Music That Resists An Audience

Since my previous post, reflecting on a simple reason why audiences are so small for new music concerts, I’ve had a wave of comment come my way, either directly on the blog (you can read for yourself) or via twitter or rebloggings or facebook sharings, even emails sent directly to me. It was fascinating to see the kaleidoscope of angles taken when referring to the piece. To some it was a piece about the fragmentation of audiences in the 21st century; to others it was about what a venue/artist partnership looks like; to others it was a checklist of great ideas for audience building. And the post has been shared by visual artists, choreographers, jazz musicians and pop producers. Amongst the positive responses are lines like “I’d kiss you. But then people would talk.” (thanks Rebekah!) and “Well written punchy piece by @ElissaMilne delivers knockout blow to new music narcissism then picks it up off the mat.” (thanks Séan). And “What she said”,

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Generation Gap: Thomas Adès’ “Asyla” and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1

It has taken me 13 years to finally connect with the sound world of Thomas Adès, with the moment of sonic truth happening last Thursday night at the second of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s most recent Meet the Music concerts (a repeat of the program from the night before). [Meet the Music is the SSO’s high school student oriented concert series]. I had hurriedly bought a ticket that afternoon after realising that Asyla was on the program (although on discovering Adès was both featured in the program and conducting his work himself it really wouldn’t have mattered which of his compositions were slated to be played); with only 24 seats left unsold I didn’t have much to choose from, but that suited me well, as new work is always fun to experience with an excellent view of the percussionists. This was to be my first experience of Adès’ music in live performance, but I’d heard some excerpts from his opera

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ISCM Thursday May 6 lunchtime (a belated commentary)

Much delayed: my review of the fabulous (but not so fabulously named) “Young and the Restless” concert given by Ensemble Offspring as part of the ISCM World New Music Days. Middle of the day, middle of the metropolis, this concert was programmed at the Riverside Theatre complex in the smaller sized of the two theatres. This meant that the quite large (by contemporary music standards) crowd really did fill the space, and one found oneself making both eye contact and conversation with fellow audience members – not the norm, by any means, at a new music concert. The concert was a sampling of music by composers under the age of 35. Once upon a time someone the age of 35 would consider themselves far from young, but for at least the last decade youth has been bureaucratically bestowed upon anyone under the age of 40, so this representation was certainly youthful by these standards. The first work Item 1, 2,

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ISCM Sydney/2010 Part I

Last Friday night I attended the opening night of this year’s ISCM World New Music Days, held in Sydney (and Australia, and the Southern Hemisphere for that matter) for the first time. It’s been a while since I attended a wholly ‘new music’ event, so I was prepared for a gear-shifting sensation as I eased back into the particular mode of being that best copes with presentations of entirely new (but frequently not entirely fabulous) music in the classical/art music tradition.  In fact, it’s been a while since I attended a chamber music event of any kind, so the gear shifting involved both genre and tradition. Added to this, I was scooting off at the conclusion to join my husband at the Walkley Press Freedom dinner (Qantas had invited the 2UE breakfast hosts to their table, both immediate past – Mike Carlton – and present – my husband, John, and Sandy Aloisi) so I was slightly too dressed up for

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