Friday, February 1, 2013

21ST-CENTURY MUSIC / February 2013


February 2013

Volume 20, Number 2

John Zorn / Mark Alburger

Chronicle of December 2012


Illustration / John Zorn

Editorial Staff

Mark Alburger


Harriet March Page

Patti Noel Deuter

Erling Wold

Elizabeth Agnew
Alexis Alrich
Katherine Buono
Ken Bullock
A.J. Churchill
David Cleary
Jeff Dunn
Phillip George
Elliot Harmon
Brian Holmes
Jeff Kaliss
John Lane
Arel Lucas
Michael McDonagh
Chip Michael
Tom Moore
William Rowland
Lisa Scola Prosek
Andrew Shapiro
Alice Shields


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John Zorn / Mark Alburger

John Zorn (b. 9/ 2/53, New York, NY) learned flute, guitar, and piano as a child.

He grew up in a household of sound: his mother listened to classical and world music; his father to jazz, French chansons, and country music; and his older brother to doo-wop, and 50's rock and roll.

Zorn recalled an episode of his life, after buying a record by Mauricio Kagel in 1968 at the age of fifteen, that influenced his subsequent taste for experimental and avant-garde music:]

"Kagel, Improvisation Ajoutée.  I bought this when I was about 15. . . . [G]ot it at Sam Goody in September, for 98 cents. And it's a really crazy piece, with the guys screaming and hooting, something that attracted me. I was over at my friend's house, and he really liked the Rolling Stones. And I just got this record, and I put it on and he looked at me like...who the hell are you? Are you out of your mind? And his mother was there, and she was like . . . my God, take this off... and right then and there, I decided: this was the music.

Zorn spent time in his teenage years listening to classical music, film music, and The Doors, and playing bass in a surf band.

He taught himselforchestration and counterpoint, transcribing scores and composing, a procedure of "plagiarizing, stealing, quoting, or whatever you can call it," of collage and transposition into his own world, that he has been using throughout his career.

Zorn began playing saxophone after discovering Anthony Braxton's album For Alto (1969) while studying composition at Webster University, St. Louis, MO.

His Christabel, for five flutes, was written in 1972 and first appeared on Angelus Novus in 1998. 

While still in college, Zorn incorporated elements of contemporary classical music, free jazz, film scores, performance art and the cartoon scores of Carl Stalling into his first recordings which were later released in 1973.

Following a stint on the West Coast, Zorn moved back to New York. There he gave concerts in his apartment and other small NY venues, playing saxophone and a variety of reeds, duck calls, tapes, and other instruments.

In 1975, he founded the Theatre of Musical Optics, which later became his publishing house, and became a major participant in the downtown music scene as a composer, performer, and producer
Zorn later used the term "Theatre of Musical Optics" for the publishing company of his compositions.

Zorn's early compositions include "game pieces" or "game theories", described as "complex systems harnessing improvisers in flexible compositional formats," which involve "strict rules, role playing, prompters with flashcards, all in the name of melding structure and improvisation in a seamless fashion."

Game pieces are often named after sports, and include Baseball (1976), Lacrosse (1976), Dominoes (1977), Curling (1977), Golf (1977), Hockey (1978), Cricket (1978), and Fencing (1978).

The Book of Heads, 35 etudes for solo guitar written in 1978 for Eugene Chadbourne, was followed by Pool (1979), and Archery (1979). 

In 1981, Zorn was "blowing duck calls in buckets of water at fringe venues," which included 8BC, Roulette, Chandelier, and Zorn's own clubhouse, the Saint.

Zorn's first solo saxophone and duck call recordings were originally released in two volumes as The Classic Guide to Strategy in 1983 and 1986 on Lumina.  Zorn's early small group improvisations are documented on Locus Solus (1983) which featured Zorn with Anton Fier, Wayne Horvitz, Arto Lindsay, Christian Marclay, and Ikue Mori.

His best-known game piece is Cobra (1984), first released in 1987 and subsequently in 1992, 1994, and 2002, with many further revisions in performance.

Ganryu Island featured a series of duets by Zorn with Satoh Michihiro on shamisen, which received limited release on Yukon in 1984.

Zorn's breakthrough recording was The Big Gundown: John Zorn Plays the Music of Ennio Morricone (1985), where Zorn offered radical arrangements of the Italian composer's film music including The Big Gundown (1966), Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), A Fistful of Dynamite (1971), and Once Upon a Time in America (1984).  The album was endorsed by Morricone, who praised it, saying "This is a record that has fresh, good and intelligent ideas. It is realization on a high level, a work done by a maestro with great science-fantasy and creativity... Many people have done versions of my pieces, but no one has done them like this."

Zorn's versions incorporated elements of traditional Japanese music, soul jazz, and other diverse musical genres.  The 15th-anniversary re-release of the album featured additional explorations.

Zorn remembers that after "The Big Gundown came out I was convinced that a lot of soundtrack work was going to be coming my way".

While Hollywood acclaim was not forthcoming, he attracted the attention of independent filmmakers, the first being Rob Schwebber for White and Lazy followed by Sheila McLaughlin's She Must Be Seeing Things, both in 1986).
That same year, he first released Godard, a tribute to French film-maker Jean-Luc Godard, whose jump-cut technique inspired Zorn's compositional approach, on the  album The Godard Fans: Godard Ca Vous Chante?
Also in 1986 Zorn participated in projects focused on modern jazz composers which highlighted his saxophone style.

He followed this with his second major-label release Spillane in 1987, composed of three different tributes.  The title track has text by Arto Lindsay, set to an array of film-noir references;  Two-Lane Highway is a blues-based form to highlight the guitar of Albert Collins; and Forbidden Fruit concludes in homage to a Japanese film star, as performed by the Kronos Quartet.

Zorn credits the composition of his 1988 string quartet Cat O' Nine Tails, commissioned and originally released by Kronos, to awakening him to the possibilities of writing for classical musicians. 

Nevertheless, Zorn established Naked City that year as a "compositional workshop" to test the limitations of the rock band format.

Featuring Zorn on saxophone, Bill Frisell (guitars), Fred Frith (bass), Wayne Horvitz (keyboards), Joey Baron (drums), and occasional vocals from Yamatsuka Eye, Bob Dorough, and later Mike Patton -- Naked City highlighted  Zorn's appreciation of hardcore bands.

Named after a 1945 book of graphic black and white photographs by Weegee the band performed an aggressive mix of "soundtrack themes, bluesy hard bop, speedy hardcore rock, squealing free jazz  metallic funk."
Zorn has stated that "Naked City started with rhythm and blues / Spillane type things then went into this hard-core thing... because I was living in Japan and experiencing a lot of alienation and rejection... My interest in hard-core also spurred the urge to write shorter and shorter pieces."

