Friday, October 07, 2005

Kronos is coming

The Kronos String Quartet is on their way to Portsmouth this winter and it is a concert not to miss.

I first saw Kronos live at Harvard University in 1989 or 90, at the annual Fromm Foundation concert. I still remember the program vividly (which is rarely the case fifteen years following a concert). It included a world premeire by Steve Mackey, John Zorn's Cat O' Nine Tails and Steve Reich's masterpiece Different Trains. I have not had the opportunity to hear the group live again since then, and now that they are on tap for the Music Hall's 2005-06 season, I can't wait to see/hear them again.

One of the most innovative ensembles in America, Kronos is a champion of new music, and is one of those rare gems that bridges the worlds of "pop" and "classical" without losing their integrity. Famous for their rendition of Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze which they once used regularly as their encore (I don't know that they still do), I also heard them play Hendrix's Foxy Lady at that concert 15 years ago - an arrangement by Mackey, who had his work premiered that night.

Kronos is a group who brings wonderful energy to the stage, takes the leap that many are afraid to take. Their recordings are vast and eclectic. From playing tangos with Astor Piazzolla, to George Crumb's apocalyptic Black Angels to the minimalist works of Reich, Terry Riley, and lesser known Kevin Volans.

While it was great to see Turtle Island here this past spring, Kronos brings a whole new level of gravitas to the stage. I will be putting together a group to go see this concert. Let me know if you want to come along for the ride - I'll arrange the tickets at a group rate. They'll be here Wednesday, January 11, 2006 at 7:30 p.m. at the Music Hall.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Autumn is here

That special time of year in New England has arrived. Use it as motivation.

I am particularly fond of the fall. It is the time of year when I find myself most productive, and in many ways content. There are a few major factors I attribute this to:

1) I live in New England, where fall is a beautiful season of changing colors. We harvest apples, go on nature hikes and feel invigorated by the cooler weather. I've always found being active in the cooler autumn is much more plesant than during the sticky, hot summer.

2) The academic year begins in September, hitting full stride around October 1st. After a summer break, I am ready to set new goals and find this to be an extremely productive time of year.

3) As strange as it may seem to many musicians, I enjoyed my marching experience in my youth. (many older musicians look down on this sort of activity, unfortunately) I was a band kid and fall was always marching season. The memories of friendships built around this activity make fall a positive time of reminiscence.

Now that fall is here, I find myself setting new goals for the 05-06 school year. I hope you will do the same. It is a great time to recommit to lofty aspirations, especially creative endeavors. Get that musical instrument back out of its case and make some music. Pull out those watercolors and paint an autumn landscape. Sit down with your pencil, pen, typewriter or PC and finish that novel, write that poem, or chronicle your life. It is in these passions of creativity that we find satisfaction in life. Take the changing of season as an opportunity to reunite with your creative side. I'll be right there with you.