Thursday, December 17, 2009

New eBook: What Matters Now

Check out the wonderful new free eBook What Matters Now — cogitated and conglomerated by marketing mavin Seth Godin.

You can download the entire PDF eBook from Godin's blog here.

The book includes a half gross of one-page snapshot essays by of some of the "big thinkers" of today, all chosen by Godin for the project:

  1. Generosity - Seth Godin
  2. Fear - Anne Jackson
  3. Facts - Jessica Hagy
  4. Diginity - Jacqueline Novogratz
  5. Meaning - Hugh McLeod
  6. Ease - Elizabeth Gilbert
  7. Connected - Howard Mann
  8. Re-Capitalism - Chris Meyer
  9. Vision - Michael Hyatt
  10. Enrichment - Rajesh Setty
  11. 1% - Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell
  12. Speaking - Mark Hurst
  13. ATOMS - Chris Anderson
  14. Excellence - Tom Peters
  15. Most - William C. Taylor
  16. Strengths - Marti Barletta
  17. Ripple - John Wood
  18. Unsustainability - Alan Webber
  19. Autonomy - Dan Pink
  20. Poker - Tony Hsieh
  21. Momentum - Dave Ramsey
  22. Consequence - Saul Griffith
  23. Power - Jeffrey Pfeffer
  24. Harmony - Jack Covert
  25. Tough-Mindedness - Steven Pressfield
  26. Evangelism - Guy Kawasaki
  27. Compassion - Mitch Joel
  28. Knowledge - Alisa Miller
  29. Parsing - Clay Johnson
  30. Forever - Piers Fawkes
  31. Empathy - Karen Armstrong
  32. Neoteny - Joi Ito
  33. Celebrate - Megan Casey
  34. DIY - Jay Parkinson
  35. Adventure - Robyn Waters
  36. Dumb - Dave Balter
  37. Nobody - Micah Sifry
  38. Analog - George Dyson
  39. Independent Diplomacy - Carne Ross
  40. THNX - Gary Vaynerchuk
  41. Attention - David Meerman Scott
  42. Context - Jeff Jonas
  43. Change - Chip and Dan Heath
  44. Passion - Derek Sivers
  45. Magnetize - Fred Krupp
  46. Confidence - Tim Sanders
  47. Slow Capital - Fred Wilson
  48. Open-Source DNA - Kevin Kelly
  49. Technology - Phoebe Espiritu
  50. Expertise - Aaron Wall
  51. Fascination - Sally Hogshead
  52. Difference - David Weinberger
  53. World Healers - Martha Beck
  54. Sacrifice - John Moore
  55. Focus - Todd Sattersten
  56. Leap - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  57. Women - Paco Underhill
  58. Timeless - Mark Rovner
  59. .eDO - Dale Dougherty
  60. Productivity - Gina Trapani
  61. Iterative Capital - Michael Scharge
  62. Willpower - Ramit Sethi
  63. Mesh - Lisa Gansky
  64. Enough - Merlin Mann
  65. (Dis)Trust - Dan Ariely
  66. Social Skills - Penelope Trunk
  67. I’m Sorry - Jason Fried
  68. Sleep - Arianna Huffington
  69. Knowing - Dan Roam
  70. Government 2.0 - Tim O’Reilly
  71. You Can’t - Aimee Johnson
  72. Gumption - J.C. Hutchins
(Where credit is due: The list for titles and author links above was deftly compiled by one of the authors, Rajesh Setty.)

Seth Godin's next (but not free) book, Linchpin, makes its debut on January 15, 2010 at the Haft Auditorium, 227 West 27th St. in New York City. Find out more about it here.

# # #

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Irreplaceable Doodles - Nov. 17

and other flights of musical fancy

an evening of meaningfully unaccompanied musical modernism

featuring the irrationally exuberant music of
Karl Henning

and the tastefully delicious world premiere of “Smorgasbord” by
Nicole Randall-Chamberlain

as performed by the composers themselves

Karl Henning, clarinet & Nicole Randall-Chamberlain, flute

Tuesday, 17 November 2009 at 8:00 p.m.
within the acoustical accoutrements of
Emory Presbyterian Church
1886 North Decatur Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

$10 general admission / $5 students with I.D.
at the door
(sorry, we are unable to accept credit/debit cards)

for more information, click here (Facebook event page)
or e-mail
or (if you absolutely must) tel. 404-654-3918 (Google Voice number)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Soulbird hopes to build a safe nest for Iraqi artists

Atlanta musician goes to Kurdistan to make music amid chaos

by Mark Gresham

R. Timothy Brady is a soft-spoken young man whose immersion in the arts and sense of moral imperative has taken him on a mission to Iraq. Last Saturday, the composer/activist left Atlanta for Erbil, the capital of Iraq's northern Kurdistan region, to establish an English-language academy where he will teach music, all under the auspices of the nonprofit Soulbird Inc., of which Brady is founder and executive director.

One minor problem: Performing music in Iraq can get you killed.