In 1989, the cover of their eponymous album used the Weegee photograph Corpse with Revolver C.A. 1940, which shows a gangland killing.  This was directly followed by Torture Garden, a collection of 42 "hardcore miniatures," intense brief compositions often lasting less than a minute.

He composed, in 1990 the soundtrack for Raul Ruiz' The Golden Boat. All aforementioned film scores appeared on Filmworks 1986-1990 along with a 64-second interpretation of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Zorn formed Painkiller, with Bill Laswell on bass and Mick Harris on drums, in 1991.  Painkiller's first two releases, Guts of a Virgin (1991) and Buried Secrets (1992), featured short grindcore and free jazz-inspired compositions.

Zorn's second Filmworks release documented his Music for an Untitled Film by Walter Hill (1996) which was composed for the film Trespass (1992).

Older tracks resurfaced on Naked City's third release, Grand Guignol (1992), which also included performances of works by Claude Debussy, Alexander Scriabin, Orlande de Lassus, Charles Ives, and Olivier Messiaen.  At this point, Zorn left Electra Nonesuch after the company's response to the artwork for the album, releasing the remaining Naked City projects on the Japanese-based Avant.

The band's subsequent album, Heretic (1992), featured more short improvisations, produced for the soundtrack of an underground S/M film Jeux des Dames Cruelles. The band released a second EP, Leng Tch'e, in 1992 featuring a single composition which lasted just over half an hour.

As Zorn's interest in Naked City waned he "started hearing classical music in [his] head again.  The responses to this included the suites Elegy (1992) (dedicated to Jean Genet) and Kristallnacht (1993), for strings, percussion, and electronic instruments.

John Zorn recorded Kristallnacht in November 1992, his first work of radical Jewish culture,  a suite of seven compositions reflecting the infamous 1938 Night of Broken Glass. The experience prompted Zorn to further explore his Jewish heritage and composing using Jewish musical styles, setting himself the task of writing 100 compositions within a year incorporating klezmer into his musical palette.

Naked City continued with Radio, released in 1993, as the first of the group's albums to be composed solely by Zorn, and featured tracks drawing on a typical wide range of musical influences: Boredoms, Sammy Cahn, Carcass, Ornette Coleman, Corrosion of Conformity, Extreme Noise Terror, Morton Feldman, Funkadelic, Charlie Haden, Bernard Herrmann, Quincy Jones, Carole King, Led Zeppelin, Liberace, Little Feat, Massacre, Charles Mingus, Orchestra Baobab, Santana, Frank Sinatra, Igor Stravinsky, Booker T. and the M.G.'s, Conway Twitty, Anton Webern, and Roger Williams.

The final recording from Naked City, Absinthe (1993) was a blend of ambient noise compositions titled after the works of Paul Verlaine and Charles Baudelaire, with a dedication to Olivier Messiaen. 

Painkiller's first live album, Rituals: Live in Japan, on Toys Factory, 1993, was followed by the double CD Execution Ground (1994), which featured longer dub and ambient pieces.

By 1994, the number of short post-Kristallnacht compositions had grown to 200 and became known as the First Masada Book.  Zorn notes:

"The project for Masada was to create something positive in the Jewish tradition, something that maybe takes the idea of Jewish music into the 21st century the way jazz developed from the teens and 1920's into the 40's, the 50's, the 60's and on. . . .  My initial plan was to write 100 tunes in a year that touched upon the Jewish tradition and that was an interesting challenge.  It was really fun as a composer to come home and write a something that could be finished sometimes in 10 minutes, sometimes in an hour or sometimes an evening. . . . The Masada songbook was really something that was like the Irving Berlin songbook or the Burt Bacharach songbook or the Thelonious Monk songbook. Here's another lifetime for me.  So when I look at what's been accomplished in the world of Masada, it's kind of unbelievable.  Of course I had no idea at the times I started.  My initial idea was to write a hundred tunes. And then I ended up writing over 200 for the first book and then performed it countless time for years."

The initial Masada releases were ten albums on DIW from 1994.  The eponymous group (later dubbed the "acoustic" Masada) was an Ornette Coleman-inspired quartet of Zorn (alto saxophone), Dave Douglas (trumpet), Greg Cohen (bass), and Joey Baron (drums), performing compositions based on Sephardic scales and rhythms.  The original Masada albums were titled after the first ten letters of the Hebrew Alphabet – Alef, Beit, Gimel, Dalet, Hei, Vav, Zayin, Het, Tet and Yod -- and contained compositions with Hebrew titles.  Further releases by Masada consisted of live performances recorded in Jerusalem, Taipei, Middleheim, Seville, and in New York at the Knitting Factory and Tonic, and a double CD of unreleased studio recordings, Sanhedrin 1994-1997 (2005).

In 1995, in co-operation with jazz producer Kazunori Sugiyama, Zorn established the Tzadik label to ensure availability of his catalogue and promote experimental musicians. Zorn said that the label is a way to shield from the power of the music industry, with "giant corporations acting like slave masters, like the return of the pharaohs," merging to get even more powerful like in the Polygram-Universal acquisition; and to shield from distribution companies like Tower, HMV, and Virgin Megastores, that are destroying "the small mom and pop stores -- people that love the music and that’s why they have their store," and from the insidious pollution of the tastes of the masses, "with brainwashing and brain-control. These marketing guys who are at the head of all these companies, they’re really the ones that are spoon-feeding everybody shit."

The label's releases are divided into series:  The Archival Series features Zorn's recordings, including re-releases of several albums that appeared on other labels, Zorn's film work, and recordings from 1973 onwards;  The Composer Series features Zorn's music for "classical" ensembles along with work by many other contemporary composers; The Radical Jewish Culture Series features contemporary Jewish musicians. The New Japan Series covers Japanese underground music; The Film Music Series features soundtracks by other musicians; The Oracle Series promotes women in experimental music; The Key Series presents notable avant-garde musicians and projects; The Lunatic Fringe Series releases music and musicians operating outside of the broad categories offered by other series;] and The Spotlight Series promotes new bands and musical projects of young musicians.

With the establishment of Tzadik, Zorn released many classical composition written over the previous two decades.  Redbird, containing new works for bass drums and a harp/viola/cello/percussion quartet inspired by Agnes Martin, and The Book of Heads were released that year as part of the Composer Series.

Filmworks III: 1990-1995 (1997) featured the first recordings by the Masada lineup for Joe Chappelle's Thieves Quartet (1993) along with early drafts for the Cynical Hysterie Hour project, duets with Marc Ribot which featured in Mei-Juin Chen's Hollywood Hotel (1994), and a series of commercial soundtracks for the advertising firm Weiden and Kennedy, including one directed by Jean-Luc Godard.

