Labor Day madness at Governor’s Island

On Monday, September 3rd, Rite of Summer at Governor’s Island, sets at 1pm and 3pm.  (click for sumptuous detail)

Ferries are FREE as is the concert.  This extraordinary series has featured Ljova’s Kontraband, JACK Quartet, and Monday I’ve put together a band of extraordinary colleagues to explore some music I rarely get to play. We’ve got old American tunes and Bluegrass originals and some simply beautiful songs for you.

Featuring the music of Jordan Tice and Jonny Rodgers, and the foundational percussion of Mathias Kunzli and the upright bass of Michael O’Brien.  These people have never played together before and you don’t wanna miss it.  Rehearsals have proven this to be a singular project on a maiden voyage.  Click the Link above for more details!

So the summary goes like this:  One of America’s most compelling bluegrass artists, a glass-harmonica songwriter who turns any composition into a sparkling event, and rhythm from the man who gives Regina Spektor her time foundation every night on tour, and, well, you and I get to see each other, all in one of New York’s most beautiful spots.  What’s not to love?  Come spend Labor Day with us!

Governor’s Island is easy to get to and a perfect place for a family outing, much to see, much history to explore, and transportation is clear and easy.  Take any one of the lower manhattan subways, (R, 1, 6) to the ferry buildings and look for the beautiful building pictured up top… There’s also a ferry from Brooklyn!


Mixtapes Streams Wednesdays at 3 pm and Thursdays at 7 pm on Q2 Music

Those who follow me on Facebook, or my preferred place of lurking, Google +, will probably also know Q2  the gift of WQXR to all of us who appreciate and thrive on creative, new, fresh music, with great programs, DJs and more. (@q2music on Twitter)

This week I put together a playlist of some of our great composer/performers for Q2’s Mixtape program. Cheers to WQXR’s Hannis Brown for asking me to contribute and for executing stunningly, and thanks to the composers for welcoming the streaming of their work here, some of whom sent me unpublished tracks for posting.  There’s tons of ways to skin this cat we think of as ‘classical music’. We do it here 13 ways to Sunday.

Enjoy, and check out all the great programming Q2 has to offer as well as the other Mixtapes on the series!

Joe’s Pub, Feb. 10th with Gabriel Prokofiev and Peter Gregson!

Joe’s Pub presents three of the most innovative musicians working in contemporary classical music, together on one bill, in a night that promises to explore the new common ground at the crossroads of classical and electronica. 9pm, February 10th at Joe’s Pub $18

Click Here to Buy Tickets!

New York’s “daredevil” digital-violinist Todd Reynolds, whose recent album Outerborough was named Amazon’s Best Classical release of 2011 continues to infect the New York and international music scene with a passion borne of rock n roll and a sensibility which any ‘new music afficionado’ can appreciate. The Bang on a Can and Steve Reich violinist will perform a work or two from Outerborough and interface in remixed conversations with his London counterparts.

Peter Gregson, described by The New Yorker as ‘at the forefront of the new music scene’, is a British cellist who has collaborated with Tod Machover and Max Richter, among many other luminaries. He will be marking the first US performance of Nonclassical’s latest release, Cello Multitracks (written by Gabriel Prokofiev), which he premiered in London in 2011.

OB Rollout: Storm Drain – Ken Thomson

Our second installment of the free streaming rollout of Outerborough, from the OutSide of the record, Ken Thomson’s Storm Drain.

This content is also being rolled out in a lovely Facebook Band Page which makes it super easy to share!

Ken Thomson has been a valued friend and colleague for many years and remains one of my very favorite musicians. One of the founders of Gutbucket and the leader and writer for Slow/Fast, many still remember Ken as the very first head of Bang on a Can’s Cantaloupe Records. In fact it was Ken who brought Ethel into the fold, giving us our initial record deal back in the early years of the new century.

Known equally these days for his composition as for the great saxophonist, clarinetist and bass clarinetist that he is, we decided together that a piece for the both of us could be a great option, if only that it meant we’d see each other and play together more often. Ken knows me as a looper, so he made a piece which could be done in real-time with simple loop recorders. You can even do it with an iPhone these days.

Like Transamerica, I recorded the initial loops in Ableton Live and put it up in the cloud. Ken then used his own Pro-Tools rig in his Brooklyn living room to put down his part, sending it back to me through the cloud. We did a final mix together, which you hear in this stream and on the record. I’ll ask Ken where that title came from, cuz I’m not sure I know!

Ken says this:

When Todd asked me to write “Storm Drain,” I’d initially considered writing a straight-up duo for violin and bass clarinet; I don’t use a lot of electronics in my compositions, and I thought – based on what I imagined Todd would be doing for his double CD – that something more acoustic would be a good contrast.  However, as I started work on the piece, I really liked the idea of him being able to create layers upon which we could soar together.  My goal in using the looping is that you’re not super-aware of each new entrance but that it feels that it develops organically.

Working with Todd over years now, I wrote “Storm Drain” knowing that he would have no problem with the looping aspect of it, but also that we could quickly get “past” the tech and move onto creating a great performance arc.  And, true to form, he “got” the piece right away and we quickly started talking about musical issues.

