On-the-job Training

UPDATE: The servers have propogated! The servers have propogated! Check out the new-and-improved blog at missmusicnerd.com!!

Nothing in technology happens without some bugs having to be worked out, right?

For a while now, I’ve wanted to migrate this here blog from free wordpress.com hosting to my own paid hosting, so I could add several features that I can’t currently have (audio hosting will be simpler, for one thing, I think… I hope…)

It took a while for me to wrangle the site layout until it bent to my will, but I finally succeeded, and yesterday, after checking with support staff from my new host to make sure I knew what to do, I entered the gobbledygook in the various fields and pressed save… and voilà!

missmusicnerd.com vanished into web limbo. Aaarrgh! Dang you, novice webmistress!

I checked with the support folks again and found that I had entered the wrong gobbledygook. They kindly supplied me with the correct gobbledygook, and I have entered it, but the millions of little squirrels running on wheels that power the interwebz will take a while to catch up. Until then, I’m very glad I have a backup here on wordpress.com.

Thanks, wordpress.com! Thanks, support folks! And I’m just glad I did this now, rather than during GRAMMY® week!

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Strange Beautiful Music in Detroit!

New Music Detroit
Strange Beautiful Music IV
Saturday, September 25 at 6 p.m.-1 a.m.
Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit
4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit MI

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It’s not every day that Detroit figures prominently in Arts and Entertainment media, but a random confluence of news items have recently flown over the transom here at Music Nerd Central, and I know, dear reader, that you’re counting on me to sort it all out for you. I live but to serve!

Why Detroit, you ask? Well, McDoc and I lived there for two years, so I have a soft spot for it, and being contrarian by nature, I enjoy having concrete evidence to counter the ubiquitous "Detroit sucks" meme.

I have the pilot episode of Detroit 1-8-7 on my DVR; a busy week of rehearsals for Saturday’s 30 Days Project in Concert have kept me from watching it yet. (Yes, Miss Music Nerd has a latent fondness for police procedurals. It’s just one of my many dirty secrets!)

One of my loyal informants has informed me that the Detroit Symphony players may go on strike if a contract dispute is not resolved soon. I used to live two blocks from the hall where they played, and enjoyed many wonderful concerts there, so this news saddens me. I hope negotiations go well.

Here’s the really important item that you’re less likely to have heard about, though: New Music Detroit presents Strange Beautiful Music IV!

New Music Detroit is a contemporary music group that I had the honor of meeting and working with a little bit while I lived in the D. In fact, it was quite serendipitous for me; before McDoc and I moved to Michigan, I searched online for contemporary music ensembles in Detroit and found none. I figured I’d be driving to Ann Arbor a lot. But not long after we arrived in the summer of 2007 — in fact, we were still sitting on folding chairs and living out of boxes — I heard a radio announcement NMD’s very first concert, and I delightedly hightailed it on down. Kismet!

Read here about my experience performing on their very first marathon concert back in September of ’07!

They are fantastic musicians who always put on an impressive show. The event this Saturday is their annual marathon show. Just $8 gets you as much or as little cutting-edge music as you can handle! If you’re in the Detroit area, check it out, and tell ’em Miss Music Nerd sent you!

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The 30 Days Project, Live in Concert!

I have exciting news, Music Nerds!

If you’ve been following the adventures of Miss Music Nerd for any length of time, you’ve probably heard mention of The 30 Days Project. Back in the summer of 2007, I wrote a short piece of music every day for 30 days, and posted digital recordings right here on the blog. I made the recordings using my digital piano and MIDI sounds provided by my resident ensemble, the All-Electron Philharmonic Orchestra.

Ever since I was in the thick of the project, it has been my dream to have all 30 pieces performed as a live concert at some point. It’s a logistical challenge given the number of instruments involved. But the starts and planets eventually aligned in just the right way, and I made the acquaintance of a group of talented musicians from New England Conservatory who were itching to tackle interesting new music projects. They call themselves the Inter-NEC Ensemble. Finding the musicians was the hardest part, but I also needed a venue. That’s where it helps to be involved in organizing a concert series at the church where I’m the Minister of Music!

So I am very pleased to announce that a dream three years in the making is finally coming true!

UPDATE: I almost forgot, I’m also planning to webcast this shindig, so if you’re not a local music nerd, watch this space for details! (MMN-TV is currently doing quality assurance testing!)

Here are the vital details:

Saturday, Sept. 25, 7:30 pm
St. John’s Episcopal Church
1 Roanoke Ave, Jamaica Plain (Google map link)

JP Concerts Presents:
The Inter-NEC Collective
The 30 Days Project
music by Linda Kernohan

$10 suggested donation • more info: jpconcerts.com

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Miss Music Nerd’s Fall Arts Preview: A Far Cry from Boston!

