There’s a crazily vast array of new music being heard around New York in the fall, and I’m not going to try to impose some feeble narrative on it ("Speaking of oboes..."). Click on the date for more info. I've included some non-New York events, too. God bless America.
Sept. 8: The gagaku orchestra Reigakushka gives a concert of ancient and modern Japanese music, including premieres by Keiko Fujiie and Kazuo Kikkawa, at Zankel Hall. They also play at the Terrace Theater and the Freer Gallery in DC (Sept. 9 and 10) and at UC Berkeley on Sept. 12.
Sept. 9-12: US premiere of Bill Morrison and Michael Gordon’s Decasia, in which a film narrative composed of decaying stock footage is paired with an eerie orchestra of retuned and detuned instruments. At St Ann’s Warehouse in DUMBO.
Sept. 13: Kent Nagano conducts Unsuk Chin's new Violin Concerto at the Berkeley Symphony, UC Berkeley.
Sept. 22: The Wet Ink new-music series, whose house ensemble the Zs espouses an aesthetic of “bombastic precision” (yeah!), opens with music of three elders (Christian Wolff, Earle Brown, and Fredric Rzewski) and two youngsters (Alex Mincek and Matt Hough). At the Bowery Poetry Club, $10 a seat.
Sept. 28: John Schaefer's New Sounds Live series at Merkin presents excerpts from Scott Johnson's How It Happens together with Phil Kline's searing anti-war Zippo Songs and his already legendary settings of the poetry of Donald Rumsfeld.
Oct. 6-9: Terry Riley's Sun Rings, which Mark Swed of the LA Times hailed as the In C maestro's late-period masterpiece, comes to BAM.
Oct. 8: John Ashbery settings by Elliott Carter, Lee Hyla, Charles Wuorinen, Milton Babbitt, and John Zorn, together again for the first and last time. At Cooper Union (website out of date).
Oct. 14: Steve Reich’s 1971 Drumming, also at Cooper Union.
Oct. 14-17: Sounds Like Now festival at La MaMa, a major convocation of alternative / downtown / how-you-call-it composers presented by the Interpretations series. The roster includes Robert Ashley, Phill Niblock, Joan La Barbara, David First, William Duckworth, Pauline Oliveros, and the blogosphere’s own Kyle Gann.
Oct. 18: Music from Copland House concert at Merkin, including a Chen Yi premiere.
Oct. 20-23: Alan Gilbert conducts John Adams’ masterly Naïve and Sentimental Music at the San Francisco Symphony. Take a moment to check out MTT's stunning Keeping Score site if you haven't seen it.
Oct. 21, Nov. 11, Dec. 3: Conlon Nancarrow festival at Miller Theatre. Not new music as such, but Nancarrow is so wired that he always sounds new.
Oct. 22: Young composers from Juilliard and the Royal Academy in London, including the brilliant Nico Muhly, write "responses to Webern." My own response to Webern is as follows: Yeah, whatever. Paul Hall, Juilliard, absolutely free.
Oct. 24: Big new piece by Steve Reich, You Are (Variations), for chorus, instruments, and electronics, lights up at Disney Hall in LA, with the Los Angeles Master Chorale.
Oct 24-25: Four excellent young composers — Mason Bates, Kenji Bunch, Daniel Kellogg, and Kevin Puts — appear at the Guggenheim as part of the "Works and Process" series. All have been part of the Young Concert Artists composer program.
Oct. 28: Wildly inventive avant-garde vocalist-composer Pamela Z at the Kitchen.
Oct. 28: English composer-arranger Joby Talbot, formerly of the stylish pop group Divine Comedy, gives a chamber concert at Merkin Hall. On Oct. 30 Merkin presents Talbot's score for Hitchcock’s The Lodger.
Oct. 29: Daniel Catán's Salsipuedes bows at the Houston Grand Opera. One of two premieres to celebrate the house's 50th anniversary: the second is a new Mark Adamo opera in March.
Oct. 31: Charles Wuorinen's Haroun & the Sea of Stories is given birth at New York City Opera.
Nov. 1: A Green Umbrella concert at Walt Disney Hall in LA, including premiere of Omnivorous Furniture, for “sinfonietta and electronica,” by aforementioned Mason Bates, and Henry Brant's almost-new Tremors: Spatial Declamations for 4 Singers and 16 Instrumentalists.
Nov. 4: First Eos Orchestra concert of the season, on a music-and-image theme. Program includes director Jonathan Sheffer's Filmusic #2, John Corigliano's Three Hallucinations From Altered States, and Schubert's Ninth Symphony with computer-generated video.
Nov. 6: Tania León portrait at Miller Theatre.
Nov. 11: Elliott Carter's Symphonia at the Boston Symphony. I'm no Carter fan in general, but I was deeply impressed by this churning slab of a work when I heard it on disc.
Nov. 12-14: John Adams returns to Zankel Hall to direct another pan-genre festival, this year including gamelan works by Evan Ziporyn, the Paul Dresher Ensemble, a Joshua Redman set, and the fantastic Iranian composer/kamancheh-player Kayhan Kalhor.
Nov. 17: American Composers Orchestra season opens with a typically all-over-the-place program of Randall Woolf (music for video by American Psycho director Mary Herron), Michael Daugherty, Morton Feldman, Tan Dun, and Sondheim.
Dec. 5: Joshua Penman's Songs The Plants Taught Us at the New York Youth Symphony. Penman classes himself as "ambient" and "spiritual," but some of the music on his website packs a considerable punch.
Dec. 11: Premiere of William Bolcom's A Wedding at the Chicago Lyric Opera, with a libretto by Arnold Weinstein and Robert Altman. Based on Altman's 1978 comedy of old money and nouveau riche.
Jan. 13-15: Babbitt's brand-new Concerti for Orchestra, Boston, sandwiched between the Fourth and Fifth symphonies of Sibelius. Part of James Levine's season-long series "You vill now like ze Tvelf Ton Musik!"
Jan. 20: The Phil Glass Seventh, National Symphony, DC.
Heartfelt plea to symphony orchestras: Have an easy-to-find place on your sites where the people can find a complete, chronological season listing. Sometimes this basic information is devilishly difficult to find amid all the subscription series profiles. What's more, listings often go out of their way to conceal any new music lurking in their midst: a composer may have labored for a year on a new concerto, but the headline is "André Watts Plays Tchaikovsky!" Having spent the better part of three days straight staring at websites, I am handing out the Rest Is Noise Fall Preview Webtastic Award to Ethel, the sleek new-music quartet, whose site is to die for.