Jacob Greenberg

Sunday, November 23, 2008

space age

For ICE's upcoming portrait concert at Miller Theatre of Marc-Andre Dalbavie, I'm playing synthesizer and organ. The synth part for Dalbavie's viola concerto was originally written (in the eighties) for a Yamaha DX7, but I'm not sure what I'll be playing--rest assured, it will sound funky. I've met Dalbavie once before, when I played a piece of his years ago in Chicago; Boulez conducted.

It was a really nice week in Bowling Green with Claire and then in Chicago with ICE. I was overseeing the inaugural concert of our residency at Northwestern University, my graduate school alma mater, and it was interesting to be back, no longer as a student. Chicago is very, very happy these days, post-election.

This coming week for me will be about learning more notes, and I'm gearing up for a few recording dates for my solo album.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


A thought after practicing the Schoenberg Suite this afternoon: writing this piece, Schoenberg was like a kid in a candy store. It is the first large-scale twelve-tone piece ever written, from 1925: six dance movements based on a single twelve-note row. Especially as he took the extra step of limiting himself in the piece's composition--using only the prime version and one transposed form of the row--Schoenberg was clearly having a blast, reveling in his own creativity and imagining the future of music fashioned in his iconoclastic image. The Suite is fantastically funny, and delightful, at every moment. It's great to play it again.

Claire Chase and I play a very different twelve-tone piece next week in Bowling Green, Boulez's Sonatine from 1946; the Sonatine is playful too, but Boulez also takes delight in his distinct brand of sonic violence.

Two weekends ago, Tony Arnold and I had a very nice few shows of Messiaen's Harawi at the Library of Congress and in (newly blue) North Carolina. It felt really good to be joining in the celebration of his centennial.