Among other exciting events, Rick Robinson announces a Nov. 22, 2014 concert of the Simfonica at Detroit's Carr Center, The Legacy of Black-American Classical Composers. It will be streamed live on the Internet.
Hello again... it's Rick! And I have NEW tales of optimism, travel and progress in the pursuit of new audiences for symphonic music.
THIS Saturday the Michigan Philharmonic will premiere the newest orchestration of my hit Pork 'n Beans (PnB) in Canton's Cherry Hill Village Theater! A composition, I've learned, is a lot like a child: you want her to mature, make friends and outlive you. Music Director Nan Washburn took an immediate shine to PnB, letting me develop and expand her wildly from the original string sextet. The title lets me compare classical music to a plate of delicious foods. And if the audience is still hungry after the concert, I'll offer them our new SoundCloud playlist. (IXITI article on this event)
It has been announced recently that I won a composer residency with a young orchestra in Houston TX, the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (aka ROCO). The granting program is New Music USA's Music Alive and will fund a week of activities next season culminating in the premiere of a new orchestration of my Gitcha Groove On!. We're also planning a week of advanced outreach and educational services with CutTime's symphonic covers and originals.
Matching donations have increased steadily since I put out the word the Knight Foundation project was in jeopardy. Thanks to ALL of you who are stepping up! It's safe to say we've raised more than $23,000 of the $30,000 needed. The rest of you can still become heroes, both NOW (tax-deductible) and during our upcoming Kickstarter campaign launching Nov. 16. Be ready to spread the good word and make a pledge. We MUST get over the hump by December 15! If you'd like to directly help with the campaign, please email me ASAP!
Meanwhile CutTime Simfonica performed a surprising opener in Durham, NC late-September for the Kidznotes El Sistema program. Pork 'n Beans never sounds so good as when it's translated to Cerdo con Frijoles. Kids were engaged to both play and listen. Then the advanced string group played my Serenade beautifully with the addition of two flutes. I also met with online musicians about partnerships in Blacksburg, Winston-Salem and Greensboro.
Back home I led Simfonica in an amplified event in the new student union at U of M Dearborn. With perhaps 120 students attending, we gave them everything from Bach to Rite of Spring, Charles Ives, to YES, Pork 'n Beans! We partnered with faculty Afrikan drummer Sowande Keita and poet Aurora Harris. With opportunities like these, it is POSSIBLE to reset the context for classical!
Simfonica also performed at a wcsafe.org fundraiser for sexual assault victim support and awareness. Sadly, the program ran so late we could only perform half of what we prepared. Cheryl Chodun hosted and Barbara Frankel generously sponsored our appearance. (Would you like to sponsor us for a concert?)
Next I hit I-77 again and made tons of new friends playing in a new black orchestra festival in Charleston, SC called Colour of Music. Warm weather, good people, a spectacular Porgy and Bess and Verdi's Requiem prompted great networking with musicians from Atlanta, Birmingham, Florida and New York. Since my mother moved to Atlanta recently, I hope to build New Classical opportunities down South.
Next week I go to my alma mater the Cleveland Institute of Music for sessions with freshman and seniors. With each group I'll share advice for reaching excellence, plus plant the seeds for effectively sharing classical outside our bubble. I hope some students might build their own artistic innovations. I'll see if I can get a spontaneous reading session going.
Coming up next are exciting Detroit events. The next Classical Revolution Detroit event is scheduled for Nov. 18 (T) 8p-11 at the Cadieux Café. While still a volunteer series, we expect a good turnout of musicians reading lively chamber music amplified in the club setting. These evenings are extremely surprising; and not always pleasantly. casual and I try to make them fun. And often enough some prepared ensembles sign up to play a set. Once the Knight Project begins, I'll hire and program ensembles, allowing wiggle room (and music) for community musicians to sit in, play a solo or perhaps to conduct us!
The evening of November 22nd Simfonica will play a large program at The Carr Center, which will also be streamed LIVE on the internet! The Legacy of Black-American Classical Composers explores a line of works from JS Bach to Antonin Dvorak, William Grant Still to Duke Ellington, Adolphus Hailstork to my own works. Remember: the best sound is always INSIDE the room.
The very next evening we'll perform half this program in the 3rd-floor, Eastern Market church studio of Artlab J, a new community dance company in Detroit. The cool new format, called Art & Soul, will include a dinner, a short performance, then an interview exploring artistic goals and processes. I'm very excited to test this format out.
And finally, I'm also very excited that CutTime Simfonica will be performing in Portsmouth Ohio, south of Columbus, December 16th in the fabulous Vern Riffe Center for the Arts. Joining me will be Columbus Symphony musicians for a full-length program. We'll also reach out the night before with a Classical Revolution event at the corner Irish pub! Community musicians joining us for that will be the Portsmouth Wind Symphony. I'll bring some CutTime Players music along for that session. It should be two GREAT nights!
Well, as you can see, there's no shortage of opportunities and imagination for sharing classical music; just a shortage of time and funding. Please join CutTime to cut loose with classical for new audiences!
- Rick Robinson