Pin It

Aluminum Pipes, Amplified Cactus 

click to enlarge laurelmasseforecast_2.gif

“Duke Ellington said there’s two kinds of music: good music and bad music. And I think there’s two kinds of spiritual music: overt and covert,” observes Laurel Masse. Her own tastes are eclectic. The Manhattan Transfer, the group Masse co-founded, combined big band, doo wop, pop, and bebop influences. (Their secret model was the Kingston Trio.) But whatever she sings, there is one common element. “I am so heavily steeped in swing, that whether I’m singing a Basie chart or Mozart, it’s going to swing!” she remarks. Masse will appear with pianist Tex Arnold and bassist Tom Hubbard at the Chamber Arts Festival of Marbletown on May 24. She recently lived in Highland, New York for five years, so the concert is a homecoming of sorts for her.

Eclecticism is key to the festival. Artistic director David Alpher chose the term “chamber arts” to move beyond traditional violin-viola-cello quartets. “I want to include many types of intimate expression, encompassing chamber music, cabaret, multi-media projects, spoken word, jazz—artforms meant to be personal, stage-to-audience,” he explains.

On May 31, the festival’s first “Evening of Multimedia Chamber Music” will present Alpher’s own composition, “Las Meninas: Variations,” accompanied by the images which inspired it—a series of Picasso paintings based on a work by Velazquez. “Voice of the Whale” by George Crumb includes intense blue lighting, and the three performers wear black half-masks. The instruments are piano, flute, and cello—all amplified.

Phillip Bimstein is a composer from Springdale, Utah, where he has also served two terms as mayor. Bimstein first came to prominence as the leader of the new wave band Phil ’n’ the Blanks in the ’80s. His works still have a pop sensibility, just without the constraints of the three-minute rock song. Bimstein describes “Half Moon at Checkerboard Mesa” as a “fantasy for horn, frogs, crickets, and coyotes,” using recordings from outside his Utah home.

On May 30, the festival hosts its first percussion group, the Brooklyn-based quartet So Percussion, which resembles an indie rock band in their photos. And perhaps they are one. Some of their original compositions, such as “the so-called laws of nature III” sound like all-acoustic techno music. “Percussion,” of course, does not necessarily mean drums. Ethereal bells, glockenspiel, bowed marimba, and toy piano also qualify—as well as aluminum pipes and an amplified cactus.

On a more traditional note, the Peabody Trio will perform Zhou Long’s “Spirit of Chimes” as well as Beethoven’s “Archduke” Trio on May 23. The group’s instrumentation is piano, cello, and violin. This trio won the prestigious Naumburg Chamber Music Award in 1989.

All concerts take place at SUNY Ulster’s Quimby Theatre. The festival erects a “thrust stage” over the orchestra pit, to create a more intimate mood.

Alpher gives a series of free lectures each year illuminating the concerts. On May 6 he will discuss “The Intimate Art of Cabaret” with his wife, the singer Jennie Litt. On May 13, he will narrate on the history of the string quartet. The May 20 lecture explores Alpher’s “Las Meninas: Variations.” Rhe festival offers free admission to any student up to 12th grade.

The Chamber Arts Festival of Marbletown runs on two weekends, from May 23 to
June 1, at SUNY Ulster’s Quimby Theatre. (845) 687-2687; www.chamberartsfestival.org.

Speaking of...

  • Terrapin Craft Beer Experience
  • Terrapin Craft Beer Experience

    The Terrapin Craft Beer Experience puts NY State food and drink front and center.
    • Oct 1, 2016
  • Brick Alley Block Party, September 24 – Rain or Shine
  • Brick Alley Block Party, September 24 – Rain or Shine

    Celebrate GARNER Arts Center’s Exhibition, Transposing Perception, wandering through site specific art, music & dance installations throughout connecting 19th Century warehouses and alleyways, ending with a DJ set in a starlit Brick Alleyway. Food trucks, craft beer, wine & cider.
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • FreshGrass at MassMoCA
  • FreshGrass at MassMoCA

    Bluegrass festival comes to MassMoCA September 16 to 18.
    • Sep 1, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Hefestus Iron Pour

    The second annual Hefestus festival is returning on May 23 for a full day of iron casting, sculpting, and metalwork, with live music, food, and drinks.
    • May 1, 2015
  • A Light That Never Goes Out

    The Newburgh Illuminated Festival takes place on Saturday, June 20, from 11am to midnight on Liberty Street and Broadway in Newburgh. Newburghilluminatedfestival.com.
    • Jun 1, 2015

Hudson Valley Events

submit event
Beacon Second Saturday @ Downtown Beacon

Beacon Second Saturday

Second Saturday of every month — The BAUsters have something special this month - the celebration of...

View all of today's events

Latest in Festivals

  • Ahimsa Yoga & Music Festival
  • Ahimsa Yoga & Music Festival

    A weekend-long celebration of traditional and emerging styles of yoga and music at Hunter Mountain, November 4 to 6.
    • Nov 1, 2016
  • Brick Alley Block Party, September 24 – Rain or Shine
  • Brick Alley Block Party, September 24 – Rain or Shine

    Celebrate GARNER Arts Center’s Exhibition, Transposing Perception, wandering through site specific art, music & dance installations throughout connecting 19th Century warehouses and alleyways, ending with a DJ set in a starlit Brick Alleyway. Food trucks, craft beer, wine & cider.
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Summer Hoot
  • Summer Hoot

    • Aug 1, 2016
  • More »

Related to Festivals

  • La Guelaguetza Festival
  • La Guelaguetza Festival

    For the eighth year this August, Grupo Folclórico de Poughkeepsie is bringing La Guelaguetza to Waryas Park in Poughkeepsie, to share the tradition with locals.
    • Aug 1, 2016
  • Hudson’s Gateway for Music and Art Lovers
  • Hudson’s Gateway for Music and Art Lovers

    With a broad range of programming like experimental film screenings, unconventional art events, and community gatherings, Basilica Hudson draws crowds. And their antifestival, Basilica SoundScape, offers families a chance to get in on the action on September 13th.
    • Aug 31, 2015
  • More »

More by Sparrow

Hudson Valley Tweets