One mark of the dishonor that has fallen on this country in the wake of Donald Trump's morally repugnant, profoundly un-American actions as President is that the brilliant Syrian-born clarinetist and composer Kinan Azmeh does not know whether he will be able to return to his Brooklyn home. I wrote about him in 2013, when he appeared in conjunction with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.
"Are we really here? Is all this happening? Don't be surprised. What we're seeing now is frankly everything we should have expected. If there's one thing we can say in Donald Trump's favor, there was no bait and switch. They told us they would do all of this and more. Not everyone believed them. But everyone had fair warning. And here we are." — Josh Marshall
— Sibelius, In the Stream of Life and other songs with orchestra; Gerald Finley, Edward Gardner conducting the Bergen Philharmonic (Chandos)
— Weinberg, Chamber Symphonies Nos. 1-4, Piano Quintet (arr. Pushkarev and Kremer); Gidon Kremer, Kremerata Baltica (ECM)
— Divine Theatre: works of Giaches de Wert; Stile Antico (Harmonia Mundi)
— David Smooke, Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death and other works; Michael Parker Harley, Karl Larson, loadbang, Lunar Ensemble, Peabody Wind Ensemble (New Focus)
— Steven Stucky, American Muse, Rhapsodies, Concerto for Orchestra; Gil Rose conducting the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, with Sanford Sylvan (BMOP)
— Clara Iannotta, A Failed Entertainment and other works; Ensemble Intercontemporain, Ensemble Recherche, Talea Ensemble, Orchestre des Élèves du Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris, Quatuor Diotima, Ensemble Garage, Trio Catch (Edition RZ)
— Ginastera, Piano Concerto No. 2, Panambí; Juanjo Mena conducting the BBC Philharmonic and Manchester Chamber Choir, with Xiayin Wang, piano (Chandos)
— Wadada Leo Smith, America's National Parks (Cuneiform)
The first American performance of Kaikhosru Sorabji's gigantic Organ Symphony No. 2 — or, indeed, of any of Sorabji's organ music — will take place at the University of Iowa School of Music on Feb. 10. Kevin Bowyer, Soraji's chief organ champion, will undertake the eight-hour marathon. The event helps to inaugurate Iowa's new Voxman Music Building, and serves to introduce the hall's concert organ.... Michael Pisaro will be the featured artist at the Co-incidence Residency in Somerville MA, a week-long gathering of experimental artists, from Jan. 24 to Jan. 30.... My New Yorker colleague Russell Platt has written a string quartet entitled Mountain Interval.... As I noted in my Julius Eastman column, Monday Evening Concerts will present an all-Eastman evening on Monday, Jan. 23. Note also an Eastman tribute at the Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo, NY, on Feb. 10.... Kate Soper's latest theatre piece, Ipsa Dixit, will be performed at Dixon Place in NYC on Feb. 3 and 4, having been seen at EMPAC in December.
On Jan. 21, I will be speaking at the Jaipur Literature Festival, in the company of Ruth Padel. This is my first visit to India, and I'm eager to augment my paltry knowledge of the subcontinent's great classical traditions.