A utopia "where austerity and spontaneity are not rivals, but companions" is how composer and Ecstatic Music Festival curator Judd Greenstein described the compositional space of festival headliners Nico Muhly and Valgeir Sigurðsson. This week on Hammered! we'll amplify that description with piano music written and performed by musicians featured in the Ecstatic Music Festival.
Though describing the music of Muhly and Sigurðsson, Greenstein's depiction of musical utopia is an apt symbol for the entire festival. Take week one's program: after the festival's free music marathon, you have the classically trained Chiara Quartet presenting world premieres by Muhly and Sigurðsson; a collaborative performance by the percussion quartet So Percussion and electronic music iconoclast Dan Deacon; and former Shudder to Think lead singer Craig Wedren and composer Jefferson Friedman's performing their song cycle "On In Love" with ACME. And that's just in the first week!
The pianistic by-products of this creativity are significant. Above, stream boundary-crossing piano works by Muhly, Timothy Andres, Tristan Perich, Caleb Burhans, and Greenstein himself (complete with the composer's spoken introduction to his First Ballade), and later in the week tune in for piano creations from Ecstatic musicians Missy Mazzoli, Daniel Wohl, Padma Newsome, Meredith Monk and more. On a special Friday program, we'll offer a complete performance of Andres' recent piano album (like, in the pop music sense), Shy and Mighty.
But enough about us, what performances are you most looking forward to?