the performers, as a rabid usher nearly clawed my boyfriend’s face off as he tried to take a photo of the closing bows. (She probably would have Tasered him if she had one handy. Thank God she is not in any real position of authority.) But enjoy these after-party photos (and a special video!), where, luckily, Ms. Anger Management Issues was not invited.
Come see the world premiere of our friend Bryan Senti’s ballet, inspired by the poetry of Kat Mandeville and choreographed by Bronwen Macarthur. Costumes are by Swedish designer Maja Gunn, and you know how much we at NCP love blending things with fashion. It’s going to be a truly unique and beautiful experience! Snag your tickets here.
Just picked up all 3 Penguin Deluxe Editions with cover art by Rubin Toledo, fashion illustrator and husband of Isabel Toledo (if you don’t know who she is, click that link!).
While these are in fact great novels, I adore these editions in particular because: 1) they are beautiful; 2) as someone who appreciates aesthetics and good design, they make my reading experience more enjoyable; 3) the books show how fashion can be used as a force to rouse and renew interest for something else yet remain respectful and unintrusive. The stories are the same on the inside, but their new outfits simply make them pop, make them more noticable. As we typically see the outside of a book first (in fact, the outside of many things) before the inside, these Penguin editions are a savvy example of drawing new eyes to classic art by simply merging intellectual with sexy.