Medieval Love Songs from Asteria at Brooklyn Public Library

December 2nd, 2010 by Peter McDowell No comments »
December 5, 2010
4:00 pm

Asteria (Sylvia Rhyne, soprano, and Eric Redlinger, tenor and lute) seeks to bring a narrative quality and emotional immediacy to their late-medieval vocal and instrumental music. Their historically informed settings are based on extensive archival research into original sources in Paris, The Hague, and Basel, Switzerland.

They will present “Music for a Rash Prince – medieval love songs from the court of Charles the Bold” on December 5th at the Dweck Center for Contemporary Culture, Brooklyn Public Library, main branch, Flatbush Avenue and Eastern Parkway on Grand Army Plaza; nearest subway: 2,3 or 4 train to either the Grand Army Plaza station or to the Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum station.

This concert is given in honor of Early Music America‘s 25th Anniversary.

“Calendar Girl” Colleen McHugh presents STOCKING FULL OF PROZAC

December 1st, 2010 by Peter McDowell No comments »
December 9, 2010
9:30 pm

Celebrate another great year of fabulous CALENDAR GIRL shows at NYC’s Duplex with a timely collection of super-fun classics, little-known gems, and lots of comedy and original improv. Acclaimed singer, writer, actor and comic Colleen McHugh will be joined by a very special guest star: the hilarious Jeff Hiller (who works from time to time on BLOODY, BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON and 30 ROCK) will work his magical holiday humor all over you.

Just when you’ll need it: a hilarious holiday evening of music and comedy celebrating the darker side of red and green. Bring all your painful holiday memories – they’ll make up a song about ‘em — the perfect gift: catharsis for Christmas.

Eugene Gwozdz, musical director

Thursday, December 9th at 9:30pm at THE DUPLEX – 61 Christopher Street @Seventh Ave., NYC

Reservations here.

There’s a two drink minimum… but the pills are entirely up to you!

NYC and NJ CD Release Concerts for Steve Hudson Chamber Ensemble

November 28th, 2010 by Peter McDowell No comments »
December 18, 2010 7:30 pmtoDecember 19, 2010 9:30 pm

“A little bluegrass, a little rock-n-roll, a little scat, a turn at tango.  How does “Galactic Diamonds” offer such a genre-bending sound? – try the diversity of the players” – Aural States

The Steve Hudson Chamber Ensemble (, led by composer Steve Hudson – piano/melodica, and featuring Zach Brock – violin, and Jody Redhage – cello/voice plays two CD release events for their newly released album “Galactic Diamonds” – on Saturday, December 18th, 7:30pm, at Mo Fiddles (, 4260 Town Center Way, Livingston, NJ (Admission is $15, (973) 994-1083 for more information) and on Sunday, December 19th from 7:30-9:30 pm, at Miles Café (, 212 E. 52nd St. 3Fl. (b/2nd & 3rd Ave. – E/V train to 53rd St./Lexington, 6 train to 51st St.), New York, NY ($10 admission with $10 drink/food minimum). The Steve Hudson Chamber Ensemble performs original genre bending works rooted in jazz, classical, tango, and rock for violin, cello/voice, piano/melodica, and cajon/percussion.

Praised by Keyboard Magazine for his “exquisite compositions” and for “a quest for beauty in his lines that evoke the masters,” Steve Hudson has worked with Steven Bernstein, James Zollar, Marcus Rojas, and Claire Daly. Zach Brock has performed and recorded with Stanley Clarke, Joel Harrison, and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, while Jody Redhage currently tours with bassist Esperanza Spalding and has performed with the Tokyo String Quartet, and Bang on a Can. The ensemble was recently selected to perform at Chamber Music America’s national conference in New York in January 2011, and in March will tour Italy and Austria to promote “Galactic Diamonds,” which is available for purchase or download at iTunes and at

Steve Hudson is a pianist and composer based in New York City whose compositions and piano style embrace the history of jazz, blues, folk, and modern classical music, all with a free spirited love of improvisation. In addition to his work with the chamber ensemble, he is cofounder of the Outer Bridge Ensemble. His jazz sextet recorded the album “Shine” which featured Curtis Fowlkes, James Zollar, Marcus Rojas, Claire Daly, vocalist Peter Eldridge and other New York artists. In May 2011, Steve and saxophonist Claire Daly will premier an extended suite at the Juneau Jazz Festival dedicated to the Alaskan explorer Mary Joyce.

Hudson was largely self taught, and learned the instrument by ear and by playing along with Ray Charles and Lou Rawls’ records, thanks to the encouragement and guidance of his teachers James Reed and Jim Ellington. He graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in English literature and divided his love of music with a teaching and writing career. In his early twenties he met the pianist Barry Harris who introduced him to the world of bebop, and everything changed. Steve threw himself into music and never looked back. He fell in love with an eclectic world of music which included Miles Davis, Gil Evans, Red Garland, Ahmad Jamal, Astor Piazzolla, James Brown, the Beatles, Ray Charles, Bach, Ravel and others. Steve went on to study with Stanley Cowell and Kenny Barron, and earn a graduate music degree from Manhattan School of Music.

Matthew Welch’s BLARVUSTER – CD Release Party and Concert at Brooklyn’s Zebulon on December 8th.

November 17th, 2010 by Peter McDowell No comments »
December 8, 2010
8:00 pm

“The ensemble’s border-busting music is original and catchy. . .Blarvuster is worth sticking around for.” – The New York Times

Chamber ensemble/rock band hybrid features Matthew Welch’s compositions & Welch on bagpipes, sax, voice.