A side note for me is that I’ve been working on really using the full range of the bass clarinet in my compositions in a series of pieces.  In some ways, this piece can be paired with two other pieces of mine — one called “perpetual” for bass clarinet and string quartet (which Todd also premiered); and a bass clarinet quartet that premiered this summer at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival — in addition to my 2008 piece “Undo” for the bass clarinet duo Sqwonk and my bass clarinet writing for Slow/Fast.  As I continue to explore the bass clarinet, I’ve felt that much of the writing for the instrument short-changes its abilities.  Here, both Todd and I take two roles: that of support (myself in the low/bass notes of the horn, and Todd in the looping) as well as in lead/melody roles, which we can truly do in unison.
The title Storm Drain basically just made sense to me — a rare event when the title just makes sense to me without a struggle… and I think it’s somewhat “programmatic” in that it references the cascading violin pizzicatos.
A little secret is I’ve written a followup duo piece, called “Pay to Play” for violin and alto saxophone — which has a very different character to it — which we premiered in September at the Noguchi Museum in Queens.  Maybe we’ll release it as a download one of these days…

Outerborough revisited, digital delights and gifts from Todd Reynolds Music

Wishing you and your family great music, warm gatherings and the usual (but never-out-of-fashion) joy and peace this holiday season.

Just in time for Christmas, we’re throwing out a little celebration of our own!    Last March, Outerborough, my first release in years on the Innova label, hit the streets to some very lovely press and recognition, winding up with inclusion on many top-10s or 25s, and in Amazon’s Best of Classical.

To celebrate, we’re going to ramp things up a little and tell the internal story of the record with all our friends, both here and on Twitter and Facebook.  Here’s how we’re gonna do it.

In the next few weeks, we’ll roll out a special edition of the double CD, one track at a time, with extended liner notes and back story, music videos and more.  And what’s more, it’s all free, a gift from the partnership of Todd Reynolds and Innova Recordings – free streaming and sharing, what amounts to essentially unlimited listening. Granted, it’s not the same as holding a super-quality CD in your hand and putting it directly into your ears, but it will get you started. If you already have Outerborough, it will be great fun to get behind the scenes.

Every week we’ll issue a new track, which can be listened to in its entirety, in mp3 format, directly from Todd Reynolds Facebook Fan Page for its members.  Click the Like button, or share a track, and you’re in for the full ride, no matter when you subscribe.

Videos, photos, digital cover art, tales from the studio, Todd’s (that’s me) gonna blog it all, one tune at a time.  We’ll even get some perspective from some of the composers on the record as well, and make Outerborough as complete an experience as possible, as we embark on the next project.

We’ll start today with the Christmas tune!  Follow this link for our first entry about Icy Sleeves of Green, and check out the Band Page.  Alternatively, just click this link, and watch for entries here and on facebook, and enjoy!  Expect a little gift each week for the next few months!

Each entry, the player, the tunes, all are Likeable and Sharable. Please consider helping us spread the love.  It will help us make more of it!


Sounds of Snow and Ice – WNYC’s New Sounds with John Schaefer

Sounds of Snow and Ice – WNYC’s New Sounds with John Schaefer

Tonight!  December 23rd, 2011, the eve before the Eve, John Schaefer profiles “Icy Sleeves” from my March 2011 release, Outerborough, alongside Kate Bush’s new record. I’ve always been a Kate Bushfan to be sure, from her earliest records, but I never envisioned sharing an icy programming event with her.  Cheers, Kate, you’ve always been an inspiration, and continue to be.  To hear Icy Sleeves of Green and selections from “50 Words for Snow”, visit the link above at 11pm, EST and look to the right for the “listen now” button.  Remember WNYC and New Sounds with your charitable donations here at the end of the year. There is no overstating the difference public radio makes.

From the WNYC Website:

This New Sounds program gets all close and personal with the cold and the white, with the “Icy Sleeves of Green” by Todd Reynolds, and some songs from Kate Bush’s most recent record, “50 Words for Snow.”  We’ll hear songs about melting snowflakes and icicles, soundscapes evoking the blindingly white and bleak, and other works to paint wintry portraits of powdery drifts or stark frozen mountains.

Cycling ’74’s Expo ’74 – Starting up now, and closing with Todd n Luke DuBois

Expo ’74 begins today, and I couldn’t be more happy. Present at this weekend conference are simply tons of phenomenal electro musicians and a population of users who are passionate about this deep piece of coding. I’m even going to be hunting down a few folks from the inside to uncover some good improvising patches with which to collaborate on the fly on Sunday night at Issue Project Room. Details for the concert, which is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, and not just for attendees of the Expo, can be found by following this link.  Please note that this concert occurs at ISSUE’s new 110 Livingston Street Space in Brooklyn, not at the Can Factory!

ISSUE Project Room will host the closing party forExpo ’74 at its 110 Livingston Street space on Sunday, October 16. Luke DuBois, the primary architect of Jitter and an ISSUE Project Room board member, and violinist Todd Reynolds will perform.

Doors are at 7:30, and the concert will begin at 8:30.

Photo by Peter Gannushkin.