I'd received a copy of Jody Redhage's all-contemporary album on the new label New Amsterdam Records, but I somehow hadn't realized that New Amsterdam was the creation of the composer Judd Greenstein, whose fine-spun, strongly flowing music I've mentioned a number of times on this site. The Redhage disc, which includes such standout NYC-area composers as Anna Clyne, Paula Matthusen, and Greenstein himself, is the label's debut release. Future releases will include an album by the brilliant violist Nadia Sirota, who's given numerous performances of Nico Muhly's Keep in Touch (most recently at the Muhly concert on Friday night), and also a compilation by the NOW Ensemble. It's great to see a young community of composers and musicians supporting each other. Nobody's playing the domineering genius (yet). On Friday I was talking to the veteran composer Scott Johnson, who commented that this latest scene has an appealing openness about it, an optimistic spirit. I think of it as pragmatism — music beyond ideology. Scott also pointed out a constant from the seventies to today: the largely invisible generosity of Philip Glass.
Speaking of whom, the MATA festival, which Glass co-founded in 1996, is running this week in Brooklyn. On Saturday at 6:45PM I'll be leading a conversation with some of the featured young composers — Christopher Tignor, Yotam Haber, K-Kalna, and Ned McGowan (if you're having a slow day, his music samples will wake you right up) — and I'll see if these same issues surface. All events will happen at the Brooklyn Lyceum on Fourth Avenue.
Going back to Greenstein: he's written a piece for soprano-blogger Anne-Carolyn Bird, which she will sing and Jocelyn Dueck will play on May 17 at the VIM series in Tribeca. The singer muses about a broader mission here and here; she hopes to raise money for a CD and concert tour through small contributions from new-music fans and the Internet community.