4 min read

Brief encounters.

Jennifer Koh and Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe get the feature treatment on Morning Edition… plus concert listings for the week ahead.


A short post today, seeing as how the previous quite long post came out just two days ago… and thank you to all who responded to that considerable outpouring of free-floating thoughts.

Making waves.

Jennifer Koh (Photograph: Jürgen Frank)

If I spent a little too much time in the last newsletter lamenting my lack of time for writing, now seems like a very good opportunity to present some evidence of labor well spent on other pursuits. I believe it's clear to everyone that my role at NPR is to serve as an editor, not a reporter. But I do get a big say in what makes it to the airwaves and website, and today was a rewarding day in that regard: I had a hand in two worthy Morning Edition stories that made me very happy and proud.

One of them, concerning violinist Jennifer Koh and her community-minded pandemic project, Alone Together, was brought to me by veteran reporter Jeff Lunden. I was only too happy to accommodate a story that brought to our air the voices of Koh, Missy Mazzoli, Cassie Wieland, and Angélica Negrón. It was the second time Negrón had appeared on Morning Edition since I started in January, following an earlier story by Peter Crimmins about her video opera The Island We Made—a circumstance I'll happily accept.

Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe (Photograph: Desdemona Dallas)

The other, about composer-performer Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe and his arresting score for the new Candyman film, is a story I determined I would get on the air by any means necessary. Happily, all it took was sending a note to Tim Greiving, NPR's film-music maestro, who replied, "Have you been reading my email?" Tim does an excellent job of providing context, while giving Lowe plenty of room to tell his tale. In a bit of industrial-strength serendipity, my NPR Music comrades published a terrific Lowe profile of their own, reported by DeForrest Brown Jr. (a.k.a. Speaker Music). Great stuff.

Night After Night Watch.

Davóne Tines (Photograph: Bowie Verschuuren)

All times listed in Eastern Standard Time


American Modern Opera Company (AMOC)
The Amph on Little Island
Pier 55 at Hudson River Park, Chelsea
Friday, Sept. 3 and Saturday, Sept. 4 at 8pm; free tickets required

Wrote about this in The New Yorker…


Here & Now New Music Festival
Fulton Ferry Landing, Brooklyn
Friday, Sept. 3 at 7pm; Saturday, Sept. 4 at 6pm; Sunday, Sept. 5 at 4pm; $35
Proof of vaccination required

Wrote about this one for The New Yorker, too…


Tim Berne & Matt Mitchell
Soapbox Gallery
636 Dean St., Brooklyn
Saturday, Sept. 4 at 8pm; $25
Masks plus proof of vaccination or negative test result required

Saxophonist Berne and pianist Mitchell have played together for several years now in the small group Snakeoil, and their duo records, Angel Dusk and 1, prove how gorgeously their musical nervous systems have intertwined from the start.


Gene Pritzker: "Gene Pritzker @ 50"
Composers Concordance, Lara St. John, Kathleen Supové, many more
Drom NYC
85 Avenue A, Lower East Side
Sunday, Sept. 5 at 6:30pm; $15
Proof of vaccination or negative test result required

Composer, guitarist, and rapper Gene Pritzker celebrates the half-century mark with an abundant showing of original music and an impressive gaggle of players, including his close cohorts of Composers Concordance.


Caroline Shaw and Andrew Yee
Green-Wood Cemetery
500 25th St., Brooklyn
Tuesday, Sept. 7 at 5, 6, and 7:30pm; $15 (5pm), $35 (6, 7:30pm)
Proof of vaccination required

Composer, violinist, and singer Caroline Shaw and composer-cellist Andrew Yee have spent plenty of time in one another's company, not least when the Attacca Quartet (in which Yee plays) recorded all of Shaw's quartet music—and won a Grammy for it. Playing together in an event presented jointly by Death of Classical and ChamberQUEER, they'll both come bearing original music and original ideas.

7, 9, 10

Uncivilisation Festival 2021
Jalopy Theatre
315 Columbia St., Brooklyn
Tuesday, Sept. 7 at 8pm

Flying Lobster
144 Union St., Brooklyn
Thursday, Sept. 9 at 7pm

Record Shop
360 Van Brunt St., Brooklyn
Friday, Sept. 10 at 7pm

Uncivilized has been dubbed a "gothic, campfire freak jazz" collective, and maybe that's a fair estimation of the band's loose ethos. But listening to Garden, derived from a 2018 Pioneer Works concert, I'm struck by how closely and deferentially these players listen to one another as they float among modal jams, soul-jazz grooves, and Twin Peaks covers. (Timely reminder: Even when a review is six years old, The Best Ben Ratliff Is The Best.) This three-date run features a consistent octet comprising guitar, keyboards, and twinned tenor saxes, basses, and drummers, plus vegan chow and, on the final night, a live recording and two opening acts: Scree and Ben Stapp's First Eonic Clock Reading, the latter featuring the great soprano saxophonist Sam Newsome. Dunno what it'll cost to get in, but it's worth it. (COVID mitigation policies presumably apply… watch out for each other, regardless.)

Read even more listings in Night After Night Watch: The Master List, exclusively for paying subscribers.