Fall really is upon us, Music Nerds! One minute I was enjoying my Labor Day vacay, and next thing I knew, the concert season was in full swing! For me, it started last night with the [plain] song, in a program being repeated Saturday and Sunday (details here).

photo: Yoon S. Byun

It continues tomorrow afternoon with A Far Cry. Fortunately for you, dear readers, you have three chances to hear this concert as well. However, I strongly recommend tomorrow’s performance, not only because it will be your chance to meet Miss Music Nerd in person, but also because the venue has marvelous acoustics and the tickets are only $10! (Said venue is the church where I am Minister of Music, so yeah, I’m biased!)

A Far Cry: “Primordial Darkness”
September 18 2010 4pm
JP Concerts, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Jamaica Plain

September 19 2010 1:30pm
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston

September 24 2010 8pm
Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory, Boston

A Far Cry is an exciting young string orchestra, now in its fourth season. They perform conductor-less, with the performers standing up (except the cellos!), which lends an intimacy and excitement to the playing that is very compelling. Or as they put it, “seeking the freedom and flexibility of a string quartet as well as the power and beauty of an orchestra.” In addition to their Boston area performance and outreach activities, they have recently begun taking it on the road, as an article in today’s Boston Globe relates.

The theme for their fourth season is “History of the Night,” and this first concert is titled “Primordial Darkness.” In keeping with that theme, they will play Mozart’s Serenata Notturna in D major. Here’s the full program lineup:

Xenakis: Analogique A et B
Mozart: Serenata Notturna in D major
Cornell: New Fantasias
Purcell: Suite from “The Old Bachelor”
Bartók: Divertimento for String Orchestra

The piece by Boston composer Richard Cornell was commissioned by and written for A Far Cry, so I’m very excited to hear it. I believe it is one of the pieces, along with the Xenakis, requiring the sound system the group is bringing in – I got a sneak peek today when I stopped by the venue to open the door!

So get ready to rock out in a classical kind of way, and tell ’em Miss Music Nerd sent you!

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What Miss Music Nerd Did On Her Summer Vacation!

PhotobucketGreetings and Happy Autumn, Music Nerds!

It’s been an exciting summer here at Music Nerd Central! Before I get into the details, I have a few important news items to share.

First off, if you live in the Boston area and you like to sing, you are cordially invited to check out Masterworks Chorale, a group that McDoc and I sing with. We have open rehearsals tonight at 7:30, and next Tuesday, September 21, same time. Click here for location and details!

September brings with it not only the excitement of my birthday (which was the 8th, but I’ll accept greetings all month!), but the start of the classical concert season as well. I’m going to preview what’s on offer this season in the coming weeks – selectively, of course, because covering Boston’s music scene could be a full-time job (for which I’m available if anyone wants to hire me!). Among the groups I’ll be covering are friends of MMN, Cantata Singers and L’Academie, as well as the aforementioned Masterworks.

PhotobucketOn Saturday, September 25 at 7:30 p.m., my 30 Days Project will be performed Live In Concert by members of the Inter-NEC Collective, from New England Conservatory. This will be the realization of a dream I’ve had ever since I completed the digital version of the project, so I’m really excited! Details are here.

PhotobucketAnd finally, I have my first official not-on-any-old-blog writing credit! One day, while procrastinating doing some musical work I really needed to do, I came across an Open Call on Salon.com’s blog network, Open Salon. They were asking for essays on the theme, “Conflicted Carnivores.” I’m more of a conflicted vegetarian, but I got inspired and wrote a piece entitled, “Of Guinea Pigs and Tuna Melts: My Mostly Vegetarian Journey.” It was tapped as an Editor’s Pick, and I was very excited. Then I got an email from the Open Salon editor saying they wanted to post the piece in the Food section of Salon.com itself, as in the actual online magazine, not the place where any schmo can fling their pixels. So here it is, with my real-name byline and everything: A Lutheran turned vegetarian. I like my original title much better, don’t you? Now I know how Milton Babbitt must’ve felt…

In July, I performed Schumann’s Dichterliebe for the first time, with singer Peter Terry, and I believe it was one of the hottest performances on record. Literally. We had to stop in the middle to give the audience a water break. The beautiful old church where we performed has no A/C, and it has fixed windows that can’t be un-fixed, as per the Boston Landmarks Commission. I wore a halter dress that I had previously judged too bare to perform in, but this was the kind of summer that makes you change your mind about such things!

In August, McDoc and I took a trip to Montreal, where I snagged several Keyboards of the World pics. And one evening while strolling through the Parc La Fontaine, we happened to be in the right place at the right time to hear a free performance by the chamber group Constantinople, who performed Baroque music by Marin Marais and Dimitrius Cantemir in the Theatre de Verdure.
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Constantinople Ensemble

Toward the end of the month, McDoc’s son visited from Southern California. Son of McDoc is twenty-three (I’m a trophy wife, you know 😉 ) and a connoisseur of Scandinavian heavy metal, so I always learn a lot from him. We forced him to attend the final Masterworks Chorale Summer Sing, because what young person doesn’t want to go to a sing-along Mozart Requiem? He had fun, I think – he pronounced the whole affair “pretty darn nerdy!” So what’s your point? 😀

Finally, I spent the first week of September visiting my family in Northern California, for the first time in over two years! I had a great time, and began a new collection of photos: watch this space for Guitars of the World, coming soon!

