New Music for the 21st Century
< August 1, 2014 >
VOX NOVUS NEWSLETTER - New Music for the 21st Century
> REVIEW: The West Porch Beech Tree Concert Series by Joseph Bohigian
> My Thoughts Curating at Composer's Voice by Joseph Bohigian
> POSTCARD: The Rats in the Walls
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> Fifteen Minutes of Fame at New Music for Double Reeds
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The Rats in the Walls

The Rats in the Walls

When Howard Lovecraft’s short story, “The Rats in the Walls,” was published in 1923, it was only a modest success. However, its gothic horror seemed perfectly suited to the operatic arena, so plans were made to produce it the following year, which, in Chinese astrology, was indeed “the year of the Rat.” More than two thousand professional rat singers were hired, and soon the stage and wings of London’s Royal Opera House were crawling with human vermin. Determined to stay in character, they promptly spread plague throughout the city while eating the producer and rehearsal pianist. Finding the walls in which they were supposed to lurk during the opera too confining, they commandeered all of Covent Garden, where, it’s rumored, their progeny can still be found today.

David Gunn

David Gunn

The West Porch Beech Tree Concert Series

The West Porch Beech Tree Concert Series
by Joseph Bohigian

The West Porch Beech Tree Concert Series features a wide variety of music, including works by living and dead composers who write in very different styles, including classical, jazz, and more. The afternoon concerts take place under a 178 year old beech tree just outside Westbury House at Old Westbury Gardens on Long Island. Taking place outside, the concerts are augmented by the beautiful scenery of the surrounding gardens and the sounds of wind rustling through the trees and birds chirping.

The July 20th West Porch Beech Tree concert featured the Cambiata Flute & Cello Duo, made up of Pamela Sklar on flute and Suzanne Mueller on cello, as well as special guest Mark McCarron on guitar. They performed works by two dead composers, 18th-19th century German composer Franz Danzi and English singer-songwriter Nick Drake, and the rest living composers.

Featured prominently on the concert was composer Kit Mills, who had three pieces performed. All three pieces were very different, ranging from an energetic cello solo to a jazzy flute and cello duo. Also featured, with two pieces, was composer Douglas DaSilva. The world premiere of his Pico de Itabarito, performed by the whole trio, was full of angular lines, extended guitar techniques, and odd harmonies.

Pamela Sklar

In addition to performing, flutist Pamela Sklar acted as composer, presenting two of her own compositions. Her solo flute piece Native Dream is inspired by Native American music and was performed with great energy. Also on the concert was a performance of Pat Metheny’s Better Days Ahead. The Metheny work was a refreshing contrast to the preceding pieces.

The diversity of programming was in a way the best and worst parts of the concert. Most people probably found something that they liked in the concert but did not like everything. In addition, since the performance took place outside in an open space, the sound quality of the performances was quite dry, but the music that was performed did fit the setting well. Most of the music was very simple and relaxing, which matched the serene setting of Old Westbury Gardens.

You can find out more about the West Porch Beech Tree Concert Series at the Old Westbury Gardens website:

Joseph Bohigian

Joseph Bohigian

Joseph Bohigian is a composer from Fresno, California and is interning for Vox Novus. He will be sharing his experiences on the New York New Music scene.


My Thoughts Curating at Composer's Voice
by Joseph Bohigian

Curating a Composer’s Voice concert was an exhilarating experience. The concert, which took place last Sunday, July 27, lasted only an hour, but it felt much shorter due to my role as curator, composer and performer. These three roles kept me occupied with moving chairs, talking to audience members, introducing the concert, opening and closing the piano lid, performing, and listening to the other pieces.


Before the concert, a few people asked me if I was nervous and I have to say, I wasn’t until somewhere toward the end of the performance when, after running through my last piece in my head, I convinced myself that I had completely forgotten how to play one of my Short Pieces for Piano. Before the penultimate piece, I hurried over to grab my music from a nearby table and franticly air-pianoed my way through my Short Pieces. Luckily, I had not, in fact, forgotten how to play the music I myself wrote and had been practicing for months (who knew?) and proceeded to listen to the rest of Joshua Marquez’ Flare for solo oboe.

Overall, I think the concert was a great success. The audience was very receptive and the performers got many compliments. All of the performers and composers were very professional and easy to work with which made the concert a joy to put together and listen to.

After Concert at The Pony

After the concert, I was joined at The Pony Bar by my family, composers, performers, and audience members. Most of us ended up staying for upwards of five hours drinking, eating, and talking which was a nice way to relax after the performance. I very much enjoyed curating this concert for Composer’s Voice and look forward to doing more in the future.

You can find more as well as see and hear some of the performances at the following link:

Joseph Bohigian

Joseph Bohigian

Joseph Bohigian is a composer from Fresno, California and is interning for Vox Novus. He will be sharing his experiences on the New York New Music scene.