Source: Creative Loafing-Atlanta
Date: 20 OCTOBER 2009
Author: Mark Gresham

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Weekly Ear, July 30 - Aug. 5, 2009

Atlanta concert picks

SAT/1 @8:30pm
ASO and Turner Classic Movies present “Rodgers & Hammerstein At The Movies” with Selections from "The Sound of Music," "Oklahoma" and "Carousel" plus more classics from Broadway's dynamic duo. Robert Osborne hosts, Richard Kaufman conducts. $21-$59. Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, 404-733-4800,

Monday, July 27, 2009

Composers and the "relationship-making business"

An article by Alex Shapiro, posted today, well-worth reading even if you're not a composer:

Blogger Book Club III: Selling Everything, 2.0—The Jig Goes Public

"Those of us who are musicians and composers might think that we're in the music-making business, but we're actually in the relationship-making business. [...] One of the limitations of the new music world is its self-referential nature, whereby accepted norms are...accepted norms, and fewer participants think outside of the taco shell. I find myself most stimulated and inspired by the observations of those who are not part of the arts scene, who see the larger trends in society and in the way people communicate." —Alex Shapiro [READ MORE]

author: Alex Shapiro
date: July 27, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Weekly Ear, July 23 - July 29, 2009

Atlanta concert picks

SAT/25 @ 8:00pm
Guest conductor Hugh Wolff leads an all-Beethoven program. The concert includes “Leonore Overture No. 3” and “Symphony No. 7,” and features young Finnish pianist Juho Pohjonen in the “Piano Concerto No. 3.” $21-$59. Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, 404-733-4800,

TUE/28 @ 8:00pm
FPCM's faculty (all Atlanta Symphony members) plus 16 of Atlanta's brightest young classical musicians conclude this summer chamber music program in a performance of music for strings by Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Bartok and Gershwin. FREE. Peachtree Presbyetrian Church, 404-252-3479,

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Eyedrum threatens to move or close

Music critic Pierre Ruhe examines the current status of Atlanta's most iconic alternative performance/exhibit space:

Mired in money troubles, Eyedrum threatens to move or close

The innovative multi-disciplinary arts space Eyedrum, an invaluable asset to Atlanta's arts scene, is in financial trouble. ... [READ MORE]

author: Pierre Ruhe

NY Times: "An architect puts Bach in a musical cocoon"

MANCHESTER, England — A rewarding experiment in creating an ideal space to hear some of Bach’s most intimate music... [READ MORE...]

author: Anthony Tommasini, 13 July 2009

Topic for discussion: How do you choose (or create) a venue best suited to your own music?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Weekly Ear, July 16 - July 22

Atlanta concert picks

SAT/18 @ 10:00am
Hugh McGraw leads this 6-hour open event where Sacred Harp singers from throughout the Southeast flock annually for traditional shape-note music and potluck luncheon, with emphasis on participation, curiosity and enthusiasm. Concludes at 4 p.m.. FREE. Spivey Hall, 404-297-8398,

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Weekly Ear, July 9 - July 15

Atlanta concert picks

SAT/11 @ 8:00pm
Nine days before the 40th anniversary of humanity's first steps on the Moon, Mei-Ann Chen conducts Holst's “The Planets,” featuring high-resolution NASA space imagery, plus music from “Star Wars” and “2001: A Space Odyssey.” $21-$59, Verizon Amphitheatre, 404-733-4800,

WED/15 @ 9:00pm
A five-octave acoustic marimba centers the dramatic musical world of percussionist/composer Bartlett, immersed within hi-def computer-generated sonic environments. Features first Atlanta performances of "Take Flight" by Wisconsin composer Allan Schindler and Bartlett's own "Sound/Space System.” $7. Eyedrum, 404-522-0655,

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

It's the ideas, stupid!

Entrepreneur and programmer Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby, talks about the difference between the value of ideas and the people who have them:

The mirror: It’s about you, not them.

If you see a gorgeous painting that fascinates you, does it matter if you find out the artist hasn’t paid her taxes? Would you stop enjoying the painting? ... READ MORE at SIVERS.ORG

Author: Derek Sivers

Opposition to H.R. 2454 likely growing in U.S. Senate

In today's U.S. News and World Report, columnist Peter Roff (Thomas Jefferson Street blog) posits that opposition to H.R. 2454, aka "American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009," is swelling in the U.S. Senate. His article Numbers Adding Up Against Obama's "Cap and Trade" Bill in the Senate (posted July 07, 2009 11:31 AM ET) points to both the thin margin of passage in the House and the statistical distribution of those House votes among State delegations as being among the indicators.

A simple majority in the House is 216. A total of 219 Representatives voted in favor of H.R. 2545, 212 voted against.

Of 255 Democrats in the House, 44 of them (a little over 17%) voted against the bill, while one did not vote.

Political heat is being taken from within their own party by 8 House Republicans for voting in favor of the bill, which passed by only 4 votes. Had only half of those Republicans voted "no" the bill would have failed. Two Republicans did not cast a vote.

View a statistical summary and "who voted how" in the roll call of votes here. 1

Download the entire 1428 pages of H.R. 2454 (PDF, 2.24 mb), as passed by the House of Representatives on July 6, here. 2

Opponents of H.R. 2454, sometimes familiarly called the "Energy Tax," "Cap and Trade" or "Cap and Tax" bill, are pressing hard for its defeat in the Senate.

—Mark Gresham

[1] from
[2] Document certified by Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Governement Printing Office with a GeoTrust CA from Adobe.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Nothing to waste: The advantage of being under-funded

Entrepreneur and programmer Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby, talks about marketing as simply "being considerate" without need for the fancy trappings:

Nothing to waste: The advantage of being under-funded

Author: Derek Sivers

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Music May Not Want to Be Free

In the upcoming July 6, 2009 issue of The New Yorker, reviewer Malcolm Gladwell takes on the technological utopian assumptions of WIRED editor Chris Anderson's book, Free.

Malcolm Gladwell reviews Free by Chris Anderson: Books: The New Yorker

BOOKS review of “Free: The Future of a Radical Price” (Hyperion; $26.99) by Chris Anderson. ... READ MORE in THE NEW YORKER

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sony Walkman turns 30

On July 1, 1979, thirty years ago today, the original Sony Walkman made its public debut as the world’s first portable music player...   READ MORE in CREATIVE LOAFING

Moonwalking before Michael Jackson?