Filmworks IV: S&M + More (1997) and Filmworks V: Tears of Ecstasy (1996) both included music written for films dealing with bondage and discipline, and sadomasochism.

Filmworks VI: 1996 contains the soundtracks to three underground films produced in 1996; Dina Waxman's Anton, Mailman, Henry Hills's Mechanics of the Brain, and Maria Beatty's The Black Glove.

Filmworks VII: Cynical Hysterie Hour re-released themes that Zorn produced for a Japanese cartoon. Zorn regained the rights by trading a booking at The Knitting Factory to Sony executives.

Duras: Duchamp (1997) consists of two homages.  The first, dedicated to Marguerite Duras, has four movements lasting roughly 34 minutes, influenced by Oliver Messiaen; the second, 69 Paroxyms for Marcel Duchamp, lasts a bit over 13.

Aporias: Requia for Piano and Orchestra (1998) was Zorn's first full-scale orchestral release featuring pianist Stephen Drury, the Hungarian Radio Children's Choir and the American Composers Orchestra conducted by Dennis Russell Davies.

Zorn was quoted in 1998 as saying "Sometimes I get the feeling that people just don't see me as a composer, but it's what I've always been since I was eight years old... I've always thought of myself as a composer, but the world has had a hard time looking at me as a composer because a lot of what I compose is controversial."

Filmworks VIII: 1997 features music for the documentary Port Of Last Resort (1998), which detailed the experiences of Jewish refugees who fled to Shanghai during the years preceding World War II, and the soundtrack to the underground film Latin Boys Go to Hell (1997).

Further exploration of film noir were recorded for radio plays and released as The Bribe: Variations and Extensions on Spillane (1998).

Music for Children (1998), characterized as Music Romance Volume One, opens with a polyrhythmic etude for percussion and celeste.  It also features three short Naked City compositions, written at the time of Torture Garden, performed by Zorn with the Boston-based band Prelapse; a composition for wind machines and feedback dedicated to Edgard Varèse; a classical chamber piece for violin, percussion and piano; and ends with a music box-styled lullaby. The second Music Romance album, Taboo & Exile, was released in 1999 and featured a similar spectrum of broad styles.

Godard and Spillane were re-released as a single CD, Godard/Spillane, on Tzadik in 1999.  These pieces are described by Zorn as "file-card compositions," a method of combining composition and improvisation in which Zorn would write down a description of what he wanted on file-cards and arrange them to form the piece.

Cat O' Nine Tails is featured on The String Quartets (1999) and Cartoon S/M (2000), along with Variations on "Kol Nidre", inspired by the Jewish prayer of atonement which was written at the same time as (but not part of) the first Masada Book.

In 2000, Zorn edited Arcana: Musicians on Music, containing interviews, essays, and commentaries by Anthony Coleman, Peter Garland, David Mahler, Bill Frisell, Gerry Hemingway, George Lewis, Fred Frith, Eyvind Kang, Mike Patton, and Elliott Sharp.

Zorn's next soundtrack work did not appear until this year with Filmworks IX: Trembling Before G-d featuring music for an award winning documentary about gay and lesbian Orthodox Jews trying to reconcile their sexuality with their faith directed by Sandi Simcha DuBowski.

The following year Filmworks X: In the Mirror of Maya Deren (2001) featured music for a documentary by Martina Kudlacek on the life and work of underground filmaker Maya Deren.

One of Zorn's most popular albums was the third Music Romance album, The Gift (2001), which surprised many with its relaxed blend of surf, exotica, and world music.

Songs from the Hermetic Theatre (2001) features American Magus, Beuys Block, In the Very Eye of Night, and The Nerve Key, Zorn's first computer music.  Madness, Love and Mysticism (2001) featured Le Mômo (after Antonin Artaud), Untitled, and Amour FouChimeras (2001) was inspired by Arnold Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire.

The year 2002 was a very productive one for Zorn's cinematic scores.   Filmworks XI: Secret Lives (2002) featured the Masada String Trio performing music for Aviva Slesin's documentary film on Jewish children hidden from the Nazis.

Filmworks XII (2002) included music for three documentaries; Homecoming: Celebrating Twenty Years of Dance at PS 122; Shaolin Ulysses, a film about Shaolin Monks in America: and variations on the theme for Family Found, a documentary on outsider artist Morton Bartlett.

Zorn released his third soundtrack collection of the year with Filmworks XIII: Invitation to a Suicide, written for a black comedy about a man selling tickets to his own suicide to save his father's life.

Before year's end -- in addition to a second live Painkiller album, Talisman: Live in Nagoya -- Zorn recorded Hemophiliac in 2002 with Mike Patton and Ikue Mori, continuing his interest in hardcore improvisations.  The trio's first release was a limited double-CD set, signed by the performers, that soon became a highly sought-after collectors item.

At about the time of Naked City's brief re-formation for a European tour in 2003, the composer described the game pieces process: "I write in moments, in disparate sound blocks, so I find it convenient to store these events on filing cards so they can be sorted and ordered with minimum effort. Pacing is essential. If you move too fast, people tend to stop hearing the individual moments as complete in themselves and more as elements of a sort of cloud effect... I worked 10 to 12 hours a day for a week, just orchestrating these file cards. It was an intense process - one I don't want to go through again."

Zorn's "file-card" method of organizing sound blocks into an overall structure largely depended on the musicians he chose, the way they interpreted what was written on the file cards, and their relationship with Zorn. "I'm not going to sit in some ivory tower and pass my scores down to the players." said Zorn, "I have to be there with them, and that's why I started playing saxophone, so that I could meet musicians. I still feel that I have to earn a player's trust before they can play my music. At the end of the day, I want players to say: this was fun - it was a lot of fucking work, and it's one of the hardest things I've ever done, but it was worth the effort."

Zorn's next two Filmworks releases featured in documentaries examining Jewish identity and antisemitism. Filmworks XIV: Hiding and Seeking (2003) provided the soundtrack a documentary about an Orthodox Jewish father attempting to alert his sons of the dangers of creating barriers between themselves and those outside their faith.

In September 2003, Zorn celebrated his 50th birthday with a month-long series of performances at Tonic, repeating an event he had begun a decade earlier at the Knitting Factory.

He conceptualized the month into several different aspects of his musical output. Zorn's bands performed on the weekends, classical ensembles were featured on Sundays, Zorn performed improvisations with other musicians on Mondays, his extended compositions were featured on Tuesdays, and a retrospective of game pieces was given on Wednesdays.

