Friday, June 17, 2011

Springtime in NY

New York City was a particularly beautiful place for Del Sol’s whirlwind tour this past April. For the five magical days, the city lavished us with spring colors as we explored mostly brand-new venues and many enthusiastic audiences from Brooklyn, to Downtown, to the Upper West Side.

On the first night of our tour, we converged at the avant-garde Café Orwell in Brooklyn wiith Amy X Neuburg, playing for a lively young crowd . The next night we played at the historical Gershwin Hotel as part of Vicky Chow's Contagious Sounds, a new music series focusing on adventurous contemporary artists and composer. The concert was in an intimate, old and lustrous ballroom - while it was only one third of its original size, it is definitely an acoustical “find” in Manhattan.

A third concert took place the following afternoon-Easter Sunday-in the beautiful penthouse home of Jonathan Vincent, where some young fans were dyeing elaborate Easter eggs before the concert. There were spectacular panoramic views and pictures of his late grandfather, famed singer Theodore Upmann, everywhere you turned.

For our final concert, we played closing night of the Cutting Edge New Music Festival curated by Victoria Bond at Symphony Space. Composers Reza Vali, Ben Johnston, Ronald Bruce Smith and Amy X Neuberg participated in person to introduce their piece in a lively dialogue with Bond. (Amy X additionally performed with us as part of her first string quartet!) Despite the physical absence of 85-year-old Ben Johnston (at home in Wisconsin), we were able to include him in the concert via Skype video, which proved to be quite delightful. Despite the difficulties of Ben’s meticulous and complex use of "just intonation," with great patience and perseverance, we made the piece our own to an enthusiastic New York reception.

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