Michael Jackson made the moonwalk world-famous during his performance in the 1983 TV special, Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever. But who inspired the King of Pop to make it his signature step?...   READ MORE in CREATIVE LOAFING

Weekly Ear, July 2 - July 8, 2009

Atlanta concert picks

SAT/4 @ 8:00pm
Bridget Reischl leads the ASO in an All-American patriotic program for Independence Day, featuring the U.S. Army Chorus, based at Fort Myer, Virginia, one of the few professional all male choruses in the nation. $21-$59, Verizon Amphitheatre, 404-733-4800,

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Weekly Ear, June 25 - July 1, 2009

Atlanta concert picks

SAT/27 @ 8:00pm
Grant Llewellyn, conductor of the North Carolina Symphony, leads an all-Mozart program: the Overture to “The Marriage of Figaro,” “Symphony No. 41,” and “Piano Concerto in D minor” featuring brilliant Bosnian pianist Pedja Muzijevic. $21-$59. Verizon Amphitheatre, 404-733-4800,

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Weekly Ear, June 18 - June 24, 2009

Atlanta concert picks

FRI/19 @ 7:30pm & SUN/21 @ 3:00pm
Public performances of operatic scenes over two days. Of special note is inclusion of Daniel Shore's one-act opera, “The Beautiful Bridegroom,” and premiere of two scenes from Michael Ching's “A Midsummer Night's Dream” amid the panoply of more familiar fare. Each performance is $20 ($10 students with ID). 7:30 p.m., Kopleff Recital Hall, 404-413-5901,

SAT/20 @ 8:00pm
The ASO's second summer at “VZW” opens with Carl Orff's raucously hedonistic “Carmina Burana” and excerpts from Rossini's popular “Barber of Seville.” Vocal soloists featured are soprano Georgia Jarman, tenor Nicholas Phan, baritone Matthew Worth are featured, plus Gwinnett Young Singers. Robert Spano conducts. $21-$59, Verizon Amphitheatre, 404-733-4800,

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Weekly Ear, June 11 - June 17, 2009

Atlanta concert picks

The Weekly Ear takes a week off, as essentially does Atlanta's classical music scene this week. Next week begins summer fare highlights and commentary.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Weekly Ear, June 4 - June 10, 2009

Atlanta concert picks

THU/4, FRI/5 & SAT/6 @ 8:00pm
Miguel Harth-Bedoya conducts this third program in a festival of South American music with a multi-media theme centered around the ancient Inca Empire, featuring Brazilian mezzo-soprano Luciana Souza. $18-$73. Symphony Hall, 404-733-5000,

SUN/7 @ 3:30pm
Juan Ramirez conducts the premiere of his own composition, "Down-East," inspired by writings of American musicologist George Pullen Jackson, a pioneer in the study of Southern “white spirituals”of regional “fa-so-la” singing. FREE. Congregation Shearith Israel, 404-873-1743,

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Weekly Ear, May 28 - June 3, 2009

Atlanta concert picks

THU/28 & SAT/30 @ 8:00pm
Miguel Harth-Bedoya conducts this first program in a festival of South American music using the ancient Inca Empire as its centralizing multi-media theme, with guest solo flutist Jessica Warren-Acosta. Repeats SAT/30. $18-$73. 8:00 p.m., Symphony Hall, 404-733-5000,

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Weekly Ear, May 21 - May 27, 2009

Atlanta concert picks

SUN/24 @ 3:00pm
Artist-in-residence at Kennesaw State University, classical pianist Henry, noted for virtuosity and old-school tone, performs music of Mozart, Bach-Busoni, Faure, Vine, Sakamoto and Liszt. His new CD, “Nocturnes,” debuts this spring. $15 ($12 seniors/students). Callanwolde Arts Center, 404-872-5338

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Weekly Ear, May 14 - May 20, 2009

Atlanta concert picks

THU/14 & SAT/16 @ 8:00pm and SUN/17 @ 3:00pm
Stravinsky's “A Symphony of Psalms” and Mozart's “Requiem” featuring soprano Nathalie Paulin, mezzo-soprano Stacey Rishoi, tenor Chad Johnson and bass Gustav Andreassen. Robert Spano conducts. $16-$73. Symphony Hall, 404-733-5000,

SUN/17 @ 3:00pm
Distinguished Australian Baroque violinist Elizabeth (Libby) Wallfisch is ABO's guest director/violinist for am authentic “period performance practice” concert of music by English composers : G.F. Handel, Henry Purcell, Matthew Locke, Charles Avison and Francesco Geminiani. $15-$25. Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, 770-537-3974

TUE/19 @ 7:30pm
Program features the jazzy sextet "Atlanta Licks" by Johnathan Kramer (not the character from the “Saw” movies), a trio by Heinrich von Herzogenberg, and Ludwig van Beethoven's “String Quartet in B-flat major, Op. 130.” $20/$10 students with ID. New American Shakespeare Tavern, 404-874-5299

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Weekly Ear, May 7 - May 13

Atlanta concert picks

THU/7, FRI/8 & SAT/9 @ 8:00pm
Canadian pianist Louis Lortie performs “Piano Concerto No. 4” of Ludwig van Beethoven. ASO frames the concerto performance with evocative music by Claude Debussy and Franz Liszt. Robert Spano conducts. $16-$73. Symphony Hall, 404-733-5000,

FRI/8 @ 8:15pm
Luminous-voiced Czech mezzo-soprano Kozena and collaborative pianist Kosarek perform a bouquet of love songs by Henry Purcell in modern realizations by Benjamin Britten, and songs by Alban Berg, Robert Schumann and Henri Duparc. $60. Spivey Hall, 678-466-4200

