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Artists Tower, Katana and Roberts Featured on New Music Box Live Event Online

By Steve Nagel s.nagel@classicalite.com on Aug 31, 2015 04:59 PM EDT

Just recently, New Music Box shared three 20-minute composer video segments dating back to its May 19th live event. This event was a first for the composer-centric organization, which has already shared the insights of many composers in its archives in order to motivate aspiring artists and champion upcoming ones. The three artists featured in these live segments are Gabriel Kahane, Matana Roberts, and Joan Tower.

Each stemming from incredibly diverse backgrounds, the last artist to appear, Joan Tower, highlighted this wonderful blend of composer "types" in her segment. Among them are the songwriters, the improvisers and the (traditional) composers, with which she herself identified. In a particularly insightful exposition, she described her own experience with music compartmentalization, outlining the musical landscape she experienced growing up: the "downtown composers" led by John Cage, the "midtown composers" led by Aaron Copland", and "uptown composers" led by Milton Babbitt (formerly Arnold Schoenburg). She also confessed her adoring relationship with performers, referring to them as her "midwives", whom she can reach only by "going through the page". Following this introduction, she introduced two performers to play her work, including violinist Bella Hristova and pianist Ursula Oppens.

The first composer/performer of the evening was Gabriel Kahane, a singer/guitarist who wooed the audience with various anecdotes surrounding his recording life, and then dove into his harrowing performance of "Winter Song", closed off by an enchanting theatrical avant-garde piece: a neurotic Craigslist ad set to a piano accompaniment. The second performer was Matana Roberts, a saxophone improviser who told the story of her visit to the Deep South (#SouthernSojourn2014) using freestyled saxophone inserts and audience participation. Through music, she relayed her interest in American history and her quest to learn more about slavery and the Civil War. Ultimately, she connected this back with her instincts as an improviser.

What must have been a wonderful live event to attend is available now for all New Music Box fans, Classicalite fans, and music fans in general! We can only hope these samples are the first in a series of live events and video features from the tireless bridge-builders over at New Music Box.

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TagsNew Music Box, Joan Tower, Matana Roberts, Gabriel Kahane

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