The Dec. 2 print edition of the Boston Globe includes a terrific profile of the Dutch pianist Reinier Van Houdt by David G. Weininger, my former Globe colleague and an insightful arts journalist and critic. The profile (which is already online here) previews a Non-Event concert coming up on Dec. 6 in Boston, at which Van Houdt will perform Green Hour, Grey Future, a 75-minute composition by Michael Pisaro, a California composer and member of the increasingly visible, widely influential Wandelweiser collective.
In the profile, Weininger explains how Van Houdt came to his path as a preeminent advocate for new music: not as a conservatory-forged interpreter who found his way from the classical canon to living repertoire, but rather as a tinkerer and experimenter from the start, who began with contemporary music and worked his way backward. Van Houdt describes to Weininger the epiphany that helped him find his way into the Wandelweiser spirit:
“Silence is not just silence; you listen to the environment. And if you listen really closely to the environment, you start realizing that in a way your ears are making it into music.”
Having reviewed for The New York Times a Van Houdt recital that included a Pisaro composition, Fields Have Ears (1), at Spectrum in New York City in March 2014, I can warmly commend the Dec. 6 concert. But the Globe profile is also recommended to readers outside of Boston, for three key reasons. The first is Van Houdt’s most recent recording, the earth and the sky, a definitive 3CD survey of Pisaro’s piano music newly released on the new ErstClass imprint of the venerable new-music label Erstwhile Records, and available anywhere you might happen to be.
Second, on Dec. 8 Van Houdt will perform Maneuvers for Small Hands, a seldom-encountered 1960 work by the sorely missed maverick composer Robert Ashley, at Roulette in downtown Brooklyn, part of an Interpretations bill that also includes Brian Schober’s monodrama White Witch. (You can watch Van Houdt give the work’s European premiere in the video embedded above.)
And finally, Van Houdt will reprise Pisaro’s Green Hour, Grey Future on Dec. 10 at Studio Z in St. Paul, Minnesota, as part of the crow with no mouth concert series.
Turning back to Boston for a moment, Non-Event eminence Susanna Bolle sends word of a new opportunity for experimental artists: (The) Co-Incidence Residency, a week-long program coordinated by composers Luke Martin and Aaron Foster Bresley at Washington Street Arts in Somerville, MA. Scheduled to run Jan. 24-30, 2017, the residency will provide six guest artists with the opportunity to work closely together, day and night, and to collaborate with resident artist Pisaro and other Boston-area creators and performers. You’ll find complete details here; the deadline for application is Saturday, Dec. 10. – Steve Smith