OK, I've heard of name nights, but this is a first: if your name is "Alice" (or any variation of "Alice"), you can go to Alice Tully Hall on Feb 28 and pick up a pair of free tickets to any concert in April, prior to the hall's temporary closing for renovations. If you get there between 10 and 11, you'll also be entered into a raffle to win one of five pairs of tickets to the "Good Night Alice" gala concert on April 30.
This morning, I was deeply gratified to learn that Feast of Music received a kind mention in Alex Ross' long-running music blog, The Rest Is Noise. For those of you unfamiliar with his work, Alex has been the music critic of The New Yorker since 1996, and has a book coming out this fall entitled The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, which he describes as, "a voyage into the labyrinth of modern music." Among his many outstanding essays and reviews, he wrote the most articulate and passionate defense of classical music I've ever encountered, "Listen To This" (2004), which places chamber and symphonic music in their proper context, indistinguishable in their impact on the listener from rock, jazz, hip-hop, or any other form of genuine music. His writing and advocacy are a major inspiration for me, and I am grateful for his support of this new venture.
Also, just a reminder that the Brooklyn Next Fest kicks back in high gear tonight. Highlights include: Opera on Tap at Barbes (7p) Alan Licht at Issue Project Room (9p), and Arturo O'Farril in two late night sets at Puppet's Jazz Bar.
I took this picture this morning at the 7th Avenue F train stop in Brooklyn, a favorite of "street musicians" because of it's resonant acoustics. This violinist was playing a Bach partita when I arrived, and maybe I was just in a particularly good mood today, but it was just about the most beautiful thing I've heard outside a concert hall (and better than a lot of things I've heard inside one.) Well worth a donation if you happen to see him in your station some morning.
Great time at Union Hall last night - I got there around 9, and was happy to see my friend Simon and his girlfriend Jenny, who'd made the trek out from Manhattan. (They found out about it from the Times online, where Simon works.) Simon went to Tulane, and isn't easily impressed when it comes to Mardi Gras festivities. But, this one seemed to fit the bill.
"This is what it's actually like in New Orleans," he said. "Crazy, chaotic, crowded, with great music, great food and just a whole lot of fun."
The place was packed with well over 200 people to see the Hungry March Band, the M Shanghai String Band and the Pontani Sisters, who did their trademark burlesque. I stayed late, and was treated to an extraordinary set in the basement space by French guitarist Stephane Wrembel and his band. Wrembel's playing aspires to that of the famous French gypsy Django Rheinhardt, and very often succeeds. If you missed it, you can catch him just about every Sunday at 9pm at Barbes.