5 min read


Words about work, a beach excursion, the latest news, and recommended events for the week ahead.


Images from Sun & Sea at BAM Fisher, Sept. 26, 2021 (Photographs: Steve Smith)

I'd hoped to have more to say this week, but a crushing confluence of work, more work, still more work, and what lately feels like a vanishingly small side order of home life has squeezed out any prospect of going on at length.

I snapped the images above during the final performance of Sun & Sea, which I finally managed to attend (with abundant gratitude) on Sunday at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The piece, an installation opera by director and set designer Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, librettist Vaiva Grainytė, and composer Lina Lapelytė, lived up to my vivid, fond memories of a previous collaboration by the same creative team, Have a Good Day! The spectacle was considerable; the message concerning climate change conveyed subtly and mellifluously.

The BAM run has ended—and, one presumes, vacuum cleaners are working overtime in preparation for 100 Keyboards (details below). Meanwhile, Sun & Sea is crossing the country now, with stops in Philadelphia (Sept. 30-Oct. 3), Bentonville, AR (Oct. 6-9), and Los Angeles (Oct. 14-16) on the itinerary.

(Meanwhile, maybe, just maybe, I'll manage to catch a performance of that other new opera that's getting all the attention around town these last few days.)

Here is the news.

Darius Jones (Photograph: Ebru Yildiz)

Taking up residence. Composer, saxophonist, and bandleader Darius Jones, whose ambitious work has extended well beyond his association with the jazz world, has been named the first-ever artist-in-residence for the MATA Festival, now under the leadership of executive director Amanda Gookin. In his new capacity he'll shape the 2021-22 MATA season, curate the organization's titular festival in 2022, and cultivate new artistic partnerships. Read more on the MATA website. Jones's newest album, the unaccompanied saxophone recital Raw Demoon Alchemy (A Lone Operation), arrives Nov. 5 on Northern Spy.

More new arrivals. The International Contemporary Ensemble has welcomed three new musicians to its roster: saxophonist, composer, and media artist Matana Roberts; vocalist-composer Fay Victor; and conductor Vimbayi Kaziboni, who's designated artist-in-residence. Read more on the ensemble's website.

Melting in the dark. On Tuesday, the John T. and Catherine D. MacArthur Foundation named the recipients of this year's so-called "Genius" grants—and, for the first time I can recall, a very fine tally of worthy recipients included no musicians whatsoever. (One winner, poet, author, and curator Hanif Abdurraqib, earned at least one nod on social media as an "honorary musician.")

Night After Night Watch.

Megan Schubert as Jane Jacobs in A Marvelous Order. (Photograph: Roman Iwasiwka)

All times listed are Eastern Standard Time.

Tenri Cultural Institute
43A W. 13th St., Greenwich Village
Wednesday, Sept. 29 at 8pm; $25
No policy posted (assume vaccination required)

Percussionists Arlene Acevedo, Alexis Carter, Tiahna Sterling, and Aline Vasquez came together in the Mantra Youth Percussion program, and quickly asserted a common groove. Now, the quartet celebrates a new album on the Innova label, Count to Five, featuring music by Angélica Negrón, Allison Loggins-Hull, Caroline Shaw, Ellen Reid, Mary Kouyoumdjian, and Lesley Flanigan.

Asuna: 100 Keyboards
BAM Fisher
321 Ashland Pl., Brooklyn
Thursday, Sept. 30–Saturday, Oct. 2, times vary; $25
Proof of vaccination required

Marc Scorca Hall, National Opera Center
330 Seventh Ave., Manhattan
Friday, Oct. 1 at 7:30pm; $20, seniors and students $10
Livestream on YouTube; $20 requested donation for BIPOC commissioning fund
Proof of vaccination required

For the 17th concert in their loadbang Presents: Premieres series, the idiosyncratic quartet offers the world premiere of works by Darcy Copeland, Maya Miro Johnson, Alex Temple, and Max Vinetz. Completing the program are Anthony Braxton, Stefano Gervasoni, and Eli Greenhoe.

Jenny Lin
Hudson Hall
327 Warren St., Hudson, NY
Saturday, Oct. 2 at 7pm; $25, premium admission $40
Masks and proof of vaccination required
Free livestream, with reservations required

Pianist Jenny Lin, a restless explorer and innovator, plays the world premiere of Suite of Preludes, a nine-movement work composed during lockdown by the celebrated composer William Bolcom. Music by Philip Glass, a composer with whom Lin is closely associated, completes the program.

Experiential Orchestra
DiMenna Center for Classical Music
450 W. 37th St., Manhattan
Saturday, Oct. 2 at 8pm; $50, reserved seating $75, students $20
Masks and proof of vaccination required

I wrote up the season-opening concert by the Experiential Orchestra for The New Yorker. It's not wholly a new-music event, but between contemporary works (several not named in this brief listing; full program here) and genuinely significant rarities, it's well worth a look.

NOW Ensemble
Central Library
10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn
Tuesday, Oct. 5 at 8pm; free admission
Outdoor event (exercise personal precautions)

NOW Ensemble, with singers Megan Schubert and Tomás Cruz, presents brief excerpts from Judd Greenstein's opera A Marvelous Order, with visuals by Joshua Frankel projected on the facade of the Brooklyn Public Library on Grand Army Plaza. The opera, which deals with the historic confrontation of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs, features a libretto by former U.S. poet laureate Tracy K. Smith. The free outdoor event also includes two Frankel films featuring Greenstein's music, Mannahatta and Plan of the City.

andPlay: Maya Bennardo (L) and Hannah Levinson (Photograph: Shervin Lainez)

20 Putnam Ave., Brooklyn
Tuesday, Oct. 5 at 7:30pm; $15, students $10
Masks and proof of vaccination required

andPlay, the intrepid duo of violinist Maya Bennardo and violist Hannah Levinson, offers a pair of commissioned works in their world-premiere outing: A butterfly on your shoulder into years and years to come, by Victoria Cheah, and embers, by Shawn Jaeger.

Read even more listings in Night After Night Watch: The Master List, detailing events for weeks to come, exclusively for paying subscribers.