Earlier this year I was involved in recording for the new Ben Levin Group album called "Our Place," which was released last month. Ben, lead guitarist with Bent Knee (with whom I've recorded several albums as well on the Sony label), takes subtle motivic & orchestrational asymmetries and develops them throughout the duration of the album - take a moment to explore his music below!
At New Music Gathering in Boston last month, Sound Energy revived Betsy Jolas' evanescent and ethereal "Quatuor II," giving the piece its second American performance and third recording in the piece's 50+ year history. The audio recording of the live performance of this exceptionally difficult piece can be heard below.
This week marks the first of four festivals this summer season in which I'll be performing & teaching. On Friday, Sound Energy will perform Betsy Jolas's Quatuor II (1969) at New Music Gathering in Boston, alongside coloratura soprano Emily Thorner. In June I'll be performing at the Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice (SICPP) at New England Conservatory. In July I'll be returning to my summer home at the Killington Chamber Music Festival in Rutland, Vermont, as artist-faculty in cello & chamber music. In August, I'll perform contemporary orchestral works at the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland, and in September the orchestra will continue its concerts on tour to Paris, Hamburg, Cologne, and Berlin. Here's to another three months living out of a suitcase and traveling the world with my trusty companion, Mr. Cabinbaggage Swartz!
New music can often be difficult to follow - unexpected turns, strange timbres, unpredictable shifts in harmony. Fortunately for the contemporary music community, the YouTube channel Incipitsify has been uploading avant-garde works paired with facsimile editions of their scores. Hear Sound Energy's recording of Marti Epstein's massive "Hidden Flowers" from our guest artist feature at Boston Conservatory last season:
Last week SE friend Noam Faingold was interviewed on Tulsa NPR, which aired the complete premiere performance recording of Noam's "The Abyss Looks Back," commissioned by SE in 2016. You can have a listen to the podcast version of Noam's interview here: http://publicradiotulsa.org/…/classical-tulsa-podcast-inter…
Sound Energy completed its spring 2018 residency at Temple University last week, where we premiered seven new works by TU undergrad & graduate composers, including Evan Kassof's "Excerpts from the Sea," available here:
A few videos from Sound Energy's recent performance at Temple University, as part of its collaboration with conTemplum and the TU Department of Music. SE will return to Philly in two weeks to perform seven world premieres, all works by TU undergraduate & graduate composition students with whom we've coached & workshopped throughout the semester, to conclude our Spring semester residency there.
Sound Energy Revives Marti Epstein's "Hero and Leander" for String Trio and Puppet Theater at The boston conservatory
Last week Sound Energy revived Marti Epstein's "Hero and Leander" (1992) for string trio and puppet theater in a live performance at Seully Hall at The Boston Conservatory, 22 January 2018, working closely with the composer and with shadow puppetry by Deniz Khateri.
Click below for video of two short excerpts from the production:
Scene Two (Night falls. There is no moon. Leander swims through the sea towards the light in the tower which is Hero's Room.)
Scene Four (Leander tries to swim through the stormy sea to be with Hero. He cannot see the light in the tower which guided him before. Eventually, Leander drowns. Morning comes. The rain subsides. Hero still waits.)
You can also find the complete performance here.
Why do we study music? What do we hope to gain from this inquiry, and how do we do this most successfully? Earlier this year I joined the faculty at South Shore Conservatory (Hingham, MA) and, in my statement of position on the teaching of music, I attempted to answer a few of these questions: http://sscmusic.org/benjamin-swartz/
This audio recording is from Sound Energy's residency at Dartmouth College in Spring 2017, culminating in workshops & performances including this world premiere of Daniel James Miller's towering soundscape "Teller Light" for amplified violin, viola, cello, and live electronics. SE worked closely with Daniel to develop a novel notational system based on real-time algorithmically-generated animated score notation. Performed in Rollins Chapel at Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire.
Videos of the performance will be posted soon!
