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  • Sunday, December 2, 2007
    Wordless Music Series Successfully Joins Classical and Contemporary

    Last Wednesday, Nonesuch Records' production coordinator, Ronen Givony, was listening to an eclectic set of music—piano pieces by Haydn and Messiaen, some electronic tunes, new music for laptop and strings. Not an unlikely mix off the iPod shuffle here at the office. But for this particular listening, Ronen was at a concert at the Good-Shepherd Faith Church on Manhattan's Upper West Side for the much rarer thrill of attending a concert he had produced himself. It was the latest event in the successful series he created last year called Wordless Music.

    As with Wednesday's program—featuring electronic minimalist composer Max Richter, filmmaker Matt Hulse, electronica creator Cepia, and classical pianist Assaff Weisman—concerts in the Wordless Music series pairs indie rockers and electronica artists with classical music performers. Ronen created the series to open fans of the former to what, for many, may be the unfamiliar sounds of the latter, or, as he recently told Gramophone magazine, "to begin converting my fellow rock 'n' roll fans to chamber music."

    The first concert in the series took place just over a year ago and brought together avant-garde icon Elliot Sharp, Wilco's drummer Glenn Kotche (pictured above left) and guitarist Nels Cline (above right), and pianist Jenny Lin. Concerts this season have matched the band Beirut with a performance of Osvaldo Golijov's The Dreams and Prayers of Issac the Blind; composer/performers Sigur Rós, Valgeir Sigurðsson, and Nico Muhly; Grizzly Bear with pianist Michael Harrison; and the band Múm with cello and piano works by Bach and Ligeti, among others.

    The non-classical performers tend to be the draw for the vast majority of the sold-out crowds, but as Ronen told Gramophone, that audience is made up of intellectually curious music fans, "ripe for being turned on to the sound world of someone who would meet them halfway about classical music." He continues:

    Most young people who consider themselves voracious music listeners as a matter of course expect their friends to be familiar with not only rock, but hip-hop and international music, so this [series] is part of moving towards musical landscapes where these sound worlds are neighbors, instead of having this strict firewall between them.

    Up next in the series are the much-anticipated January 16 and 17 concerts at The Church of St. Paul the Apostle featuring John Adams's Christian Zeal and Activity and the US premiere of Jonny Greenwood's Popcorn Superhet Receiver for string orchestra, led by conductor Brad Lubman.

    For more information on Wordless Music, pick up the November issue of Gramophone magazine and visit wordlessmusic.org.

    Journal Articles:Staff

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Wordless Music Series Successfully Joins Classical and Contemporary

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on December 2, 2007 - 7:14pm
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Sunday, December 2, 2007 - 21:15
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Last Wednesday, Nonesuch Records' production coordinator, Ronen Givony, was listening to an eclectic set of musicpiano pieces by Haydn and Messiaen, some electronic tunes, new music for laptop and strings. Not an unlikely mix off the iPod shuffle here at the office. But for this particular listening, Ronen was at a concert at the Good-Shepherd Faith Church on Manhattan's Upper West Side for the much rarer thrill of attending a concert he had produced himself. It was the latest event in the successful series he created last year called Wordless Music.

 

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Last Wednesday, Nonesuch Records' production coordinator, Ronen Givony, was listening to an eclectic set of music—piano pieces by Haydn and Messiaen, some electronic tunes, new music for laptop and strings. Not an unlikely mix off the iPod shuffle here at the office. But for this particular listening, Ronen was at a concert at the Good-Shepherd Faith Church on Manhattan's Upper West Side for the much rarer thrill of attending a concert he had produced himself. It was the latest event in the successful series he created last year called Wordless Music.

As with Wednesday's program—featuring electronic minimalist composer Max Richter, filmmaker Matt Hulse, electronica creator Cepia, and classical pianist Assaff Weisman—concerts in the Wordless Music series pairs indie rockers and electronica artists with classical music performers. Ronen created the series to open fans of the former to what, for many, may be the unfamiliar sounds of the latter, or, as he recently told Gramophone magazine, "to begin converting my fellow rock 'n' roll fans to chamber music."

The first concert in the series took place just over a year ago and brought together avant-garde icon Elliot Sharp, Wilco's drummer Glenn Kotche (pictured above left) and guitarist Nels Cline (above right), and pianist Jenny Lin. Concerts this season have matched the band Beirut with a performance of Osvaldo Golijov's The Dreams and Prayers of Issac the Blind; composer/performers Sigur Rós, Valgeir Sigurðsson, and Nico Muhly; Grizzly Bear with pianist Michael Harrison; and the band Múm with cello and piano works by Bach and Ligeti, among others.

The non-classical performers tend to be the draw for the vast majority of the sold-out crowds, but as Ronen told Gramophone, that audience is made up of intellectually curious music fans, "ripe for being turned on to the sound world of someone who would meet them halfway about classical music." He continues:

Most young people who consider themselves voracious music listeners as a matter of course expect their friends to be familiar with not only rock, but hip-hop and international music, so this [series] is part of moving towards musical landscapes where these sound worlds are neighbors, instead of having this strict firewall between them.

Up next in the series are the much-anticipated January 16 and 17 concerts at The Church of St. Paul the Apostle featuring John Adams's Christian Zeal and Activity and the US premiere of Jonny Greenwood's Popcorn Superhet Receiver for string orchestra, led by conductor Brad Lubman.

For more information on Wordless Music, pick up the November issue of Gramophone magazine and visit wordlessmusic.org.

featuredimage: 
Glenn Kotche, Nels Cline: Wordless Music, December 2007

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