MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

Seattle under Construction

IMG_0004

Filed under: photography, Uncategorized

Cellist Jan Vogler and His Trio Venture into “New Worlds” with Bill Murray

MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Mira-WangBill-Murray-Jan-Vogler-New-Worlds-Tour-Photo-by-WP-Photography-Taken-at-Napa-Valley-Festival-August-2017My latest for Strings magazine (October issue):

Chamber music is all about knowing how to forge close partnerships. For the world-renowned cellist Jan Vogler, that instinct includes connecting to artists beyond the classical-music sphere. But he didn’t expect a serendipitous encounter with Bill Murray to lead to one of the most innovative projects he has ever undertaken.

continue reading

View original post

Filed under: Uncategorized

Conrad Tao: Leaving the Comfort Zone

Conrad Tao is performing Thursday night with the Berkeley Symphony.

MEMETERIA by Thomas May

My new profile of pianist and composer Conrad Tao for Steinway  is now online:

HIS NAME HASN’T changed, but mentally splicing the twenty-three-year-old Conrad Tao with the child prodigy who first came before the general public more than a decade ago is likely to make you do a double take.

continue reading

View original post

Filed under: Uncategorized

Musical America New Artist of the Month: Seth Parker Woods

This afternoon Seth Parker Woods makes his debut at the acclaimed Phillips Collection Sunday concerts series.

MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Musical America is featuring cellist Seth Parker Woods as New Artist of the Month for October. My profile here.

View original post

Filed under: Uncategorized

Dmitry Sinkovsky’s Vivaldi Project

ds

Dmitry Sinkovsky (Photo credit: Marco Borggreve)

Casting a spell over your audience as a violin virtuoso is remarkable enough. But some musicians are real overachievers.

continue reading

Filed under: Seattle Symphony, Seattle Times, Uncategorized, Vivaldi

Alice Goodman: New York Times Profile

21ALICE5-master768

Alice Goodman in Fulbourn, England. Credit Nadine Ijewere for “The New York Times”

My New York Times story on the poet and librettist Alice Goodman is now online:

When “Nixon in China” had its premiere at Houston Grand Opera on Oct. 22, 1987, there had never been anything quite like it. No previous American opera — perhaps no opera, ever — had so boldly dealt with recent political history…

continue

Filed under: Alice Goodman, American literature, American opera, John Adams, librettists, New York Times, Peter Sellars, Uncategorized

Silver Apples and Cloudless Sulphur Skies

For the anniversary… [reblogged from 2013]

MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Morton Subotnick, who at 80 looks as eager as ever to experiment with his Buchla and laptop, rolled into town recently to perform a decades-spanning program at Seattle’s Town Hall. Joining him onstage was Berlin-based video artist Lillevan. The two have been collaborating on several projects in recent years, and both are obviously so well attuned to each other’s aesthetic that they can improvise with pre-existing material. It all added up to a blissed-out gesamtkunstwerk for synth geeks and video art aficionados.

The concert’s official title – “From Silver Apples of the Moon to A Sky of Cloudless Sulphur IV: LUCY” – refers to the main sources for the prerecorded music Subotnick used to build the performance in tandem with Lillevan’s abstract imagery of fluid and fractal-like shapes in restless transformation. Subotnick describes his current process:

For each season of performances I create a new hybrid Ableton-Buchla “instrument”…

View original post 382 more words

Filed under: Uncategorized

All the World’s a Reflected Dot

IMG_6658Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors is this year’s big blockbuster exhibit at Seattle Museum of Art. (Kusama moved to Seattle in 1957 for a year before heading to New York. In Seattle she had her first important American show at the legendary Zoë Dusanne Gallery.)

I’m still processing my contradictory reactions to Infinity Mirrors. Here, the usual inflated hype is actually more germane than usual, since it ironically underscores aspects of Kusama’s aesthetic.

T.S. Flock gets it in this piece for the Seattle Weekly, one of the most incisive critiques I’ve seen so far of the show.

This notion is what ties the Infinity Room format to Kusama’s other calling card: dots. The earth itself is a dot. Everything is a dot. In Kusama’s worldview, everything is atomized into dots in an incomprehensibly large universe, and the sense of a singular continuity (i.e., ego, monument, institution) is “obliterated” by her dots. …

After all, the Infinity Rooms are simultaneously self-negating and self-centering, just as Kusama’s dot motif sees a unified whole among discrete particles. Isn’t that a fine definition of love between humans?

Margo Vansynghel offers another insightful take:

 Framing the story as the “artist-in-mental-hospital-who-makes-art-as-therapy” robs her of nuance and due credit. …

Maybe Kusama, intentionally or not, has been mirroring back to us what we created, a world of endless reflections of the same thing. She plays the leading role in this society of the spectacle. In November, wax museum Madame Tussauds Hong Kong opened up a polka-dotted “artistic themed” Kusama “zone.” One wonders where the art ends and her life, and the spectacle, begins. Critics have argued that she turned her mental illness into a spectacle, too. I don’t agree. The more interesting question though: If your antidote is turned into an art-world or Instagram commodity, how effective is it? And if you place the visitor in front of the mirror and it spins out of control, who’s to blame? In this uncertainty the show becomes truly interesting.

 

 

Filed under: aesthetics, art exhibition, Uncategorized

Ludovic Morlot To Make Berlin Philharmonic Debut

Reminder: LudovicMorlot conducts Berliner Philharmoniker and Joyce DiDonato at 1 pm EST/10am PST. Streamed live here:
https://www.digitalconcerthall.com/en/concert/23518

MEMETERIA by Thomas May

1617_Concerts_openingnight917_CarlinMa-31-640x453 Opera star Joyce DiDonato is shown with Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony last September. Morlot and DiDonato will appear together in Berlin later this week. (Carlin Ma)

The Seattle Symphony’s music director has been asked to replace an ailing colleague as guest conductor of this week’s concerts with Berlin Philharmonic — one of the world’s most prestigious orchestras.

continue reading

View original post

Filed under: Uncategorized

The Healing Bach

In honor of the birthday of J.S. Bach — and the coming of Spring.

MEMETERIA by Thomas May

bach-violin-partitas-strings-magazine-e1477009169612A link to my feature story, in this month’s Strings magazine, on the inexhaustible appeal of the Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin:

Bach’s works for solo violin and cello are the Shakespearean monologues of the string world: The indefinable balance of technical mastery and interpretive insight they require is the touchstone of a great artist.

continue reading

View original post

Filed under: Uncategorized

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

RSS Arts & Culture Stories from NPR