SAT/9 @ 8:15pm
Classic FM Gramophone “2007 Artist of the Year,” 24-year-old German violinist Fischer and young Ukrainian-born pianist Chernyavska perform a tetrad of sonatas for violin and piano by Mozart, Beethoven, Prokofiev and Martinu. $45. Spivey Hall, 678-466-4200

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Weekly Ear, Apr. 30 - May 6

Atlanta concert picks

THU/30 @ 8:00 p.m.
Violinist Itzhak Perlman makes his conducting debut with the ASO, leading "Symphony No. 3" by Franz Schubert and "Symphony No. 4" by Johannes Brahms, and soloing in the "Violin Concerto in A Major" by J.S. Bach. Repeats SAT/2 @ 8:00 p.m., SUN/3 @ 3:00 p.m. $21-$78, Symphony Hall, 404-733-5000,

FRI/1 @ 8:00pm & SUN/3 @ 3:00pm
Richard Wagner's "The Flying Dutchman." The story a ghost ship and its captain, doomed to sail the oceans forever unless he can be redeemed by a true love. Stage direction by Tomer Zvulun; conducted by Arthur Fagen. $25-$130. Cobb Energy Centre, 404-881-8885

SAT/2 @ 8:00pm
Swedish tenor Leif Aruhn-Solen is NTB's guest in a “historically informed” performance of trio sonatas, suites, and arias commemorating the 250th anniversary of the death of German-English Baroque composer George Frideric Handel. $29-$39; students $9. 8:00 p.m., St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church, 404-547-5775,

TUE/5 @ 7:30pm
Since 1976, this 18-voice choral ensemble has been a consistent mainstay of Atlanta's choral music scene, performing repertoire from Renaissance masters to notable living composers of our time. David Morrow conducts. FREE, Holy Innovents' Episcopal Church, 404-931-8230,

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Weekly Ear, Apr. 23 - Apr. 29

Atlanta concert picks

THU/23 & FRI/24 @ 8:00pm
Donald Runnicles leads the ASO in Gustav Mahler's vast and tragic “Symphony No. 6,” featuring a very large post-Romantic orchestra that includes a sledgehammer. (“Strike any key when ready.”) $16-$73, Symphony Hall, 404-733-5000,

FRI/24 @ 7:30pm
The mighty, mighty men of Morehouse are one of Atlanta's most distinguished choral ensembles and musical ambassadors of goodwill. Program features classical compositions, African choral woks, and American spirituals, led by Dr. David Morrow. $10; $5 seniors/students, All Saints' Episcopal Church, 404-881-0835,

SAT/25 @ 8:15pm
Rescheduled after being snowed out on March 1, ACP plays the graceful, witty “Serenade in D major” by Ludwig van Beethoven, a flashy “Trio” by Francis Poulenc, and the heroic “Piano Quintet” by Erich Korngold. $25. Spivey Hall, 678-466-4200

SAT/25 @ 8:00pm & TUE/28 @ 7:30pm
Richard Wagner's "The Flying Dutchman." The story a ghost ship and its captain, doomed to sail the oceans forever unless he can be redeemed by a true love. Stage direction by Tomer Zvulun; conducted by Arthur Fagen. Additional performances on May 1 & 3. $25-$130. Cobb Energy Centre, 404-881-8885

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Weekly Ear, Apr. 16 - Apr. 22

Atlanta concert picks

FRI/17 & SAT/18 @ 8:15pm
This prodigious 12-member men's vocal ensemble from San Francisco is a national treasure. They offer Atlanta two entirely different programs on consecutive nights: “Wondrous Free” on FRI/17 and “Divine Tapestry “ on SAT/18. $50 each concert, Spivey Hall, 678-466-4200

SAT/18 @ 7:30pm
Conrad Susa's 1973 chamber opera Transformations is based on poetry of the same name by Anne Sexton, in which she transformed fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm into adult modes which plumb plausible if disturbing social and psychological elements hidden deep within the originals. Vincent Murphy, stage director; Daniel Solberg, music director; Robert J. Ambrose, conductor. $10. Students free w/ ID, Kopleff Recital Hall, 404-413-5901

TUE/21 @ 8:00pm
"Georgia In My Ear" features music by Georgia composers Nickitas Demos, Mark Gresham, Lewis Nielson and Joel Puckett, and composer Vivienne Olive from Atlanta's sister city, Nuremberg, Germany. FREE, Kopleff Recital Hall, 404-413-5901

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Weekly Ear, Apr. 9 - Apr. 15

Atlanta concert picks

FRI/10 @ noon
Currently best known as the violinist in Paul Dresher's Electro-Acoustic Band, Birmingham violinist/violist Karen Bentley Pollick joins Vega Quartet for more standard classical fare: the “Viola Quintet in F major” by Felix Mendelssohn. FREE, Michael C. Carlos Museum, 404-727-5050

TUE/14 @ 7:30pm
This innovative program includes the Atlanta premiere of Paul Lansky's “Threads” for metal instruments, drums, and “found objects” (flower pots, glass bottles, etc), and Thierry de Mey's “Musique de Tables,” a trio for amplified table. FREE. 7:30 p.m., Rialto Center for the Arts, 404-413-5901,

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Weekly Ear, Apr. 2 - Apr. 8

Atlanta concert picks

THU/2, FRI/3 @ SAT/4 @ 8:00pm
World-premiere of “Symphony” by Christopher Theofanidis, “Second Essay for Orchestra” by Samuel Barber, and a divergent personal reinterpretation of George Gershwin's “Concerto in F” by jazz pianist Marcus Roberts. $16-$73, Symphony Hall, 404-733-5000.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Weekly Ear, Mar. 26 - Apr. 1

Atlanta concert picks

THU/26 & SAT/27 @ 8:00pm
Guest conductor Gilbert Varga, son of famous Hungarian violinist Tibor Varga, makes his ASO debut. Greek violin virtuoso Leonidas Kavakos is soloist. Music of Kodaly, Sibelius, and Brahms. $16-$73, Symphony Hall, 404-733-5000.