Twelve live albums were released as the 50th Birthday Celebration Series which featured performances by the Masada String Trio, Milford Graves,  Locus Solus, Electric Masada, Fred Frithn, Hemophiliac, Masada, Susie Ibrarra, Wadada Leo Smith, Yamataka Eye, the, Bar Kokhba Sextet, Painkiller, and the Zorn / Patton / Mori trio.

Also in that year, A Tenth Anniversary Series of Masada recordings was released: five albums including Masada Guitars by Marc Ribot, Bill Frisell, and Tim Sparks; Masada Recital by Sylvie Courvoisier and Mark Feldman; Masada Rock by Rashanim; Voices in the Wilderness; and The Unknown Masada.

In 2004, Zorn began composing the Second Masada Book, The Book of Angels, resulting in an additional 300 compositions.

"After 10 years of performing the first book, I thought 'Maybe it'd be nice to write some more tunes.' And I wrote 300 more tunes. When I started writing those it was 'Let's see if I can write a hundred songs in a month this time.' I've been working on these scales and playing these tunes all this time. In the back of my head somewhere are lodged all kinds of new ideas. Let's see if I can come up with 100 tunes in a month instead of in a yr. So in the first month, I popped out a hundred tunes; the second month, another hundred; in the third month, a third 100 tunes. I had no idea that was going to happen."

Magick (2004) includes the Crowley Quartet on Necronomicon: For String Quartet and Sortilège, for two bass clarinets.

Painkiller is featured on Zorn's 50th Birthday Celebration: Volume 12 (2005) with Hamid Drake, replacing Harris on drums, and guest vocalist Mike Patton.

Filmworks XV: Protocols of Zion (2005) highlights music for a documentary about a resurgence of antisemitism in the United States in the wake of the September 11 attacks.  Filmworks XVI: Workingman's Death (2005) presents themes for a documentary portraying hazardous employment undertaken in the Ukraine, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and China.

Mysterium, released in 2005, includes Orphée, performed by a sextet of flute, viola, harp, harpsichord and electronics; Frammenti Del Sappho for female chorus; and Wulpurgisnacht for string trio. 

Rituals (2005) features Zorn's five-movement opera for mezzo soprano and ten instruments, composed for the Bayreuth Festival in 1998.

Zorn was the principal force in establishing The Stone in 2005, an avant-garde performance space in New York's Alphabet City which supports itself solely on donations and the sale of limited edition CD's, giving all door revenues directly to the performers.  Zorn holds the title of artistic director and regularly performs Improvisation Nights.

In 2006, Zorn formed the hardcore voice/bass/drums group of Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn, and Joey Baron -- which became known as Moonchild Trio.  That year two albums of Zorn's compositions performed by the trio were released: Moonchild: Songs Without Words and Astronome

Filmworks XVII (2006) features music for Martina Kudlacek's documentary Notes on Marie Menken intertwined with Zorn's percussive score for Beth Cataldo's portrait Ray Bandar: A Life with Skulls. Filmworks XVIII: The Treatment (2006) entails music for Oren Rudavsky's romantic comedy based on the tango music of Astor Piazolla.

The composition of Astronome dates from this year as well.

The Masada quartet performed at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in March 2007 for what were billed as their final concerts.

The next month, on April 13 -- Zorn played the final night at Tonic, the Lower East Side venue where he played regularly for the previous decade, which closed due to financial pressures.

A third Moonchild album -- featuring Zorn, Ikue Mori, Jamie Saft, and chorus -- Six Litanies for Heliogabalus, was also released that year, as well as From Silence to Sorcery, which includes Goetia, eight variations for solo violin; Gris-Gris for 13 tuned drums; and Shibboleth for clavichord, strings and percussion.

Zorn released the second volume of Arcana: Musicians on Music in the summer of 2007. According to the prefac "This second installment of what will be a continuing series of books presenting radical, cutting-edge ideas about music is made, like the initial volume, out of necessity."  This follow-up contains essays bySteve Coleman, David Douglas, Trevor Dunn, Jewlia Eisenberg, Annie Gosfield, Carla Kihlstedt, Bill Laswell, Zeena Parkins, Marina Rosenfeld, and Trey Spruance.

January 10, 2008, found Zorn performing with Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson at a special benefit night at The Stone, released as The Stone: Issue Three.

On February 4, Zorn premiered his work for three cellists 777, performed by Fred Sherry, Erik Friedlander, and Michael Nicolas at the Guggenheim Museum.

Also premiering that month was Shir Ha-Shirim, inspired by The Song of Solomon and performed by an amplified quintet of female singers with female and male narrators.  Anderson and Reed and Laurie Anderson read the texts in English

A third premiere of the month was The Dreamers with members of Electric Masada on February 29, at St Anne's Warehouse, Brooklyn.

The next month, on March 27, Columbia University's Miller Theater presented the premiere of The Prophetic Mysteries of Angels, Witches, and Demons.  

Filmworks XIX: The Rain Horse (2008) was written for an animated children's short film by Russian director Dimitri Gellar. Also released that year were Filmworks XX: Sholem Aleichem containing music for a documentary on the writer; Filmworks XXI: Belle de Nature / The New Rijksmuseum featuring soundtracks for another of Maria Beatty's films and a documentary on the restoration of the Amsterdam museum; and Filmworks XXII: The Last Supper.

Moonchild's fourth release, The Crucible, appeared this year as well.

Zorn also released The Dreamers, considered to be a sequel to The Gift.  T

In October 2008, a third volume of the Arcana series was released with essays by Greg Cohen, Frank London, Sean Lennon, Jamie Saft, and Wadada Leo Smith. 

The next year saw the issuing O'o, featuring the same players and spririt as The Dreamers.

Zorn reformed Masada as a sextet with Uri Caine and Cyro Baptista in 2009, noting,

"I felt like we kind of hit a plateau a little bit with it in 2007 and I said, 'Well, maybe the quartet is really done. Maybe we’ve accomplished what we can accomplish. Maybe it’s time to put this to bed.' And then I was asked by the Marciac Jazz Festival to put together a slightly larger group. They asked me what if I added a couple of people to Masada and I said, 'I can’t add anybody to the quartet. The quartet is the quartet, that’s what we do.' But then I thought, 'Well, if I was going to add someone I would probably ask Uri and Cyro.' So we tried it at Marciac and it was unbelievable. We didn’t even have any rehearsal time. I just passed the charts out and said, 'OK, just watch me because I’ll be conducting. Let’s just do it.' And it was one of those magical clicks on the bandstand that sometimes happens. So yeah, this band is taking off again. After 15 years of doing this music, we can still find new things."

In 2009, Richard Foreman directed Astronome: A Night at The Opera.

