Classical Music is Dead*

Parsons’s Fab Finalists

Posted in fashion by The Nouveau Classical Project on 04/22/2009

I went to Parsons today, where I had the privilege of viewing the capsule collections of the finalists for the Designer of the Year award, which will be announced Wednesday evening at the Parsons Fashion Benefit.  The presentations today lasted over 3 hours  and it was worth every minute (plus, it was nice to be sitting  in a fashion show instead of sitting on a piano bench for a change).  I was damn impressed.  These talented fashion students spent months on their creations, and their inspiration and attention to their art clearly shined through both their pieces and their oral presentations.  We are extremely excited to collaborate with Parsons for a top-secret event that will take place this Fall.

I got some decent snaps (as decent as is humanly possible with my old digital), but my camera ran out of battery for Michelle Copelman’s presentation, one of my favorites this afternoon!  But maybe we’ll see her stocked at Barney’s soon!

Some collections had themes in common; for instance, Julia Blum, Robert Fitzsimmons, and Shawn Reddy spoke of having the  independent, confident woman in mind when designing their collections.  Blum drew inspiration for her lingerie line, Ardor, from a novel she had read where women were portrayed as powerful.  Fitzsimmons’ collection referenced the sport of wrestling and he mentioned having read Maureen Dowd’s book “Are Men Necessary?” and found the idea fascinating, while Shawn Reddy mentioned that he grew up with very active women and has always been attracted to young women in suits. 

The idea of being enclosed or covered was shared in Anna Zurick’s and Bessie Afnaim’s collections, but in completely different ways: Zurick took the idea of feeling trapped and based her collection on “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” a memoir by late French Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby while he had  locked-in syndrome (completely written by blinking his eyes), while Afnaim talked about feeling safe and protected.  Both collections looked extremely comfortable, with Zurick’s super padded designs and Afnaim’s soft, washed fabrics, and Rachel Cohen’s line was made to feel comfortable as well, not to mention easy to wear.  Like her peers, Cohen also mentioned her wearer as a confident women (seems no one cares to have vulnerable women wearing their clothes!)

Although there are some similarities in inspiration and themes, these students’s collections were definitely completely different from one another.  Take a look…

Between a Piano and a Hard Place

Posted in Uncategorized by The Nouveau Classical Project on 04/22/2009

I went to Marilyn Nonken’s recital at Frederick Loewe Theater, NYU, where she performed new piano works by living composers.  Marilyn is a champion of new music (and also one of the first people to know about The Nouveau Classical Project.  In fact, she was instrumental [no cheesy pun intended] to the Project getting its start).  My favorite piece in particular was “Stress Position” by Drew Baker, a piece with absolutely no rests where the pianist just plays just highest and lowest register in a consistent, driving rhythm.  Having the arms spread so far apart (in fact, the widest they can spread on the piano) is not a comfortable position for a pianist. 

The music is stark at first, then more notes get added to form very loud chords, at which point the pianist is most likely exhausted.  The end is marked to “go for as long as you can go.”  Then the lights go off and the piano is amplified, enshrouding the audience in darkness and noise. 

Baker said that this piece was a statement about torture technique in which a person is in a dark room where music is played unbearably loud, a matter he wants to bring attention to. 

I wish I was able to get some pictures, but I unfortunately could not take photos during the concert.  However, I will try to put a video up soon.  Stay tuned.

Mitsuko in the Morning

Posted in Uncategorized by The Nouveau Classical Project on 04/17/2009

Just got back from an 11 am concert at Avery Fisher Hall, where pianist Mitsuko Uchida rocked Ravel’s Second Piano Concerto in G major.  That woman has so much fire.  The second movement was beautiful…although I’ve heard it many times, entire opening section (which is just the piano alone) always makes me want to cry. 

In true groupie form, I attempted to sneak backstage.  After walking around the orchestra level and finding only a mile-long restroom line inhabited by senior citizens and nearly tripping over the canes of some, I decided to ask one of ushers if there was any way to meet Mitsuko.  Turns out all I had to do was go the the Green Room on the orchestra level and wait; it’s not like rock concerts (or Nouveau Classical concerts ;)), where there are high levels of security trying to fend off throngs of fans…so much for being a badass.  I stood in a line of about 10 people, all of which were at least 30 years older than I am.  Ms. Uchida was taking a little while to come out, so someone knocked on the door, and lo and behold, a barefoot Mitsuko popped out and greeted us. 

I said something typical and nerdy and then asked for a picture.  She said yes!  And she was ready for it, while I unfortunately, not so much. 

Me (with a crazy look in my eyes) and Mitsuko Uchida

Me (with crazy look in eyes) and Mitsuko Uchida

Mitsuko wore a top with sparkly sleeves, pleated pants that could be Pleats Please by Issey Miyake, and a gray sash to accent it.  The flashiniess of her outfit matched the music, Nouveau Classical style!  Hell yes.

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Books and Burgers

Posted in Uncategorized by The Nouveau Classical Project on 04/10/2009

My friend Kenan invited me to see a Wordless Music concert last night at Miller Theatre, featuring The Books and Timothy Andres.  Before we met up, I wanted to grab some coffee, and on my way I took a picture of him, paparazzi style:

Kenan sitting on a bench. And if you want to donate blood apparently, call 1 800 933 BLOOD.

Kenan sitting on a bench. And if you want to donate blood call 1 800 933 BLOOD.

His security guards saw the flash and ran after me…but I quickly darted into the nearest <commercial coffee shop that will remain unnamed> and ordered my latte while they ran past.

Thoroughly enjoyed Andres’ rendition of Ingram Marshall’s Authentic Presence, there was a naturalness about the way he played this piece in particular that made the music convincing.  The Books came on after intermission.  This was the creamy center of the entire program that everyone had been waiting to consume (and by creamy center, I mean something like the inside of a chocolate butter truffle, rather than that heinous substance inside Twinkies, which I think are ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING altogether). 


I had only heard one piece by them prior (a fact of which I was aware only after I heard them perform it last night).  They work with both acoustic and found sound, and the result is an organic sound collage, with extra color tastefully splashed on top.

Overall it was a fun night.  Rocking my new leather jacket and having a big, juicy burger afterwards made it even better. 

Alas, it’s over and now it’s time for work.  To do: call up (aka: harass) PR office of fashion designer for next event!  Here I go…