Day 5: Thanks to You

The composers are busily getting final preparations ready for tonight’s concert – at 8pm at the Ethical Society in Rittenhouse Square! The Philly concert has been almost a year in the making. It’s taken countless hours of composing, grant-writing, logistical preparation, mailing of press kits, and countless other steps to the process  — all a coordinated effort between composers in three different time zones!

And yet, as hard as we’ve worked to make this a reality, we could never have done it alone. This week, and the concert tonight that it’s been leading to, are the product of not only our elbow grease, but the generosity, support, and efforts of countless friends and colleagues who helped us make this happen. As we get ready to do our part for new music in Philadelphia and in America, we need to say a few words of thanks:

– First of all, thanks to the wonderful performers at ensemble39, whose hours spent rehearsing, practicing and recording are the only reason this concert can happen at all.

– Thanks to the First Friday Philadelphia Series and its art galleries for giving us a chance to preview some of these works, and generate a buzz among people who may never have found us otherwise.

– A special thanks to the Curtis Institute of Music, for allowing us the generous use of their rehearsal spaces this week.

– Thanks to the American Composers Forum, the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, the UMKC Conservatory of Music, the Boyer College of Music at Temple University, and many others for their financial support in making this concert a reality.

– Thanks to Bob Aldridge, the School of Music at Rutgers University, and their wonderful composers for being so hospitable for our workshop yesterday.

– And, perhaps most importantly, thank you to all of the individuals who donated so generously to our Fractured Atlas Campaign. The individual donations aren’t just vital to the financial success of small projects like ours, they are the surest vote of confidence in our work, in the power and importance of new music, and in its ability to make an impact in communities. You are the reason, in so many ways, that we worked to make this concert a reality, and we are tremendously grateful.

And now, one final reminder: Tonight, 8pm, at the Ethical Society in Rittenhouse Square, in Philadelphia, PA. $15 GA, $10 students. Reception to follow. Come hear the wonderful performers of ensemble39 lend their talents and sensibilities to an up-and-coming generation of composers. We’ll look forward to seeing you there!

 

Posted in Blog Post | Leave a comment

Day 4: Rehearsals and Rutgers

Yesterday, the Curtis Institute of Music was afire with activity; in addition to the regular hustle and bustle of the last few days, Melosians Brian Penkrot and Corey Keating arrived in town (with Patrick Chan right behind them). And, of course, we wrapped rehearsals for tonight’s concert!

The Melosians carry with them a wealth of experience with rehearsal weeks like this. We know that they can be frustrating, exhausting, and extremely long days for all involved. And yet no matter how many times we go through this process, our reaction is always the same:

Image

Exhaustion, with just a hint of smug satisfaction.

As if it wasn’t already obvious from the last three days, the talented musicians of ensemble39 are superhuman. They powered through the seven-hour rehearsal day like it was just a normal day at the office. And they even managed to retain their smiles – now that’s professionalism!

Image

Gabe and Nigel laughing during rehearsal

Stas can almost keep a straight face during Jason's "Asymptotic Flux"

Stas can almost keep a straight face during Jason’s “Asymptotic Flux”

Alexandra von der Embse, oboe, and Jessica Chang work on Brian Penkrot's "Narcissus Chamber"

Alexandra von der Embse, oboe, and Jessica Chang work on Brian Penkrot’s “Narcissus Chamber”

Jason at the mixer board during recording

Jason at the mixer board for Asymptotic Flux

But that wasn’t all; yesterday Melos took their act on the road, visiting New Brunswick, NJ to pay a visit to Rutgers University. The newly-appointed Director of the School of Music at Rutgers was the mentor to many of us during our time at Brevard, and is coming off of his first Grammy win for Best Classical Composition: none other than Bob Aldridge! The Grammy-winning composer holds a very special place in the Melos pantheon; those of us that studied with him are all much better composers for it. And he’s just won a Grammy!

Did we mention that he's a Grammy winner?

Did we mention that he’s a Grammy winner?

Dr. Aldridge (a Grammy winner!) invited the Melos crew to visit Rutgers and give a talk to the composers at Rutgers. As is so often the case when composers congregate, there was a lot of music, a lot of questionably-working technology, and a fair amount of smarminess from Dan Temkin:

The workshop at Rutgers

The workshop at Rutgers

DSCN6754

The workshop at Rutgers, with Grammy-winning composer Bob Aldridge

And as is our other composerly custom, the long, long day was summarily rounded out with… a round.