What is a typical rehearsal like? How do we communicate linguistically about differences in musical ideas, and what is involved in the process of learning music? What about writing your own music? Ben Levin wrote a new piece for his YouTube series and documented every stage of the process from conception to execution - here I am at work!
From Anchorage, Alaska, to Zandvoort aan Zee, Holland - what a summer! By the numbers: 19 concerts performed, 5 music festivals, 10 flights, 8 trains, 7,400 miles driven, 8 countries, and 3 months living out of a suitcase. A Koelsch in Cologne, a Pilsener in Plzen, a Heineken in Amsterdam, a Chuli Denali Stout at the footsteps of "the Great One," and mountaineering through 3 of Alaska's 4 national parks. From teaching at the Killington Music Festival in Vermont, to performing at the Newport Contemporary Music Festival, to touring with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra Academy through Switzerland and Germany - it's nice to be back in Boston and not to carry my life in a suitcase anymore!
Here are a representative handful of pictures from my summer tour.
Boston - Anchorage - Wasilla - Talkeetna - Denali - Fairbanks - North Pole - Delta Junction - Glennallen - Copper Center - Kennecott - McCarthy - Glacier View - Seward - Homer - Hope - Newport - Burlington - Killington - Zurich - Lugano - Milan - Cremona - Parma - Bologna - Ferrara - Venice - Trieste - Slovenia - Salzburg - Mittenwald - Lindau - Lucerne - Frankfurt - Cologne - Hamburg - Prague - Plzen - Amsterdam - Ouderkerk aan de Amstel - Bloemendaal aan Zee - Zandvoort aan Zee - Boston
During my undergraduate years as a double-degree student at Johns Hopkins University and the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, I was fortunate to be a recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Fellowship. Upon completion of the four-year fellowship, Johns Hopkins Magazine published an article about my project (2012). Now, five short years after graduation (how time flies - the days run away like wild horses over the hills...!), the Magazine included me in a follow-up article (2017) on outstanding young alumni from the Wilson Fellowship who are making significant contributions to their respective fields of study.
Read on here! http://krieger.jhu.edu/magazine/v14n2/the-futures-that-follow/
It's been a busy season for Sound Energy, between a residency at Dartmouth College, the premieres of ten new works, and the award of a New Music USA Grant! Now SE hits the road again for our Ohio debut as featured artists at the Signature Series.. Wednesday 5/3 at 7:30pm with new works for string trio by Jeffrey Mumford, Marti Epstein, Giacinto Scelsi, and Kaija Saariaho.
For more information and to purchase tickets:
Live video from my faculty concert alongside colleague Nickolai Sheikov (harpsichord) and special guests Emily Hale (Baroque violin) and Andrea LeBlanc (Barouque flute). Filmed in Allen Hall at the Community Music Center of Boston at the Boston Center for the Arts. Works by Jean-Philippe Rameau and Francois Couperin performed on viola da gamba. Early Music Evenings of the John Kleshinski Concert Series.
Looking forward to my faculty showcase concert on the viola da gamba next week! This concert, part of the ongoing Early Music Evenings of the John Kleshinski Series, will be in Allen Hall of the Community Music Center of Boston at the Boston Center for the Arts. I'll be joined by CMCB teaching colleague and harpsichordist Nickolai Sheikov, as well as special guests Andrea LeBlanc (Baroque flute) and Emily Hale (Baroque violin), for an evening of French Baroque works by Rameau and Couperin. Best of all - it's FREE!
For more information: https://cmcb.org/event/early-music-evenings-music-by-rameau-and-couperin/
Andrea LeBlanc, Baroque flute
Emily Hale, Baroque violin
Ben Swartz, viola da gamba
Nickolai Sheikov, harpsichord
Thursday 13. April 2017 at 7pm (Allen Hall)
FREE and open to the public
34 Warren Avenue
Boston, MA 02116
Community Music Center of Boston
Boston Center for the Arts