Thursday, November 7, 2013

The champagne part: with Very Young Composers


Jon and the Very Young Composers

Mary from Bread and Puppet Theatre is with us all day preparing for their upcoming three-week residence celebrating their 50 years of radical theatre, protest, puppets. And bread.

A neighbor aware of a concert this afternoon and the upcoming B&P residency drops by just to make sure.

Soon enough, our friend Ralph and his Ethel associates are arriving to rehearse for this afternoon’s concert with Jon and his Very Young Composers. Due to contractual agreements with the Brooklyn Academy of Music where Ethel just had a weekend of concerts, they cannot perform as nor could we advertise the appearance as Ethel, so for today, they are appearing as maSQuE, a great name for Halloween week. (The embedded SQE for String Quartet Ethel, of course.) For more about Ethel see

Jon arrives soon with his VYC’s. They have immersed themselves in the music of Ethel. Experienced their rehearsal and preparation process and written compositions that Ethel will perform. And the compositions are all reflections on the theme of homelessness. The VYC’s, ranging from 10 to 14, come from a variety of backgrounds, some not too far removed from the experience themselves.  Some have begun as young as 8 years old.

Before the concert begins, Ralph does an introduction.  The New York Philharmonic is represented too. And it is part of the introduction to make clear that during these supposedly halcyon days of the Bloomberg administration, the number of homeless in New York City has doubled.  As each Young Composers’ piece is performed, Jon directs and has the composer join him on the podium.

Jon also includes a piece from one of  the Venezuelan young composers he met in his work with El Sistema, the social project through music created by Jose Antonio Abreu. (Perhaps best known  for  current LA Philharmonic director Gustavo Dudamel.) 
Jon and composers

And having earlier played two of their own pieces, maSQuE finishes with their Arrival from Nepomuk’s dances….their bring the audience to their feet encore from BAM. Arrival is from their work with young Native American composers in the Southwest.  And the search to find, reconnect, with the composer continues.

This concert was a living example of what we are trying to create through the Center, what this place is all about. And for me, it's the champagne part, the part that keeps me going. Without which....Not sure why it's so hard to understand

Amanda has brought Amelia and Jen. Amelia to see children not much older than she is and see what can be done.  Amelia goes off with Jen. Amanda and I to my good priest friend’s 70th birthday party. The night will end playing with and for friends at 78 Below.

A great afternoon

All other concerns set aside for the day.

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