Volume IV of Arcana was released in September 2009, including essays by Derek Bailey, Nels Cline, Chris Cutler, Paul Dresher, Kenneth Gaburo, Shelley Hirsch, Wayne Horvitz, Vijay Iyer, Gordon Mumma, Matana Roberts, Katherine Supove and Carolyn Yarnell.  Volume V was issued in July 2010, subtitled Musicians on Music, Magic, and Mysticism.  Volume VI was published in 2012 with articles by Claire Chase, John Corigliano, Alan Gilbert, Hilary Hahn, David Lang, Tobias Picker, Gyan Riley, Jen Shyu, Julia Woolfe, Kenny Wollesen, and Charles Wuorinen.

Chronicle of December 2012

December 1

Dolci premieres Philip Freihofner's Filled with Moonlight.  Trinity Chapel, Berkeley, CA.

Guitarist Dieter Hennings in Antonio Jose's Sonata, Juan Trigos's Partita, and the premiere ofAnthony Korf's El Diario.  St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, San Bruno, CA.

December 3

Linda Bouchard's Murderous Little World.  ODC Theater, San Francisco, CA.  Repeated 12/10, REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA.  "Something important is said in "Murderous Little World." But what? 
This is Canadian composer Linda Bouchard's music theater collaboration with several of her country's exceptional artists. She has based her work on seven poems from Anne Carson's Men in the Off Hours. The 68-minute work . . . includes enigmatic video by Yan Breuleux and Frédéric St-Hilaire. It features a versatile three-man ensemble of brass and accordion -- Bellows and Brass -- that pretty much blew me away. Keith Turnbull has discreetly directed the production so that theater not burden poetry or music with extraneous explanation.  The short first poem in Carson's collection, which is the last in the theater piece, begins: 'Murderous little world once our objects had gazes.' It ends: 'Here lies the refugee breather/ Who drank a bowl of elsewhere.' Bouchard's music is the 'bowl of elsewhere.' The rest of the show, I'm not so sure of.  Murderous Little World begins with static produced by Bouchard, whose works often include environmental electronics, sitting in a darkened corner of the stage, operating two laptops. On the large video screen that served as the backdrop was a changing mosaic of news clips from political demonstrations in Katmandu, Nepal.  Guy Few sits in a chair, reading a book. He has a black bandanna over shaved head, earrings and is leather clad. He looks like trouble. But he eventually reveals himself as a brooding trumpet player, percussive pianist, hard-edged crooning singer and an actor of plastic expressivity. Joseph Petric sits near Bouchard and noodles on the accordion. Eric Vaillancourt comes along and noodles on the trombone. Some words from Carson's poem Hokusai appear on the screen, but not enough to tell us how Hokusai drew a lion every day in his 83rd and last year, 'their white paws/ mauling stars,' the painter 'hoping for/ a peaceful day.' . . .  On video a house of cards is constructed and destroyed, again and again. The musicians whirl in and out, with what can sound like improvisational imagery. But they also assume theatrical roles, playing an existential game of cards on three music stands bent horizontally to form a table. . . .  Carson introduces Men in the Off Hours with a meditation on Thucydides and Virginia Woolf. She looks at how reason and strength start to slip away not when war begins but later, when it's too late. For her 'Who drank a bowl of elsewhere' is a depiction of the fragility of life and of time.  At the end of "Murderous Little World," Few intones that line at the piano, longingly, over and over, and it turns into a question. So who drank a bowl of elsewhere?  There are many layers to shift through in Murderous Little World. Query the video and you might miss something in the music. Let a Carson line gyrate in your mind and you'll fail to capture another as it glides by. The sheer brilliance of Bellow and Brass may draw you to them alone. Bouchard's electronic soundscape is its own enchantment" [Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, 12/11/12].

December 4

New York Festival of Song presents Women: An Evening of Songs Exploring the Lives of Women.  John Musto's I Stop Writing the Poem and Rome: In the Cafe, Ned Rorem's A Birthday and We Never Said Farewell, Arnold Schoenberg's Galathea, Mark Adamo's The Racer’s Widow, Carla Kihlstedt's Woman’s Body, Harold Meltzer's Topography, Thea Musgrave's I Love My Jean, Judy Collins's My Father, Benjamin Britten's Sephestia’s Lullaby, and Mohammed Fairouz's A Prayer to the New Year.  Kauffman Center, Merkin Concert Hall, New York, NY.

