This blog will not be televised. Nor shall it be replicated without attribution. This blog will not be like Facebook. There you will find more out about my political opinions, you’ll get to know my circle of friends and family, colleagues, and what I like and dislike about lots of trivial things.
This blog will be about current musical events and ideas, my thoughts about things related to music and culture, politics, gender, and public events related to music. Also perhaps something about film and visual art.
Another important element of this blog is to make readers aware of the 25 years of concerts given by CUBE Contemporary Chamber Ensemble. Too many times ensembles re-invent the wheel, without awareness of those who came before them. CUBE counts as its forebears Ralph Shapey’s Contemporary Chamber Players, Contemporary Concerts, Inc., and the University of Chicago New Music Ensemble (which I co-founded with Barbara Schubert, now Director of the Performance Program at the University of Chicago, in 1978).
I’m thinking of describing particular concerts – including unexpected things, mishaps, good fortune. CUBE members, from our earlier incarnation as a newmusic ensemble. Our devoted audience members should also let me know their thoughts and memories. The list of concerts and repertoire is here:
CUBE was a pioneer for the next generation of independent new music ensembles in Chicago. We weren’t restricted by university or college
requirements or philosophy, and we supported a wide range of compositional styles. We featured Chicago composers, with an emphasis on women and minority composers (absent too often in today’s programming, even decades later), composers from Eastern and Western Europe, the Mideast, Asia and South America. We produced a Calendar of events, articles on new music, and we commissioned works from young composers. CUBE members were involved in the first New Music Chicago in the 1980s (the current one is the second, and I’ll have a short history of the first NMC in a future entry), and we could be heard from time to time on WFMT. We were formally recognized in 1991 through a review in the Chicago Reader, by our dear friend, the late Ted Shen:
As you can see from this review, we not only had imaginative programming but we also had a sense of humor. One of our best musical excursions in this area can be found on Youtube, in response to all the hype about The Three Tenors (remember them?).
The result is on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pm4SE6NLRFg
Please overlook the graininess of the film – it was old fashioned VHS. But lots of fun: CUBE Clarinet Summit, 1998, our 10th anniversary year.
There might also be occasional forays into the world of jazz and the AACM, which is finally getting its long overdue recognition in this, its 50th year. So just check in from time to time, and have a look and perhaps a say. And there might be some descriptions of music I’ve heard in traveling, or reviews of an arts scene. To be continued.