SUN/29 @ 3:00pm
This world-renowned 22-piece “period instrument” group performs all six of the Brandenburg Concertos by J.S. Bach, led from the harpsichordist by Richard Egarr, as the first of Spivey's 2009 Spring Bach Festival concerts. $60, Spivey Hall, 678-466-4200

WED/1 @ 7:30pm
Atlanta composer Jason Freeman's “Piano Etudes” are among the adventurous modern repertoire performed by pianist Lin, a charismatic performer with spectacular keyboard technique. Music by Unsuk Chin, Dai Fujikura, György Ligeti, Gabriela Ortiz and more. FREE, Spivey Hall, 678-466-4200

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Weekly Ear, Mar. 19 - Mar. 25

Atlanta concert picks

FRI/20 @ 8:00pm
Percussionist Stuart Gerber headlines this concert of front-edge music and performance art, featuring premieres of new percussion works by Mark Gresham and Jennifer Mitchell (also performing as DJ), electronic music by Darren Nelsen with video by Al Matthews, plus works by John Luther Adams, Alexandre Babel, Giorgio Battestelli, Frederic Rzewski, Stuart Saunders Smith and Christian Wolff. $10 at the door / $5 students with student ID. Eyedrum, 404-522-0655,

FRI/20 @ 8:00pm
One of America's leading vocal chamber music ensembles, Lionheart joins forces with Atlanta's own Vega Quartet to perform "John the Revelator: Mass for the 21st Century" by downtown Manhattan composer Phil Kline. The program also features two premieres: Richard Prior's string quartet intimations of immortality and John Anthony Lennon's Still the Fire for saxophone, cello, and piano. $48. Emerson Hall, Schwartz Center, 404-727-5050,

SAT/21 @ 8:00pm
Sisters in music, the 65-voice group from Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, one of the leading collegiate women's choirs in the nation, joins forces with their musical compatriots from Atlanta's own esteemed Spelman College. FREE. 8:00 p.m., Sisters Chapel, Spelman College, 404-681-3643.

SUN/22 @ 3:00pm
Established as the first “period instrument” orchestra in the southeast in 1997, ABO offers a program of Baroque-era music and dance, featuring baroque dancer Paige Whitely-Bauguess and guest violinist/director Julie Andrijeski. $25. Moore Chapel, Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, 770-537-3974

WED/25 @ 7:30pm
Born in Santiago, Chile and raised in Atlanta, violoncellist Diaz won the the Naumburg International Cello Competition in 1987, subsequently earning a reputation for his intense, charismatic performances. Elizabeth Pridgen is collaborative pianist. FREE. Kopleff Recital Hall, 404-413-5901,

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Weekly Ear, Mar. 12 - Mar. 18

Atlanta concert picks

THU/12, FRI/13 @ SAT/14 @ 8:00pm
His 2002 international debut at Stuttgart Opera launched his career like a rocket, now guest conductor Nicola Luisotti is now tagged to be music director of San Francisco Opera. Music by Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Beethoven. $16-$73. Symphony Hall, 404-733-5000,

SUN/15 @ 3:00pm
Based at Ft. McPherson, this 58-member concert band is one of the best in the armed forces. This show emulates concerts of John Philip Sousa's legendary band, playing band music popular in Sousa's day. FREE. 3:00 p.m., Ferst Center, 404-894-9600,

TUE/17 @ 8:15pm

Chairman of the Music Department at Morehouse College, baritone Brown has long been a pillar of Atlanta's African-American classical music community. Oliver is best known as organist for Morehouse's King International Chapel. FREE. First Presbyterian Church of Marietta, 770-427-0293.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Weekly Ear, Mar. 5 - Mar. 11, 2009

Atlanta concert picks

THU/5, FRI/6 & SAT/7 @ 8:00pm
Jennifer Higdon's “The Singing Rooms” and Alvin Singleton's “Praisemaker” are the new music highlights in a program that includes Scriabin's “Poem of Ecstasy” and Wagner's “Prelude and Liebestod.” Jennifer Koh is violin soloist, Robert Spano conducts. $16-$73. Symphony Hall, 404-733-5000,

SAT/7 @ 3:00pm
French Baroque music for voice, period instruments and organ, from the era of Louis XIV. Features works by François Couperin, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, and Guillaume-Gabriel Nivers. NTB is noted for their “historically informed” performances. $29-$39. St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church 404-547-5775,

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Weekly Ear, Feb. 26 - Mar. 4

Atlanta concert picks

THU/26 & SAT/28 @ 8:00pm
Haydn's "The Creation" in a concert staging, with set design by Anne Patterson, and projection design by Adam Larsen. Vocal soloists are soprano Janice Chandler Eteme, tenor Thomas Cooley, and bass-baritone Derrick Parker. Robert Spano conducts. $16-$73. Symphony Hall, 404-733-5000,

SUN/1 @ 3:00pm
Marietta native and operatic mezzo-soprano Larmore, who shared in a 2007 Grammy for “Best Opera Recording,” returns home for a recital. Larmore is noted for her insightful performances and colorful, flexible voice. $40. Bailey Center, Kennesaw State University, 770-423-6650,

SUN/1 @ 3:00pm
Program features the graceful, witty “Serenade in D major” for flute, violin and viola by Ludwig van Beethoven, Francis Poulenc's francophilically flashy “Trio” for oboe, bassoon and piano, and poetically heroic “Piano Quintet” by Erich Korngold. $25. Spivey Hall, 678-466-4200.