December 5

Death of Dave[id Warren] Brubeck (b. 12/6/20, Concord, CA), a day before his 92nd birthday.  Norwalk, CT.  "In a long and successful career, Mr. Brubeck brought a distinctive mixture of experimentation and accessibility that won over listeners who had been trained to the sonic dimensions of the three-minute pop single.  Mr. Brubeck experimented with time signatures and polytonality and explored musical theater and the oratorio, baroque compositional devices and foreign modes. He did not always please the critics, who often described his music as schematic, bombastic and -- a word he particularly disliked -- stolid. But his very stubbornness and strangeness -- the blockiness of his playing, the oppositional push-and-pull between his piano and Paul Desmond’s alto saxophone -- make the Brubeck quartet’s best work still sound original.  Outside of the group’s most famous originals, which had the charm and durability of pop songs (Blue Rondo à la Turk, It’s a Raggy Waltz, and Take Five), some of its best work was in its overhauls of standards . . .  Surrounded by farms, his family lived a bucolic life: his father, Pete, was a cattle buyer for a meat company, and his mother, Elizabeth, was a choir director at the nearby Presbyterian church.  When Mr. Brubeck was 11, the family moved to Ione . . . where his father managed a 45,000-acre cattle ranch and owned his own 1,200 acres.  Forbidden to listen to the radio -- his mother believed that if you wanted to hear music you should play it -- Mr. Brubeck and his two brothers all played various instruments and knew classical etudes, spirituals, and cowboy songs. He learned most of this music by ear: because he was born cross-eyed, sight-reading was nearly impossible for him in his early years as a musician.  When Mr. Brubeck was 14 . . . he was paid $8 for playing from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m., with a one-hour break.  But until he went to college he was an aspiring rancher . . . .  At the College of the Pacific . . .  he first studied to be a veterinarian but switched to music . . . .  It was there that he learned about 20th-century culture and read . . . Freud, Marx, and serial music; it was also there that he met Iola Whitlock, a fellow student, who became his wife in 1942.  He graduated that year and immediately enlisted in the Army.  For two years he played with the . . . band at Camp Haan, in Southern California.  In 1944, Private Brubeck became a rifleman, entering basic training . . . and was then sent to Metz . . . .  When his new commanding officer heard him accompany a Red Cross traveling show one day, Mr. Brubeck recalled, he told his aide-de-camp, 'I don’t want that boy to go to the front.'  Thereafter, Mr. Brubeck led a band that was trucked into combat areas to play for the troops.  He was near the front twice, during the Battle of the Bulge, but he never fought.  Finished with the Army at 25, Mr. Brubeck moved with his wife into an apartment in Oakland . . . and, on a G.I. Bill scholarship, studied at Mills College . . . with . . . Darius Milhaud.  [The French composer] asked the . . . musicians in his class to write fugues for jazz ensembles, and Mr. Brubeck played the results at a series of performances . . .  . Brubeck had such admiration for his teacher that he named his first son, born in 1947, [after him]. . . . Brubeck first met his most important musical colleague, Mr. Desmond . . . in an Army band in 1943.  [The alto saxophonist] was a perfect foil; his lovely, impassive tone was as ethereal as Mr. Brubeck’s style was densely chorded.  In 1947, they met again and found instant musical rapport, fascinated by the challenge of using counterpoint in jazz.  Mr. Brubeck’s first group, an octet formed in 1946, contained several of Milhaud’s students, and played pieces influenced by his teachings, using canonlike elements.  The group’s earliest recorded work predated a much more famous set of similarly temperate jazz recordings, the 1948-50 Miles Davis Nonet work later packaged as Birth of the Cool.  In the late 1940's and early 50's Mr. Brubeck also led a trio with Ron Crotty on bass and Cal Tjader on drums.  It was around this time that he started to develop an audience.  He was given an initial boost by the San Francisco disc jockey Jimmy Lyons, later the founder of the Monterey Jazz Festival, who plugged the band on KNBC radio and helped secure it a record deal with Coronet.  In 1951 the trio expanded to a quartet, with Mr. Desmond returning. . . . Quickly the constitutionally different men -- Mr. Brubeck open, ambitious, and imposing; Mr. Desmond private, high-living, and self-effacing -- developed their lines of musical communication.   By the time of an engagement in Boston in the fall of 1952 they had become one of jazz’s greatest combinations.  The next part of the equation was a record label, and for that Mr. Brubeck had found another booster: Fantasy Records, just started by the brothers Max and Sol Weiss, who owned a record-pressing plant and had little interest in jazz apart from wanting to make a profit from it.  They did, eventually, with Mr. Brubeck.  But Iola Brubeck also played a role in the growth of his audience.  Before Mr. Brubeck became a client of the prominent manager Joe Glaser, she handled her husband’s business affairs.  In 1953, she wrote to more than a hundred universities, suggesting that the quartet would be willing to play for student associations.  The college circuit became the group’s bread and butter, and by the end of the 1950's it had sold hundreds of thousands of copies of its albums Jazz at Oberlin and Jazz Goes to College.  In 1954, Mr. Brubeck became only the second jazz musician (after Louis Armstrong) to be featured on the cover of Time magazine.  That year he signed with Columbia Records, promising to deliver two albums a year, and built a house in Oakland.  For all his conceptualizing, Mr. Brubeck often seemed more guileless and stubborn country boy than intellectual.  It is often noted that his piece The Duke -- memorably recorded by Miles Davis and Gil Evans in 1957 on their collaborative album Miles Ahead -- runs through all 12 keys in the first eight bars.  But Mr. Brubeck contended that he never realized that until a music professor told him.  Mr. Brubeck’s very personal musical language situated him far from the Bud Powell school of bebop rhythm and harmony; he relied more on chords, lots and lots of them, than on sizzling, hornlike right-hand lines. . . .  It took a little while for Mr. Brubeck to capitalize on the greater visibility his deal with Columbia gave him, and as he accommodated success a certain segment of the jazz audience began to turn against him. . . .  Still, by the end of the decade he had broken through with mainstream audiences in a bigger way than almost any jazz musician since World War II.  In 1958, as part of a State Department program that brought jazz as an offer of good will during the cold war, his quartet traveled in the Middle East and India, and Mr. Brubeck became intrigued by musical languages that didn’t stick to 4/4 time -- what he called “march-style jazz,” the meter that had been the music’s bedrock.  The result was the album Time Out, recorded in 1959.  With the hits Take Five (composed by Mr. Desmond in 5/4 meter and prominently featuring the quartet’s gifted drummer, Joe Morello) and Blue Rondo à la Turk (composed by Mr. Brubeck in 9/8), the album propelled Mr. Brubeck onto the pop charts.  Initially, Mr. Brubeck said, the album was released without high expectations from the record company.  But when disc jockeys in the Midwest started playing Take Five, the song became a national phenomenon. After the album had been out for 18 months, Columbia released [the title cut] as a 45 r.p.m. single, edited for radio, with Blue Rondo on the B side. Both album and single became hits; the album . . . has since sold about two million copies.  In 1960, realizing that most of the quartet’s work centered on the East Coast, the Brubecks, with their children, Dan, Michael, Chris, Darius, and Catherine, moved to Wilton, where they stayed.  They later had one more child, Matthew.  Genial as Mr. Brubeck could seem, he had strong convictions.  In the 1950's, he had to stand up to college deans who asked him not to perform with a racially mixed band . . . .  He also refused to tour in South Africa in 1958 when asked to sign a contract stipulating that his band would be all white.  With his wife as lyricist, he wrote The Real Ambassadors, a jazz musical that dealt with race relations.  With a cast that included Louis Armstrong, it was released on LP in 1962 . . . [and]t staged . . . at that year’s Monterey Jazz Festival.  When Mr. Brubeck’s quartet broke up in 1967, after 17 years, he spent more time with his family and followed new paths.  In 1969 he composed Elementals (subtitled Concerto for Anyone Who Can Afford an Orchestra), a concerto grosso for 45-piece ensemble.  He later wrote an oratorio and four cantatas, a mass, two ballets and works for jazz combo with orchestra.  Most of his commissioned pieces from the late 60's on, many of them collaborations with his wife, whose contributions included lyrics and librettos, were classical works.  As a composer, Mr. Brubeck used jazz to address religious themes and to bridge social and political divides.  His cantata The Gates of Justice, from 1969, dealt with blacks and Jews in America; another cantata, Truth Is Fallen (1972), lamented the killing of student protesters at Kent State University in 1970, with a score including orchestra, electric guitars and police sirens.  He played during the Reagan-Gorbachev summit meeting in 1988 and he composed entrance music for Pope John Paul II’s visit to Candlestick Park in San Francisco in 1987.  In 1968 he formed a quartet with the baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan, and later he began working with his musician sons Darius (a pianist), Chris (a bassist), Dan (a drummer), and Matthew (a cellist).  He performed and recorded with them often, most definitively on In Their Own Sweet Way (Telarc, 1997).  The classic Brubeck quartet regrouped only once, in 1976, for a 25th-anniversary tour. . . .  Brubeck resumed working with a quartet in the late 1970's -- finally settling into a long-term touring group featuring the saxophonist Bobby Militello -- and thereafter never stopped writing, touring and performing his hits. To the end he was a major draw at festivals. . . . He gave his archives to his alma mater.  Despite health problems, Mr. Brubeck was still working as recently as 2011.  In November 2010, just a month after undergoing heart surgery and receiving a pacemaker, he performed at the Blue Note in Manhattan.  Nate Chinen of The Times, noting that Mr. Brubeck had already 'softened his pianism, replacing the old hammer-and-anvil attack with something almost airy,' wrote that his playing at the Blue Note 'was the picture of judicious clarity, its well-placed chordal accents suggesting a riffing horn section.'  Mr. Brubeck once explained succinctly what jazz meant to him.  'One of the reasons I believe in jazz,' he said, 'is that the oneness of man can come through the rhythm of your heart. It’s the same anyplace in the world, that heartbeat. It’s the first thing you hear when you’re born -- or before you’re born -- and it’s the last thing you hear'" [Ben Ratliff, The New York Times, 12/5/12].

Phil Kline's Unsilent Night.  Greenville, SC.  Peformances in 23 cities worldwild through 12/22, Saskatoon, Canada.

December 7

ZOFO Duet and Del Sol String Quartet in the U.S. Premiere of Kui Dong's Shall We Play? for string quartet, piano duet, and two toy pianos.  Z Space, San Francisco, CA.

December 9

The Left Coast Chamber Ensemble’s in Night Music, featuring George Gershwin’s Lullaby, Benjamin Britten’s Nocturnal, and Arnold Schoenberg’s Verklarte Nacht.  Throckmorton Theatre, Mill Valley, CA.  Repeated 12/10, Dennis Gallagher Arts Pavilion, San Francisco.

December 10

Darmstadt Classics of the Avant Garde presents its eighth-annual performance of Terry Riley's In C.
Public Assembly, New York, NY.

December 11

Death of Ravi Shankar (b. Robindra Shankar Chowdhury, 4/7/20, Varanasi, India), after heart-valve replacement surgery, at 92.  San Diego, CA.  "In particular, his work with two young semi-apprentices in the 1960's -- George Harrison . . . and . . . Philip Glass . . . -- was profoundly influential on both popular and classical music.  And his interactions throughout his career with performers from various Asian and Western traditions -- including . . . Yehudi Menuhin, . . . Jean-Pierre Rampal, [Alan Hovhaness] and . . .  John Coltrane -- created hybrids that opened listeners’ ears to timbres, rhythms, and tuning systems . . .  His final performance was a concert with his daughter, . . . Anoushka Shankar, on November 4 in Long Beach, CA.  He was also the father of the singer Norah Jones.  Mr. Shankar, a soft-spoken, eloquent man whose own virtuosity transcended musical languages, was trained in both Eastern and Western musical traditions. . . . [H]e began touring in Europe and the United States in the early 1950's [and] Mr. Shankar and his ensemble gradually built a large following for Indian music.  Western interest in his instrument, the sitar, exploded in 1965 when Harrison encountered one on the set of Help!, the Beatles’ second film. Harrison was intrigued by the instrument, with its small rounded body, long neck and resonating gourd at the top, and its complexity: it has 6 or 7 melody strings and about twice as many sympathetic strings . . . .  He soon learned its rudiments and used it that year on a Beatles recording, Norwegian Wood.  The Rolling Stones, the Animals, the Byrds and other rock groups followed suit, although few went as far as Harrison, who recorded several songs on Beatles albums with Indian musicians rather than with his band mates. By the summer of 1967 the sitar was in vogue.  At first Mr. Shankar reveled in the attention his connection with popular culture had brought him, and he performed for huge audiences at the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967 and at Woodstock in 1969. He also performed, with the tabla virtuoso Alla Rakha and the sarod player Ali Akbar Khan, at an all-star concert at Madison Square Garden in 1971 that Harrison had organized to help Mr. Shankar raise money for victims of political upheaval in Bangladesh.  But his reach went much further. He composed for films (including the score for Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi in 1982), ballets, electronic works and concertos for sitar and Western orchestras. As his popularity spread, societies for the presentation of Indian and other traditional music began springing up . . . and a thriving world music industry was soon born. . . .  Though linked with the early rock era by many Americans, Mr. Shankar came to regard his participation in rock festivals as a mistake, saying he deplored the use of his music, with its roots in an ancient spiritual tradition, as a backdrop for drug use.  'On one hand,' he said in a 1985 interview, 'I was lucky to have been there at a time when society was changing. And although much of the hippie movement seemed superficial, there was also a lot of sincerity in it, and a tremendous amount of energy. What disturbed me, though, was the use of drugs and the mixing of drugs with our music. And I was hurt by the idea that our classical music was treated as a fad -- something that is very common in Western countries.' . . .  Ravi Shankar . . was born . . . to a family of musicians and dancers.  His older brother Uday directed a touring Indian dance troupe, which Ravi joined when he was 10.  Within five years he had become one of the company’s star soloists.  He also discovered that he had a facility with the sitar and the sarod, another stringed instrument, as well as the flute and the tabla, an Indian drum.  The idea of helping Western listeners appreciate the intricacies of Indian music occurred to him during his years as a dancer.  'My brother had a house in Paris,' he recalled in one interview. 'To it came many Western classical musicians. These musicians all made the same point: ‘Indian music,’ they said, ‘is beautiful when we hear it with the dancers.  On its own it is repetitious and monotonous.’  They talked as if Indian music were an ethnic phenomenon, just another museum piece.  Even when they were being decent and kind, I was furious.  And at the same time sorry for them. Indian music was so rich and varied and deep.  These people hadn’t penetrated even the outer skin.'  Mr. Shankar soon found, however, that as a young, self-taught musician he had not penetrated very deeply either.  In 1936 an Indian court musician, Allaudin Khan, joined the company for a year and set Mr. Shankar on a different path.  'He was the first person frank enough to tell me that I had talent but that I was wasting it -- that I was going nowhere, doing nothing,' Mr. Shankar said. 'Everyone else was full of praise, but he killed my ego and made me humble.'  When Mr. Shankar asked Mr. Khan to teach him, he was told that he could learn to play the sitar only after he decided to give up the worldly life he was leading and devote himself fully to his studies.  In 1937 Mr. Shankar gave up dancing, sold his Western clothes and returned to India to become a musician.  'I surrendered myself to the old way,' he said, 'and let me tell you, it was difficult for me to go from places like New York and Chicago to a remote village full of mosquitoes, bedbugs, lizards and snakes, with frogs croaking all night.  I was just like a Western young man.  But I overcame all that.'  After studying with Mr. Khan and marrying his daughter, Annapurna, also a sitarist, Mr. Shankar began his performing career in India.  In the 1940's he started bringing Eastern and Western currents together in ballet scores and incidental music for films, including Satyajit Ray’s Apu trilogy, in the late 1950's.  In 1949 he was appointed music director of All India Radio.  There he formed the National Orchestra, an ensemble of Indian and Western classical instruments.  Mr. Shankar became increasingly interested in touring outside India in the early 1950s.  His appetite was whetted further when he undertook a tour of the Soviet Union in 1954 and was invited to perform in London and New York.  But it wasn’t until 1956 that he began spending long periods outside India.  That year he left his position at All India Radio and toured Europe and the United States.  Through his recitals and his recordings on the Columbia, EMI and World Pacific labels, Mr. Shankar built a Western following for the sitar.  In 1952 he began performing with Menuhin, with whom he made three recordings for EMI: West Meets East (1967), West Meets East, Vol. 2 (1968) and Improvisations: West Meets East (1977). He also made recordings with Rampal.  Coltrane had become fascinated with Indian music and philosophy in the early 1960's and met with Mr. Shankar several times from 1964 to 1966 to learn the basics of ragas, talas and Indian improvisation techniques.  Sitar performances are partly improvised, but the improvisations are strictly governed by a repertory of ragas (melodic patterns representing specific moods, times of day, seasons or events) and talas (intricate rhythmic patterns) that date back several millenniums.  Coltrane named his son Ravi Coltrane, also a saxophonist, after Mr. Shankar.  Mr. Shankar loved to mix the music of different cultures. In 1978 he collaborated with several prominent Japanese musicians -- Hozan Yamamoto, a shakuhachi player, and Susumu Miyashita, a koto player -- on East Greets East.  In 1988 his seven-movement Swar Milan was performed at the Palace of Culture in Moscow by an ensemble of 140 musicians, including the Russian Folk Ensemble, members of the Moscow Philharmonic and the Ministry of Culture Chorus, as well as Mr. Shankar’s group of Indian musicians. And in 1990 he collaborated with Mr. Glass -- who had worked as his assistant on the film score for Chappaqua in the late 1960's -- on Passages, a recording of works he and Mr. Glass composed for each other.  'I have always had an instinct for doing new things,' Mr. Shankar said in 1985. 'Call it good or bad, I love to experiment.'  Though many listeners became familiar with Mr. Shankar mainly through his cross-cultural, style-blending experiments, his film scores and his concertos, his main love remained the ancient Northern Indian Hindustani style in which he was trained as a young man.  Throughout his career he toured the world with a variation on the traditional Indian ensemble: himself as the sitar soloist, backed by a pair of tamburas . . . and tabla . . . .  Often his tabla player was Alla Rakha, who became a renowned soloist in his own right.  At times, Mr. Shankar also shared the spotlight with Ali Akbar Khan, a master of the sarod, another Indian stringed instrument.  These concerts, including an annual performance at Carnegie Hall, adhered to traditional forms, in which the musicians would improvise on a raga, often ecstatically, for about an hour per piece. . . .  Mr. Shankar maintained his friendship and working relationship with Harrison, who released a recording of a 1972 performance by Mr. Shankar on the Beatles’ Apple label. . . . After Harrison’s death in 2001, Mr. Shankar contributed a new composition to the Concert for George, a starry celebration of Harrison’s music staged at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 2002. The new piece, Arpan, was performed by an ensemble of Indian and Western musicians led by Anoushka Shankar. . .  [H]is popularity abroad and his experiments with Western musical sounds and styles drew criticism among traditionalists in India.  'In India I have been called a destroyer,' he said in 1981. 'But that is only because they mixed my identity as a performer and as a composer. As a composer I have tried everything, even electronic music and avant-garde. But as a performer I am, believe me, getting more classical and more orthodox, jealously protecting the heritage that I have learned.'  Mr. Shankar was a member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament, from 1986 to 1992 -- one of 12 'nominated members' chosen by the president for their contributions to Indian culture.  Mr. Shankar taught extensively in the United States and founded a school of Indian music, the Kinnara School, in Los Angeles.  He was a visiting professor at City College in New York in 1967.  Recordings of his lectures there were the basis for Learning Indian Music, a set of cassettes. Mr. Shankar was the subject of a documentary, Raga: A Film Journey Into the Soul of India, in 1971, and published two autobiographies: My Music, My Life in 1969 and Raga Mala in 1997.  In 2010 the Ravi Shankar Foundation started a record label, East Meets West Music, which began by reissuing some of his historic recordings and films, including Raga.  Mr. Shankar’s first marriage, to Annapurna Devi, ended in the late 1960's. They had a son, Shubhendra Shankar, who died in 1992. He also had long relationships with Kamala Shastri, a dancer; Sue Jones, a concert producer, with whom he had a daughter, Ms. Jones, in 1979; as well as Sukanya Rajan, whom he married in 1989. Ms. Shankar, the sitar virtuoso, is their daughter, born in 1981. . . . “If I’ve accomplished anything in these past 30 years,' Mr. Shankar said in the 1985 interview, 'it’s that I have been able to open the door to our music in the West. I enjoy seeing other Indian musicians -- old and young -- coming to Europe and America and having some success. I’m happy to have contributed to that.  Of course now there is a whole new generation out there, so we have to start all over again. To a degree their interest in India has been kindled by Gandhi, Passage to India, and The Jewel in the Crown . . . . What we have to do now is convey to them an awareness of the richness and diversity of our culture'" [Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, 12/12/12].

Zorn for Strings.  John Zorn's The Alchemist -- a true and faithful chronicling of the esoteric spiritual conferences and concomitant hermetic actions conducted by Her Majesty's Alchemist Dr. John Dee and one Edward Kelley invoking the Nine Hierarchies of Angelic Orders to visible appearance, circa 1587 (2011), and the world premiere of Apophthegms (2012).  Miller Theatre, Columbia University, New York, NY.

December 16

Ann Callaway's Vladimir in Butterfly Country.  Old First Church, San Francisco, CA.


highSCORE New Music Center: New Music Festival and Master Classes, July 15-27, 2013, with Louis Andriessen, Martin Bresnick, Christopher Theofanidis, and Dmitri Tymoczko.  Pavia, Italy. 

highSCORE New Music Center: Artist Diploma in composition, October 5, 2013 - June 5, 2014.  The Arditti String Quartet, Helmut Lachenmann, Judith Weir, and Christopher Theofanidis.  Pavia, Italy.