Upcoming Performances


Fifteen-Minutes-of-Fame with Robert Botti

Fifteen Minutes of Fame: New York City with Robert Botti will be peformed at New Music for Double Reeds in collaboration with Composer collective Circles and Lines as well as the International Double Reed Society. The performance will happen downstairs at SubCulture, 45 Bleecker St. on Wednesday August 6th, 2014 at 6:30 PM

Oboist Robert Botti s

Oboist Robert Botti has performed throughout North America, South America, Europe, and Asia as an orchestral player, chamber musician, and soloist. A native of New York, he studied with Ronald Roseman and Harold Gomberg at the Juilliard School. Mr. Botti joined the New York Philharmonic as Second Oboe in 1992 after previously serving as Principal Oboe of the New York City Opera Orchestra. His continuing interest in contemporary music and education has allowed him to work with many young composers throughout his career. He was Visiting Professor of Oboe and B.A. Nugent Professor of Performance Studies at the University of Illinois. He remains on both the Woodwind Performance and Orchestral Performance faculties at the Manhattan School of Music as well as on the faculty of New York University.

Composers selected for this Fifteen Minutes of Fame include: David Avshalomov, Robert Botti, Douglas DaSilva, David Grossman, Robert Magnuson, David Mastikosa, Gary Powell Nash, Norberto Oldrini, Nicholas O'Neill, Naftali Schindler, Jose Jesus de Azevedo Souza, Samuel Stokes, Luca Vanneschi, Jean-Pierre Vial, Blair Whittington

You cna find more at

Composer collective Circles and Lines teams up with the International Double Reed Society for an evening of music featuring virtuosi of the double reed world. C + L celebrates five years of concerts with commissions for The New York Philharmonic’s Rob Botti, ICE’s Rebekah Heller, contemporary star soloist Jacqueline LeClaire, Signal’s Brad Balliett, Alarm Will Sound’s Gina Cuffari and Christa Robinson, and Talea’s Adrian Morejon at SubCulture New Music Venue and underground bar. The program features five world premieres of pieces by C + L composers Angélica Negrón, Conrad Winslow, Noam Faingold, Dylan Glatthorn and Eric Lemmon, fifteen minute-long world premieres written for Robert Botti, as well as works by Marcos Balter, Edgar Guzman, and Ernst Krenek. The evening will present two sets of the composers’ pieces, plus a third, late ‘open’ set featuring improvisations, works for electronics and other works programmed by the performers.

Circles and Lines is a young composers consortium providing an eclectic and accessible sample of compositional styles in contemporary classical music. Its members include Angelica Negron, Conrad Winslow, Noam Faingold, Eric Lemmon and Dylan Glatthorn.

Circles and Lines has been reviewed by The New York Times, calling the group “the mirror image of most new-music groups” and lauding its members’ compositions as, “gracefully chromatic,” “quirky,” “thorny,” and “assured.” The group has also been featured on Q2’s (Radio Station WNYC’s contemporary programming) Live Concerts series. They wrote,

“Though the illustrious composers of Circles and Lines possess a range of experiences – from composing music for toys and unconventional instruments to founding the music criticism and review site OpenSourceMusic to being composer-in-residence at Tulsa’s Midtown School – they have all managed to find common ground right here in New York City. Featuring pieces which involve everything from electronics to prepared piano to banjo to chamber orchestra, this (L)PR concert exemplifies Circles & Lines’ colorful backgrounds and mission to program a performance that runs the gamut of today’s emerging composers.”

Though the group has won accolades for their work together, as individuals the composers have won prestigious awards and grants and fellowships from the American Music Center, the The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, ASCAP’s Morton Gould Award, Salzburg Seminar, and NYU’s Creative Collaboration Grant, commissions from MATA, the Albany Symphony and the Jerome Fund. Concerts of works by the collective have taken place at New York City venues like Le Poisson Rouge, Vaudeville Park gallery, Tenri Cultural Institute and Greenwich House.

NYU Steinhardt is proud to host the 43rd annual International Double Reed Society conference! Come explore the NYU campus, centered in the heart of Manhattan’s West Village with convenient access to some of New York City’s most famous landmarks. Take the opportunity to discover the sights and sounds of the Big Apple’s iconic ensembles including the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s and the West Point Band. You won’t want to miss the musical experience of IDRS 2014!

Fifteen Minutes of Fame: New York City with Robert Botti
Wednesday August 6th, 2014 - 6:30 PM
45 Bleecker St. - Downstairs.
New York City

Set I (Door at 6:00, Concert at 6:30):
Sonatina by Ernst Krenek
All This Talk of Saving Souls by Eric Lemmon
Fifteen Minutes of Fame for Vox Novus
Breaking the Surface by Noam Faingold
Unearth by Dylan Glatthorn
Tone Riddles by Conrad Winslow
Stereogram by Angélica Negrón

Set II (Door at 8:00, Concert at 8:30):
∞¿? by Edgar Guzman
All This Talk of Saving Souls by Eric Lemmon
and also a fountain... by Marcos Balter
Tone Riddles by Conrad Winslow
Three Caprices by Brad Balliett
Unearth by Dylan Glatthorn
Breaking the Surface By Noam Faingold
Stereogram by Angélica Negrón

Set III (Door at 10:00, Concert at 10:30):
Following by Dai Fujikura for solo bassoon (world premiere)
Qualia II by Marcelo Toledo for bassoon and tape
On speaking a hundred names by Nathan Davis for bassoon and live processing
Press Release by David Lang
New Work by Sunny Knable for bassoon/voice
Three Caprices (solo bassoon) - written and performed by Brad Balliett
Matt Sullivan/Paul McCandless - oboe improv


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