TUE/3 @ 8:00pm
Founded in 1964, this venerable string quartet comprised of violinists Arnold Steinhardt and John Dalley, violist Michael Tree, and cellist Peter Wiley retires at the end of this season, making this their farewell Atlanta performance. $52. Emerson Hall, Schwartz Center, 404-727-5050,

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Weekly Ear, Feb. 19 - Feb. 25

Atlanta concert picks

THU/19 @ 8:00pm
Mei-Ann Chen makes her ASO subscription series debut, conducting the first Atlanta performance of “Above Light” by Xi Wang, Mendelssohn's “Violin Concerto” featuring violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and Tchaikovsky's “Symphony No. 5.” Repeats SAT/19 at 8:00 p.m. & SUN/22 at 3:00 p.m.. $16-$73. Symphony Hall, 404-733-5000,

SUN/22 @ 2:00pm
Macon-born internationally acclaimed violinist McDuffie performs a century-note admission recital to benefit the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, which supports protection and revitalization of the state's architectural memories like Midtown's 1904 Rhodes “Castle,” where the performance will take place. $100. Rhodes Hall, 404-885-7200,

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Weekly Ear, Feb. 12 - Feb. 18

Atlanta concert picks

I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

        —Wallace Stevens

THU/5 @ 8:00pm
Donald Runnicles conducts an all-Richard Strauss program featuring soprano Christine Brewer and bass-baritone Eric Owens in operatic excerpts from “Elektra,” “Salome,” “Cappricio,” and “Die Frau ohne Schatten.” Repeats SAT/7. $21-$78. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 404-733-5000,

SAT/14 @ 8:15pm
Internationally acclaimed vocal quartet (David James, Rogers Covey-Crump, Steven Harrold and Gordon Jones) performs Armenian, Roman, English, Greek, Russian scared music, ancient and modern, including works by Alexander Raskatov, James MacMillan, and Arvo Pärt. $40. Spivey Hall, 678-466-4200,

SUN/15 @ 3:00pm
Grammy-winning star and American violinist Hahn performs 2 unaccompanied violin sonatas by Eugène Ysaÿe and 3 sonatas for violin and piano by Charles Ives, plus “Hungarian Dances” by Johannes Brahms, and Béla Bartók's “Romanian Folk Dances.” Valentina Lisitsa is collaborative pianist for the evening. $60. Spivey Hall, 678-466-4200,

SUN/15 @ 3:00pm
A concert commemorating the 100th anniversary of the death of composer Joseph Haydn, featuring performance of his “Harmoniemesse” of 1802, conducted by Michael Palmer. Brahms' “Tragic Overture” opens, led by Palmer's graduate conducting assistant, Parinya Chuchurdwatansak. Despite some misinformation floating around, this concert is FREE. Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, 404-240-8212,

SUN/15 @ 7:30
Violinists Raymond Leung and Judith Cox, violist Allyson Fleck and cellist David Lloyd “tango nuevo” music by Astor Piazzolla, plus somewhat more classical fare by W.A. Mozart, Giacomo Puccini and Alexander Borodin. $18; $12 students and seniors. Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, 404-872-5338,

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Weekly Ear, Feb. 5 - Feb. 11

Atlanta concert picks

I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

        —Wallace Stevens

THU/5 @ 8:00pm
Donald Runnicles conducts an all-Richard Strauss program featuring soprano Christine Brewer and bass-baritone Eric Owens in operatic excerpts from “Elektra,” “Salome,” “Cappricio,” and “Die Frau ohne Schatten.” Repeats SAT/7. $21-$78. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 404-733-5000,

FRI/6 @ 8:00pm
Two of Atlanta's great chamber ensembles and guest vocalist Abghari perform “Eight Songs for a Mad King” by Peter Maxwell Davies, plus other “mad songs” by James Macmillan, Francis Dhomont, and Steve Everett. FREE. Schwartz Center, Emory University, 404-727-5050

SAT/7 @ 7:30pm
Stuart Gerber, percussion, and Michael Fowler, Keyboards. Music by Monroe Golden, Charles Mason, Dorothy Hindman, and Karlheinz Stockhausen. FREE. Kopleff Reciotal Hall, 404-413-5901

SAT/7 @ 8:00pm
"Singing in the Dead of Night," an aptly named work by David Lang, Michael Gordon and Julia Wolfe, with staging by Susan Marshall, interlaces movement, theater and music. The program also features “Double Sextet” by Steve Reich. $30. Bailey Performance Hall, Kennesaw State University, 770-423-6650

Friday, January 30, 2009

Food for your Ears

Marc Mellits stirs the pot with his personal recipe for composing and naming music.

The following interview is distilled and edited from a 40-minute telephone conversation I had with composer Marc Mellits on the evening of Tuesday, January 27, 2009
    On Monday, February 2, Mellits performs excerpts from his “paranoid cheese” CD as guest composer/keyboardist with Sonic Generator ( at the Georgia Tech Alumni House.
    Mellits first met Sonic G members Tom and Jessica Sherwood last September at New Music Detroit's 12-hour “Strange Beautiful Music II” marathon held at MOCAD (Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit).    A few months later, while Mellits was visiting family in Atlanta, the Sherwoods invited him to take part in the upcoming concert.

Mark Gresham: As a composer, Marc, you've been described as both post-minimalist and rock-influenced. How would you describe your own music?

Marc Mellits: I can tell you how I write music. But when people ask me to describe my own music I am totally at a loss. Music is its own entity, and if I try to describe it in words, I always fail.
    The only thing I can do is compare it to other people, and I don't think that's fair. In the end, the best thing I can say is that I feel is my music is me, maybe the best version of me that there is.

MG: But even if you don't like labels, given that other people have used the term, is postminimalism a fair assessment?