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Another One Bites the Dust

Thanks to everyone who voted for me in the “Your Own Show” competition! I got over 1200 votes, which is not bad for a last-minute entry, I think! 🙂

One cool dude, yes, but alas, not commercially viable. 😥

A short time ago, music nerd Andy brought to my attention that his local classical music radio station, KFUO 99.1 FM in St. Louis, would soon be going off the air, to be replaced by Joy FM, which will broadcast Christian pop music.

I just learned that today is the final day for the classical format, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is running an informal poll on its website asking which recording of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony should be the last selection played. Go and vote, if you’d like, or at least read the poll choices, which provide an interesting mini-history lesson on important recordings of the 9th and how they relate to social and political milestones of the 20th century.

Another interesting factoid in the Post-Dispatch article is that the classical station was sold down the river owned by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, which is headquartered in St. Louis. Now, I was born in St. Louis and raised in the LCMS, and VirgoMom worked for the church for a number of years, so I believe I have some standing to comment on this, and I would just like to say,

What the H-E-double-hockey-sticks, LCMS?!?!

Remember, J.S. Bach was Lutheran. My appreciation for sacred music developed in large part through the Lutheran Church, where I started playing for services when I was 12, first on piano, and not long after on organ. If any church can appreciate classical music, it oughta be the Lutherans! And while I very strongly believe that one mark of a good musician is the ability to appreciate all styles of music, I must confess that I am sorely challenged when it comes to Christian pop. I have heard some good stuff in the genre, but like anything that has to compete in a commercialized world, the good stuff is often swamped by a high quantity of mediocrity. (The same thing is true of country music, in my humble opinion, and I realize that saying such things can get me in big trouble from all sides! Put down those pitchforks, y’all!)

Anyway, the loss of a classical station is a sad thing for those of us who have built our lives around this music. It brings up several thorny issues relating to our poor track record in drawing and retaining audiences, the cruel vagaries of the marketplace that elevate mass appeal over quality (and if you think that sounds elitist, please riddle me this: what’s your favorite restaurant? What restaurant do you feel is the best? Now, what restaurant has the highest revenue? Yeah. 😛 ), and the near impossibility of earning a full-time income in my chosen profession. Yeah, I’m a little bit bitter — sorry.

Now, I realize that life will go on, and in fact, so will KFUO-FM, in an online incarnation. But that means that drivers in the St. Louis area won’t be able to run across classical music serendipitously as they scan their radio dial. As the world becomes more compartmentalized and specialized, we only encounter what we’ve already chosen for ourselves, which limits what we can be. It’s a pity.

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BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

vuvuzelaOkay, music nerds, so I’m a little late to this party. I hesitated to jump on the bandwagon, because I’m a fragile flower with delicate ears, but I figure I should chronicle this phenomenon for the sake of posterity… or something like that! 😉

But first, these messages!

Plenty of time left to view and vote for my “Your OWN Show” audition video! Voting is open until July 3 at 11:59 pm Pacific Time, and you can vote as often as you wish! 😀 (Note: it takes time for the vote count to update, so don’t worry if the total doesn’t change immediately when you click the button. Thanks for your support!)

YOSvideoSStxt

And if you’re in the Boston area, come to Jamaica Plain tomorrow night for an incredible classical music double feature, presented by JP Concerts! At 7:30 pm, the Arcturus Chamber Ensemble performs music by Mozart, Beethoven, Ginastera, and Prokofiev. Then at 9:30, classical guitarist John Muratore and accordionist/composer Roberto Cassan play Piazzolla, Debussy, Galliano, Leo Brouwer, Cassan and others. The first show is free (though donations are gratefully accepted), and the second is $10. Click here for more info.

Now, let’s get down to business!

The vuvuzela has inspired both outrage and fascination during this year’s World Cup. The outrage isn’t a one-way sentiment, either — see this hard news item: South African Vuvuzela Philharmonic Angered By Soccer Games Breaking Out During Concerts (nicely done on the choice of composers cited, BTW!)

I was glad to learn that the music nerds of the world stepped up to the plate (wait — that’s the wrong sport!) and found the serious side of all this. There’s the trumpet player Alison Balsom, who applied her stellar chops to the instrument in the video on this page (sorry I can’t embed it here). Then there’s this:

Brahms and Ravel played on the Vuvuzela

McDoc, who was a trombone player once upon a time, feels these players are overusing the high register of the instrument. I’m impressed by what they can do, but I would also like to hear some more bass vuvuzela.

Oh, wait — all I have to do is click here: Vuvuzela FM (CAUTION: autoplay site! Will buzz when you click!). Or, I can play it myself!

And if all of that isn’t enough for you, you can follow the vuvuzela on Twitter!

On the other hand, you may just want to invest in this equipment. 😉

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