A lot of what I see and recommend is in Manhattan because that’s where some great performing organizations and venues are. But too much of Manhattan is stuck permanently in the 1980s, with cock-of-the-walk financial and real estate types running things, and running them into the ground. Brooklyn is great on its own, and by default doesn’t yet suffer from the same plague. Although there is the Atlantic Yards project.
Brooklyn is increasingly becoming a great places to hear great music of all kinds, from the Baroque era through the experimental nexus of classical, rock, jazz and electronics. Most of the venues are small and have packed schedules, too much detail to run down completely without the eyes glazing over. So here is an annotated list of selected places and things:
- Issue Project Room: Simply the best place in all of New York City for experimental and avant-garde music of all varieties. They have something almost every night of the week, and the fall highlight is the three day Vital Vox festival which features Jen Shyu, Corey Dargel, Joan La Barbara and the unclassifiable Chris Mann.
- Bargemusic: Chamber music from the Baroque to the present, on the water and looking out over lower Manhattan.
- Music at First: I’ve recommended this series before, but I want to point it out again. It’s modest in scope but ambitious in terms of musical interest and accomplishment.
- Roulette: included here because they will be moving to Brooklyn. A wide range of jazz and new music, make sure to check out Thomas Buckner’s Interpretations series, which consistently offers the most unique, interesting and challenging programs around.
- Neighborhood Classics Series: directed by Simone Dinnerstein and this year featuring great musicians like Maya Beiser, Pablo Ziegler, Richard Stoltzman and Dinnerstein herself.
And, although I can’t recommend BAM in general, there are the occasional worthwhile things on the program. Try and see Evan Ziporyn’s opera A House In Bali , going up this week. Ziporyn is rapidly becoming one of the finest American composers writing for, and about, the gamelan, and I’m anticipating that this work, about the composer Colin McPhee who brought gamelan music into Western Classical, will be quite involving. And if you like it, you can hear more of Ziporyn’s music at Zankel Hall on October 30.
Most of this stuff is off the beaten path, and in the same cultural nooks and crannies, so make note of the concerts at the Metropolitan Museum, where TIll Fellner finishes his refreshing and wonderful Beethoven Piano Sonata cyle this Friday and the Pacifica Quartet begins their Shostakovich Quartet cycle on the 22nd. There’s also the North River Music’s 25th Anniversary Season, with concerts at Greenwhich House featuring La Barbara (obviously going through a nice purple patch), the great electronic music composer Morton Subotnick, Ne(x)tworks and the fabulous and exciting Respect Sextet. Also going up at the end of the month Ear To The Earth 2010, a festival of music and the environment. This year’s theme is water, the appearing will be R. Murray Schafer, a composer who has also written the most important (and beautiful) book about sound, and music and works from Phill Niblock, Miguel Frasconi and Annea Lockwood. Go.