MM: Any term, any time you label label something, in art in general, that tends to pigeonhole it. Then you start to think of it in that way. That's what scares me the most. If you say, “Oh, I'm a post-minimalist composer,” then you start writing post-minimalist music. I've seen it happen.
    But for lack of something better, I think it kind of makes sense—sort of the handle on the cup, trying to scoop up all of these different composers who certainly write repetitive music and were influenced by the minimalists. Yeah, I hate being labeled anything. Then I feel like that's expected of me. Even thinking of it myself, that's the biggest danger.

MG: But you've been influenced by rock music as well?

MM: I think I've been influenced by everything. I listen to all kind s of music, from Corelli to Coldplay and back. I feel that rock music is really today's folk music, and to ignore it would be ridiculous.
    I grew up with classical, came to rock music much later—in college. So when I approached it, I came to it with a different mindset.

MG: Do you think that your music influences rock music?

MM: Oh, I don't know if that even happens!

MG: Im thinking specifically of Electric Kompany, which has created their own versions of your music, and I hear a few people speak of having encountered it first though Electric Kompany.

MM: Oh, yeah! I love what Electric Kompany is doing with my stuff.

MG: What about how you approach performing your music via the Mellits Consort, as in the “paranoid cheese” CD?

MM: The music that we play, it may sound a little different from my chamber music, but in the end it's all written the same way. I try to keep everything together generated from a certain cell. Every piece of mine is based on an idea that is kind of turned on its head. In other words, I'll start with an idea, a cell, that is germinating ideas for the entire work. What happens in the sort of small area, even in a measure, also mimics what's happening in the larger form.

MG: So you start with an idea and then the composition is a process of transformation?

MM: You got it! That's exactly right. And the idea I start with is rarely at the beginning of the piece. I don't work linearly. I tend to work in the middle and then I work on the beginning, then between the middle and the end, and them maybe something after the beginning. The music is sort of constructed, built up, and when all the dots have been connected I know I have the whole piece.
    I like to think of it from a construction point of view—like buildings. My grandfather was a carpenter. That was a huge influence on me and everything I do. I think of building music much like I would build a house. There's a frame, and there's the underlying counterpoint and harmonic movement. Then there's everything you put on top of the frame, what we actually hear. You don't actually see the frame, but if it's well-constructed, the house will stay. It's exactly the same thing in music. You don't really notice what's behind everything, but if it's well-constructed and well made, the piece is going to work from beginning to end. Working that way, middle, beginning, end, helps me build that frame.

MG: Do you imagine the piece “all at once,” so have a snapshot idea of the whole in advance?

MM: I usually do, and it doesn't necessarily hold. It often does. There are pieces where it would morph into something else, and that's ok. I have learned to try and trust the music and trust the idea, and when it wants to go someplace else to help it go there. As composers we're just helpers, trying to help the music come to life—but it's already there.

MG: When you say composers are “just helpers,” I get the impression the process of composition for you is intrinsically connected to the process of performing.

MM: If you're saying that it's connected to performing idiomatically, and how it ought to be played, than I think you're absolutely right.

MG: I'm thinking again of transformation of your music under the hands of a group like Electric Kompany, versus how the Mellits Consort might perform it, versus a traditional chamber ensemble like a piano trio.

MM: I've thought about this a lot, and it's an ironic thing that I've tried to resolve. The odd thing I've noticed is if I'm very careful writing in that idiomatic [manner], writing a piano trio and thinking very much for piano, violin and cello, it might can actually be [more successfully] transferred to another instrumentation. If I'm writing strictly from a point of view of the notes themselves, and not worrying so much about who's playing it, then it might work well for that one instrumentation but not another. I've never been able to figure out why this works, but at least it works in my music. Isn't that weird?

MG: So if a rock group like Electric Kompany reaches a different audience, all the better.

MM: I hope and strongly believe that music is coming back to the people. Contemporary classical music, western art music, has been away from the common man for a long, long time. Composers like Steve Reich and Phil Glass started to open up the doors and bring it back. I think we're going to see more and more of a morphing between classical musicians who are going down that road and rock groups like Coldplay or Radio Head that are moving back towards us. Somewhere in between that is the future, I hope.

MG: There is a naturally tangible, corporeal element indigenous to rock music—certainly other than what one might call purely formal interest in compositional process.

MM: Two things I always think about, and this may help: On the one hand, writing music to me is like construction, building a house, but also (you're going to laugh) I always think about food. You can probably tell that by my titles. To me, music is very much like cooking. Composers are chefs, and we combine ingredients the same way a great chef would combine ingredients. That's how I think about combining harmony, counterpoint, combining eggs and chicken stock—you might end up with soup, you might end up with a symphony, but everything is combined in the same way: You produce something greater than just the sum of parts.
    Even with all the different lines and layers in a piece of music, I'm hoping to get at something beyond all that. The same with a great dish, when all of the ingredients combine into something that's beyond them.

MG: The tile “paranoid cheese” seems to go beyond food, but unusual implications related to the food.

MM: [The story is that] “paranoid cheese,” the original slow movement [from the CD of that title], was written for Rob and Victoria Paterson. She's a violinist and he's a marimba player and composer. They perform together, and I had written them a piece. They're both vegans, and I was thinking to myself, “If you were cheese in their house, you might be paranoid because nobody wants to eat you.” I had this long conversation with Rob about food, and what kind of food would get left in their refrigerator.
   The titles for my music are not always chosen by me, they're often chosen by my friends, like Dominic Frasca, who has a way with words.
    Here's the thing: I'm always looking for titles that are short and descriptive, but are descriptive of multiple things, on multiple levels. I'd rather have something like that, because it gives a listener just anything, something to base it upon, when listening to the music other than “Sonata No. 3.”I prefer to have something food-related. It's rarely going to be exactly what I'm trying to do in the piece, because I don't want to give it away,. If I title a piece exactly [based on] what I'm trying to do musically, I don't see the point, because then I'm just telling you how I hear the music. That may not be how you hear it, and I don't want to influence you at all.

