Outdated Knowledge and Music

Portable music trumps any live or "pre-recorded" event!

Earlier today, I gave one of my students a CD of a number tracks from my various music ensembles (at her request).  Her immediate response (after thanking me) was to ask me if I would like the CD–which was simply a burn of live tracks–back.

Her rationale was that she would be putting it in her Ipod (after which she told me how many thousands of tunes she has digitally–after the addition of mine)–the implication of which was that she would no longer need a copy of the burned CD  I gave her.

Continue reading

“A Klingon Christmas Carol” opens tonight!!

KCC2011-pageimage.jpgThe music I composed and recorded will have it’s official premiere tonight.  It has already been featured during three preview shows last week, but tonight marks the opening night of the production.  Blurb about it below:

il Troubadore Klingon Music Project will make a special guest appearance at the opening night of “A Klingon Christmas Carol!!”

A Klingon Christmas Carol
By Christopher O. Kidder and Sasha Walloch
Translated by Laura Thurston, Bill Hedrick, and Christopher O. Kidder
Additional Content and Translation by Chris Lipscombe
Lyrics to qu’wI’ by Terrence Donnelly
Music composed by Jon Silpayamanant/il Troubadore

Directed by Christopher O. Kidder

Featuring Kevin Alves and Zach Livingston

Scrooge has no honor, nor any courage. Can three ghosts help him to
become the true warrior he ought to be in time to save Tiny Tim from a
horrible fate? Performed in the Original Klingon with English
Supertitles, and narrative analysis from The Vulcan Institute of
Cultural Anthropology.

“The show honors the true meaning of Christmas” – Conan O’Brien

Friday, November 25, 2011 at 7:30 PM
Greenhouse Theater – Downstairs Mainstage
2257 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
Phone: (773) 404-7336
Website: greenhousetheater.org
E-Mail: maureen@greenhousetheater.org



10,000 hours or talent?

a statue tripping

A recent piece in the NYTimes gives a sobering palliative to Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘10,000 hours’ meme.  This particular excerpt relates specifically to music:

In our own recent research, we have discovered that “working memory capacity,” a core component of intellectual ability, predicts success in a wide variety of complex activities. In one study, we assessed the practice habits of pianists and then gauged their working memory capacity, which is measured by having a person try to remember information (like a list of random digits) while performing another task. We then had the pianists sight read pieces of music without preparation.

Not surprisingly, there was a strong positive correlation between practice habits and sight-reading performance. In fact, the total amount of practice the pianists had accumulated in their piano careers accounted for nearly half of the performance differences across participants. But working memory capacity made a statistically significant contribution as well (about 7 percent, a medium-size effect). In other words, if you took two pianists with the same amount of practice, but different levels of working memory capacity, it’s likely that the one higher in working memory capacity would have performed considerably better on the sight-reading task.

I’ve always felt it was a combination, in other words, it doesn’t matter how much talent you have if you don’t use it or learn how to develop it.  And that takes practice.  And there are just somethings that no amount of practicing will allow most of us to accomplish that folks with an incredible amount of talent  would be able to do with some measure of ease. Continue reading

Action Painting, Performance Art and Music

Jon Silpayamanant as Noiseman433 and DJ Leprakon doing a collaborative experimental noise and action painting performance at Va Va Vegas Burlesque show in Louisville, Kentucky at the Art Sanctuary (June 18, 2010)

A recent post by Eric Edberg, Painting to Music, reminded me of some of my past experiences in this interesting collaborative genre.  I mentioned a performance painting done by David Garibaldi (which I didn’t get to see, sadly) at DePauw while I was in school at his blog. A brief warning before scrolling down to some of the video documentaries as these are probably not safe for work (NSFW).

Here’s a video similar to what was described to me by a friend who did happen to see the performance:

I think that live painting (in performance) can be traced at least as far back as the 50s and 60s (maybe earlier, but I haven’t really researched this much and am just going on my general knowledge of the modern arts scene).  Jackson Pollock, who wasn’t necessarily a performer in the sense that David Garibaldi is, might possibly considered the first.

Continue reading

S.A.R.A. “Sounds and Rhythms of Afghanistan”

S.A.R.A. "Sounds and Rhythms of Afghanistan"

So tonight I will be going to the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts to see S.A.R.A. (Sounds and Rhythms of Afghanistan).  This show will be exciting as I’ve spent so much time the past couple of years learning about the Uzbek doira through the career of Abbos Kosimov and he is actually a member of this ensemble!

Four of Asia’s most acclaimed musicians come together for a fusion of cultures and art forms to create SARA, featuring Salar Nader, who thrilled local audiences in Actors Theatre’s production of The Kite Runner, and Homayoun Sakhi, master of the rubâb (the national lute of Afghanistan). Drawing on centuries’ old heritages from throughout Central and South Asia, SARA explores musical styles both ancient and completely modern.

I had no idea this group existed until seeing some of the advertisements for this show recently.  This is going to be a nice prelude to my show tomorrow night with Raks Makam where I’ll be playing a doira solo with dancers.  This is a part of a tour with members of the Bellydance Superstars called Club Bellydance which features local acts in the first half of the show.

I never thought I would get a chance to Kosimov so soon–this will definitely be a treat, as will the show tomorrow night.  And just getting a chance to hear classical Afghani music will be a pleasure as there are so many similarities to South Asian classical music but I’ve never had a chance to hear the former live.

Continue reading