In the infectiously ecstatic fervor of Blarvuster‘s music, Scottish bagpipes, Balinese gamelan, minimalism, improvisation and rock converge in a labyrinthine, multi-textural sound. Blarvuster will be performing the Mosaic of Iridescence (2010) at a CD Release Party and free Concert to be held at Zebulon, 258 Wythe Avenue in Brooklyn, NY on December 8th, 2010 at 8pm. Also on the bill will be Ches Smith and the David Crowell Ensemble. For more information, call 718 218 6934 or visit

Led by Matthew Welch, Blarvuster ( has been a mainstay at New York venues including John Zorn’s The Stone, Issue Project Room, Zebulon, and The Cornelia Street Cafe and has delivered commanding commissioned performances at The Kitchen, MOMA’s PS1, Roulette, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (EMPAC), and The Western Front (Vancouver). Blarvuster, whose self-titled debut CD was released on John Zorn’s Tzadik label (11/2010), presents a completely unique form of music played with extreme virtuosity and sensitivity by a stellar line-up of some of the brightest young musicians in New York.

Matthew Welch is an exciting young composer, saxophonist and virtuoso piper who has discovered the hidden nexus of the Celtic and Balinese musical traditions. Matt’s second CD for Tzadik presents two exciting new projects: a beautifully orchestrated opera expanding on the language of minimalism with honesty and originality, and his dynamic touring band Blarvuster, which blends the complex skirls and rhythmic subtleties of the Highland pipes with a vibrant rock sensibility. Featuring the best out of yet another new generation of downtown musicians, this is lush and exotic new music from a fresh new compositional explorer.

Hailed by Time Out New York as “a composer possessed of both rich imagination and the skill to bring his fancies to life,” Matthew Welch is the director and composer for Blarvuster. Welch has worked with Anthony Braxton, Alvin Lucier, Ikue Mori, Zeena Parkins, Julia Wolfe and John Zorn and has also recorded for the Mode, and Cantaloupe labels to name a few. Welch’s previous Tzadik release, Dream Tigers (2005) made both of Time Out New York’s top 10 Classical and non-classical album lists for 2005, adding to the eager anticipation of this year’s release.

Band members include: Leah Paul (flutes), who has worked with TV on the Radio, The Dirty Projectors, and Anthony Braxton and leads her own pop-band The Bridesmaids. Karen Waltuch (viola) has worked with Wilco, Beth Orton, The Walkmen, Jim O’Rourke, Tammy Wynette, and The Roulette Sisters. Mary Halvorson (guitar) is a veteran of the Anthony Braxton Trio and Anthony Braxton 12tet, and the leader of The Mary Halvorson Trio and Quintet. Ian Riggs (bass) has worked with Howard Fishman, Ethan Lipton, One Ring Zero, Hilary Hawke, Likeness to Lily, and The Lonesome Trio. Tomas Fujiwara (drums) leads his quintet Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up, and works in a duo with Taylor Ho Bynum and the collective quartet The Thirteenth Assembly.

Photo by Michael Weintrob.

“Music at First”: Ken Thomson’s Slow/Fast, and Lainie Fefferman’s Phthia

November 12th, 2010 by Peter McDowell No comments »
December 3, 2010
7:30 pmto9:30 pm

Ken Thomson’s new Quintet “Slow/Fast”, and Lainie Fefferman’s Quartet “Phthia” will close the adventurous Fall Season of Music at First on Friday, December 3rd, 2010 at 7:30pm. This new music series is held at First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn, located at 124 Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights. Tickets are $10 at the door. Contact for more info. Directions:

MUSIC AT FIRST (, curated by Wil Smith (composer who also serves as organist at First Presbyterian), occurs monthly, featuring two performers or ensembles per evening. A diverse mix of New York City’s best ensembles and performers, accessible to a wide audience of both community members and seasoned listeners, Music at First has been described by Steve Smith in The New York Times as a “vibrant, eclectic new-music series.” This season has already included performances by Kyle Bobby Dunn, Dither, Eleonore Oppenheim, Lesley Flanigan, Flutronix, and Isabelle O’Connell.

Ken Thomson (, co-leader of Gutbucket and Asphalt Orchestra, performer in Signal, World/Inferno Friendship Society, Fire in July, and acclaimed emerging composer commissioned by Bang on a Can and the American Composers Orchestra, unveils a new project called SLOW/FAST ( This concert is the official release event for their debut CD, “It Would Be Easier If”, housed on the German label, Intuition Records. This recording has been called “…an impressive amalgam of influences, ideas and inventiveness…. exciting and at times mesmerizing” by Bruce Lindsay (All About Jazz). Slow/Fast aims to connect the heavily-composed work Thomson has written and connect it with small ensemble jazz. The music is long-form and through-composed, yet requires the personality of the musicians to succeed. The concept is called “21st Century Third Stream.”  The band includes some of the outer boroughsʼ great talents –other sympatico musicians whom Thomson met over over a decade playing in the NY scene. Band members Russ Johnson (trumpet), Nir Felder (guitar), Adam Armstrong (bass), & Fred Kennedy (drums) are all capable of reading very complex music as well as bringing fire to improvisation.

PHTHIA, led by composer/vocalist Lainie Fefferman (, is an unconventional folk group with a beautiful and unique voice.  Backed by a quirky acoustic ensemble of all-star players (Sara Budde on clarinets; James Moore on banjo, guitar, and mandolin; and Missy Mazzoli on melodica), Fefferman mixes her musical loves in songs that draw from rigorous minimalism, breezy folk tunes, and gritty rock ballads. New Music Box calls Fefferman’s music “A provocative rocking that sounds good, feels good.”

FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF BROOKLYN (FPC) is committed to supporting the arts in the community, and has been noted by Lucid Culture blog as as “doing double duty as comfortable neighborhood hang and avant garde central for the budget conscious.”  FPC is an open and intentionally diverse congregation, by race, culture, age, theology, and sexual orientation.