IMG_0072

From left to right: Brian Penkrot, Jason Thorpe Buchanan, Bob Aldrige, Dan Temkin, and Ryan Olivier

And in the afterglow this morning, we turn our focus back to tonight’s concert! This evening, at 8pm at the Ethical Society in Rittenhouse Square, the musicians of ensemble39 will deliver eight premiere performances of works by young composers around the country. The ensemble is in top form, the composers are ready, and we’re expecting an evening to remember! If you’re in Philadelphia, this is one not to miss!

Posted in Blog Post | Leave a comment

Philly Day 2-3: Putting it Together

Today and tomorrow, the rest of the Melos Philly crew will be arriving to lend a hand and put final preparations in place for the recording sessions and the Friday concert. For the last few days, though, our skeleton crew of Dan, David, Ryan and Jason has been running the show. Tuesday was another rehearsal day, getting the rest of the program in working order for the recording sessions, which begin today! Here are a few action shots of the rehearsals:

photo

The quartet rehearses Dan’s “Spinning Wheels”

Becky Anderson, violin, trying to ignore our recording setup

Becky Anderson, violin, trying to ignore our recording setup

Wednesday was a free day, and the composers engaged in a composer’s favorite pastime:

Thanks for the hospitality, Fado Irish Pub!

Thanks for the hospitality, Fado Irish Pub!

Today we’re back to the grind, starting with a lecture/workshop by some of the composers at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, Dan’s alma mater! And in case you’ve forgotten (we haven’t), today is the first (and hopefully only!) day for recording our Melos 2012 CD. If you were one of our extremely generous Fractured Atlas donors, you may have chosen the CD as an incentive; we’ll have it on its way to you as soon as it’s ready! If not, never fear – it will be for sale shortly after it goes to press! Check back to the Melos blog often for more info.

We’re getting excited for tomorrow’s concert. Ensemble39 is sounding amazing, and with every composer that lands in Philly the anticipation gets a bit higher! We’ll have more stories of the Melos Philly preparations in the coming days; check the blog tomorrow morning for some highlights from today’s recording session, lecture, and more.

Posted in Blog Post | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Philly Day 1: It Begins!

Concert week – that emotional rollercoaster leading us into Friday’s recital – has officially begun! The out-of-town composers are heading into Philadelphia as fast as they can, but fortunately Melos already has boots on the ground. Dan, Ryan and David have been directing traffic, tying up loose ends, and – most importantly – leading rehearsals of the music with our friends at ensemble39.

A lot of our concert prep has stayed constant from our smashing San Francisco debut in 2011, but we are doing just a few things differently this year. For example, Philly marks the first time in Melos history that the concert will feature live technology! While there’s no live electronics processing or manipulation involved, Jason’s Asymptotic Flux features an amplification setup designed to make the quartet sound much, much larger. Check out just a taste of the hardware at play:

A look at the quartet, all wired up

A look at the quartet, all wired up

The amplification console for Asymptotic Flux

The amplification console for Asymptotic Flux

Jason, drunk with the power of electronic assistance

Jason, drunk with the power of electronic assistance

Some things never change, though. While we’re conducting rehearsals this year at the Curtis Institute of Music and not the San Francisco Conservatory, the luxury accommodations are about the same.

David rehearsing his Trio in a Curtis rehearsal room

David rehearsing his Trio in a Curtis rehearsal room

Naturally, our guest performers this year are just as incredible as ever.

Stas Chernyshev, clarinet

Stas Chernyshev, clarinet

Jessica Chang, viola

Jessica Chang, viola

…and of course, the exhaustion is just as overwhelming as last year.

David, it's not even Day 2 yet.

David, it’s not even Day 2 yet.

We’ll be keeping you updated all week with audio samples, photos, and stories from the city of Brotherly Love, all leading up to our 2012 3rd Annual Recital this Friday, December 7, at the Ethical Society. If you’re near Philadelphia, we hope to see you there; if you’re at large, check back here often – we’ll do our best to make you feel like you’re right here with us!

3rd Annual Recital… here we go!

Posted in Blog Post | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment