Just yesterday, it seems, New York was gearing up for October’s SONiC Festival, a celebration of 21st century music by composers under 40 years of age. Now, with November days dwindling and winter closing in, the city’s Ecstatic Music Festival has recently announced its second season of programming.
If the contemporary classical subgenre of “indie-classical” has a formal side, this festival is it. In a fall 2010 interview, festival curator and composer Judd Greenstein explained Ecstatic’s fundamental premise:
There are a lot of people who are working in the area around the borderlands between classical and ‘not-classical’ music…What I’m trying to do in this case is create real collaborative events, where the artists from both sides of the aisle, as it were, are working with the other artists on the program and actually making new work and inserting themselves more directly into one another’s creative lives.
In its inaugural season, the festival featured such dynamic collaborations as indie rock band Buke & Gass with composer Missy Mazzoli’s chamber ensemble Victoire, the quartet So Percussion with electronic sensation Dan Deacon, tUnE-yArDs frontwoman Merrill Garbus with vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, and composer Sarah Kirkland Snider with My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Worden and the indie-classical band yMusic.
Ecstatic’s 2012 offerings will include the return of several of last year’s participants: Deacon in his role as composer–this time writing new works for the NOW Ensemble and the Calder Quartet, yMusic performing works by composers Richard Reed Parry (of the band Arcade Fire) and Ryan Lott (Son Lux), the a cappella ensemble Anonymous 4 with indie rock’s The Mountain Goats, and more music from Garbus and Roomful of Teeth. Additional guest appearances include David Byrne (former Talking Heads frontman), Craig Wedren (formerly of Shudder to Think), and Greg Saunier of Deerhoof.
For more information on the 2012 Ecstatic Music Festival, hosted by the Kaufman Center at Merkin Concert Hall in Uptown Manhattan, visit the official website.
For more background information on last year’s festival from Classical Music & Opera Editor Daniel J. Kushner, visit his blog, “You’re So Post-Post-Rock Right Now.”