Friday, September 27, 2013

And we're back!

After many years away from this blog, perhaps it's time to get back to work! Reposting on social media isn't a substitute for personal communication, but perhaps I can pick up from where I left off. Major changes coming soon, and lots to write about, so just dipping my toe in the water before jumping in again on or around October 1, 2013. MD

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Harlem School of the Arts on Broadway

Just a quick note of congratulations to former Harlem School of the Arts student Shannon Tavarez for landing the role of Young Nala in the Broadway production of the Lion King. Her teacher was Rebecca Purdum, who recently moved from NYC to San Francisco. Break a leg, Shannon!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Harlem Buildings

Found this great blog with a posting about some of the building I pass everyday. Growing up in Toronto, I was always painfully aware of how little we knew about the architecture there, and consequently, how little we knew of the city's past. One holiday season as I was returning to New York, I remember speaking to a woman from Montreal who said that if her town had the money, they would have bulldozed their past the same way Toronto did. Any chance the cultural history of the two cities might be tied to these facts?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Radiohead Remix

Here's my contribution to the Radiohead Reckoner remix project. Hope you enjoy.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Menon Dwarka - Bio

Composer, conductor, writer and music administrator Menon Dwarka has worn many hats in his professional career. A former director of the 92nd Street Y School of Music, Menon was also a staff composer at Rocket Music, a firm that provided music and sound design for advertising giants BBDO and Y and R. Menon is also a composer of "serious" music, with works in a variety of genres, including orchestral, chamber and electronic compositions. Menon is also the administrative coordinator for Wizard Music, a non-profit organization created by Morton Subotnick and Joan La Barbara to conduct studies in musical creativity in education. Wizard Music also develops music education software, as well as promotes performances of contemporary classical composers.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Sherman Alexie

A little movie made illustrating one of Alexie's short stories. Even though I much prefer music and art to the written word, the single greatest artistic experience I ever had was hearing Alexie speak at the Union Square Barnes and Noble a few years ago. He read What You Pawn I Will Redeem, a story brimming with affection for it's woefully unlucky protagonist. As with all of the best of his writing, Alexie's words reveal the inherent divinity in these characters to whom we rarely give a second look, but in this reading Alexie did something I've never seen anyone else do: he not only made the audience experience the magical transformation of the main character, but somehow, at the same moment, we all realized that magic was present, in the room with us, and just as those feelings became concrete, the story ended and the whole audience was suspended in holy, silent, rapture followed by the most thunderous applause I've ever heard in my life. That night, that audience didn't just experience art, we were art.

Click here to see part 2.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Farewell to Stromness

Years ago, I fell in love with the music of English composer Peter Maxwell Davies. Like his friend Hans Werner Henze, Davies never forgot that music could touch the mind, soul and heart of the willing listener. Here's a rare gem of Max's: Farewell to Stromness, arranged for guitar by Timothy Walker. Like so many pieces of his compatriot Benjamin Britten, the melody of this work seems unnecessarily simple and maybe even trite, but also like Britten, the work takes quietly takes root in one's imagination long after the first hearing, becoming a constant reminder of how magical the musical experience can be. What I love about this piece is that it's so successful in creating a sense of longing and, dare it say it, homesickness for Stromness, a place most of us have never visited or will ever visit. For all of you social activist types, Davies wrote this work to protest the potential uranium mining in the Orkney islands. A perfect jewel it is, and sorely deserving of more performances.