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November 2013

October 2013

White Light Festival: Michel van der Aa's Up-Close and Other Works

White light festival up-close

Photo credit: Andrea Mohin, The New York Times

Visuals—be it film or computer-generated projections—have become something of a mainstay in contemporary concert music, and with good reason: More than ever, we live in an image-oriented society, where we expect not only our ears to be stimulated, but our eyes as well. But, most of these visuals are created apart from the actual music

Enter Dutch composer Michel van der Aa, whose 2010 multimedia cello concerto, Up-close, won this year's Grawemeyer Award and was given it's first U.S. performance Monday night at the Manhattan Center Ballroom as part of this year's White Light Festival. Displaying a rare jack-of-all-trades ability, van der Aa not only composed the music, but also wrote, directed, and edited the accompanying non-linear film, which depicted an elderly woman struggling against an unseen villain—possibly of her own imagining.

Even more impressive, van der Aa has written instructions for the soloist (here the energetic and intense Kaori Yamagami) so that her movements mirrored those of the old woman in the film. At one point, Yamagami left her seat in the center of the chamber ensemble (the impressive Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, playing without a conductor) and moved a lamp from one side of the stage to the other at the same time as the woman in the film; Yamagami then used the lamp to continue performing the score. As Grawemeyer director Marc Satterwhite said in his citation: "It defies simple classification. It really creates its own genre."

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Preview: King Khan and the Shrines Return to NYC Tonight at Webster Hall

King khan and the shrines

It's been more than five years since psychedelic garage rockers King Khan and the Shrines brought their wild, unruly stage show to McCarren Pool, complete with cheerleaders and King Khan himself bending over with a wildflower up his you-know-what. After a series of personal setbacks, King Khan—who is based in Berlin—all but fell off the radar here, but they'll make their triumphant return to NYC tonight with a show at Webster Hall in support of their new album, Idle No More. Should be a spectacle to behold. 

Tickets are $20 and available at the Webster Hall box office or online.

Preview: Calder Quartet Plays Bartók and David Longstreth

Longstreth and Calder

The Calder Quartet, who've accompanied everyone from The National to Airborne Toxic Event and Vampire Weekend, will be joined by David Longstreth of Dirty Projectors as part of the Bartók Quartet Cycle this Friday, November 1, at the Met Museum's Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium. The group will perform Bartók's Third and Fourth string quartets, plus new original work and new takes on Dirty Projectors favorites, as rearranged by Longstreth. Tickets and info available on the Met Museum's website.

Bonus: If you get there early, you can catch the Lumiere Trio playing for free on the balcony of the Great Hall from 5:00–8:00 p.m. More info here.