MG: “Sonata” is one that tends to suggest certain expectations.

MM: Which is exactly what I don't want to do. I don't want to influence listeners at all. I want them to come to it pure and fresh, to put the music in their ears and let them decide. Let them give it a chance on its own rather than immediately try to tell them through the title what the piece is about.

MG: So for your own part as a listener, too, you'd prefer composers avoid titles that lead toward narrow preconceptions about their music.

MM: [Unfortunately, some] composers try to go even further in the program notes. They try to describe everything they're doing in the piece, when I just want to close my eyes and hear it. ■

—Mark Gresham, composer/music journalist 30 January 2009

Marc Mellits' artist website can be found at

Monday, 2 Feb. 2009 @ 8:00pm, Georgia Tech Alumni House, 404-385-7257,


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Weekly Ear, Jan. 29 - Feb. 4

Atlanta concert picks

"As far as consistency of thought goes, I prefer inconsistency."
        —John Cage

THU/29 @ 8:00pm
Donald Runnicles conducts a program which opens with "Im Sommerwind" by Anton Webern, followed by Mozart's "Piano Concerto No. 9 (Jeunehomme)" featuring pianist Shai Wosner. In conclusion, "An Alpine Symphony" by Richard Strauss offers a sweeping musical landscape. Repeats SAT/31 at 8:00pm and SUN/1 at 3:00pm. $21-$78. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 404-733-5000,

A new filmscore by Atlanta composer Brian Mitchell is live accompaniment to Sergei Eisenstein’s unfinished film project “¡Qué viva México!” which was reconstructed according to the director's vision by Grigory Alexandrov and released in 1979. FREE. 8:00 p.m., Kopleff Recital Hall, 404-413-5901,

Directed by Dr. Anton Armstrong, the St. Olaf Choir has long been one of the nation's premiere a cappella choruses, setting remarkably high performance standards ever since its founding in 1912 by F. Melius Christiansen. $40; $30 ages 17 and younger. 8:00 p.m., Schwartz Center, Emory University, 404-727-5050

Rock-influenced postminimalist composer Mellits joins Sonic G as guest keyboardist to perform his “paranoid cheese.” Program includes John Cage's “Four2” performed on four iPhones, and works by Panayiotis Kokoras, Randall Woolf, and Terry Riley. FREE. 8:00 p.m., Georgia Tech Alumni House, 404-385-7257

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Weekly Ear, Jan. 22 - Jan. 28

Atlanta concert picks

THU/22, FRI/23 & SAT/24 @ 8:00pm
Features "Fountains of Rome” and “Pines of Rome" by Ottorino Respighi, who strongly influenced Hollywood filmscoring traditions. Legendary pianist Andre Watts is soloist for Johannes Brahms' “Piano Concerto No. 2.” Robert Spano conducts. $21-$78. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 404-733-5000,

FRI/23 @ 8:00pm & SUN/25 @ 5:00pm
Concert staging of “Akhnaten” by Philip Glass. First Atlanta performance of the opera about Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep IV, who challenged polytheism in 14th-century BC. Arthur Fagen conducts. Sold-out. Waiting list only. $76. Schwartz Center, Emory University, 404-727-5050

SUN/25 @ 2:00pm
Known for their tight, polished sound, Dutch a cappella vocal quintet Quink performs a wide range of repertoire from Renaissance to modern classical, and folk to jazz—likely leaning toward sacred classical in this outing. FREE. First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, 404-228-7732

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Weekly Ear, Jan. 15 - Jan. 21

Atlanta concert picks

SUN/18 @ 3:00pm
Conductor Robert Foah leads AACO in Lucas Richman 's "Kol Nidre" and Edvard Grieg's "Holberg Suite." Pianist Warsaw performs Sergei Prokofiev's “Sonata No. 2” and joins AACO in J.S. Bach's “Keyboard Concerto in D minor.” $18 suggested donation. Srochi Hall, Ahavath Achim Synagogue, 404-355-5222

SUN/18 @ 5:00pm
Derek Gleeson conducts DPO in their 2009 US tour program of original music by contemporary Irish composers along with sprightly arrangements of traditional Celtic and Irish fare, featuring solo vocals, uilleann pipes, and Irish fiddle. $30-$40/ $20 children. Ferst Center for the Arts, 404-894-9600

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Weekly Ear, Jan. 8 - Jan. 14

Atlanta concert picks

Gil Shaham is guest violin soloist for the formidable “Violin Concerto” of Johannes Brahms. Also on tap is Sergei Prokofiev's popular and modernist “Symphony No. 5.” Roberto Abbado conducts. Program repeats FRI/9 & SAT/10. $16-$73. 8:00 p.m., Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 404-733-5000,

Guest soprano Arietha Lockhart performs “Shepherd on the Rock” by Franz Schubert in an all-Romantic program that includes Beethoven's “String Trio in G Major” and the “Piano Quartet in C Minor” by Brahms. $20/ $10 students. 4:00 p.m., Kellett Chapel, Peachtree Presbyterian Church, 770-242-2227

TUE 13 JANHelen Kim
Violinist Kim and pianist Henry perform “Sonata, Op. 134” by Gabriel Faure and “Sonata in D minor, Op. 108” by Johannes Brahms, concluding with a popular virtuoso violin showpiece, “Carmen Fantasy” by Pablo de Sarasate. FREE. 8:00 p.m., Kennesaw State University, 770-423-6650
[ at right: violinist Helen Kim ]