Around Town, Vol. I: Lana & Lars

The problem isn’t finding the stuff, it’s finding the time. Maybe this is the curse of our era. In any case, I’ve plowed through enough pages, sights, and sounds in recent months to warrant briefly turning off Shark Tank. Everything on this list comes highly recommended, but not all for the same reasons. I’ll leave it to […]

The Reich Stuff

Tehillim (1981) is a favorite Reich work of mine, so of course I couldn’t resist sharing this multimedia extravaganza.  Named after the Hebrew word for the Psalms, twenty-three performers groove through each twisting canon following the agogic accents of the Biblical text. Surprisingly or not, Tehillim sounds quite unlike traditional Jewish recitations of the Torah.  In the composer’s […]

Classical Gas

Prosed-out thoughts on the Takács Quartet and Marc-André Hamelin‘s performance at LOC last Thursday… I love the ’90s… Takács blend, but not like pre- concert smoothie. Hamelin: no hair but substantive flair. Classical music is alive and dying. Not tonight, though. All good seats this house has, right back-row Yoda? Sometimes English syntax doesn’t do music justice, and music deserves justice. […]

The Beat of the Same Drum

The drum circle in Meridian Hill Park is an institution.  The weekly participants trace their lineage to the 1960s Civil Rights protests, an era when activist Stokely Carmichael dubbed the space Malcolm X Park which still serves as an unofficial moniker.  However, what struck me on my first visit was not a militant activism but rather […]

Digital Love

Photo by Elizabeth Young At almost eighty years old, composer Morton Subotnik shows no signs of toning it down. And his frenetic energy dominated the performance Friday at the Library of Congress which featured three commanding works, one a world premier. Subotnik’s list of awards and accolades is overwhelming: a Guggenheim Fellowship, the American Academy […]

Where I End And You Begin

It’s thrilling to hear an unexpected sound.  Chinese multi-instrumentalist Wang Li specializes in huffing and puffing far-out overtone magic at his audience with various jaw harps and the calabash flute. I was fortunate to see him twice this past week in two seemingly contradictory settings–first mistaking him for a throat singer at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium concert series and then […]