Happy New Year! Musically, I for one am planning on making this a good one, kicking things off in style with a week-long residency at The Stone! Every night January 17-22, I'll be there with a different offering from a twisted corner of my musical brain:
Tuesday, Jan 17: Desolation Pops - I'll be joined by the amazing pianist Kathleen Supové and the lovely Rhythm Method String Quartet for the the newest incarnation of Desolation Pops, my cycle of music for piano and strings. James Ilgenfritz will also be on deck to perform Hexentexte for solo bass!
Wednesday, Jan 18: James Moore & Ayano Kataoka - Formidable percussionist Ayano Kataoka joins me for a duo recital featuring beautiful works by George Crumb, Terry Riley and Lou Harrison.
Thursday, Jan 19: John Cage: The Ten Thousand Things - My prepared piano debut alongside longtime duo partner Andie Springer (violin) and award-winning actor Jim Fletcher (voice) for a rendering of Cage’s modular works written from 1954-1960.
Friday, Jan 20: Forever House - The avant-grunge outfit offers a set of subversive songs and ballads from our upcoming album on Infrequent Seams. Featuring Meaghan Burke on voice/cello, James Ilgenfritz on bass, Pete Wise on drums and JM on guitar.
Saturday, Jan 21: Chamber Music by Virginia Seay - A program of music by my grandmother Virginia Seay, an accomplished twelve-tone composer of the 1940s. Many of these scores will be performed for the first time in over 60 years. Performers include Mila Henry (piano), Samantha Britt (soprano), and The Rhythm Method String Quartet.
Sunday, Jan 22: James Moore & Marc Ribot - Closing things out with a bang, the venerable guitarist joins me for raucous interpretations of Zorn’s Book of Heads and his duo game piece Tennis.
All shows are at 9:00, a new format as the Stone enters it's final year in the East Village. Tickets are available at the door. More info here!
Hope to see you there! And here's to working progressively for peace, sanity and awesome music in 2017 - James
Greetings! I'm happy to report that the fall has been rolling along splendidly. We just wrapped a run of Richard Maxwell's The Evening outside of Paris at the Nanterre-Amandiers theater, and I'm finally homeward bound after a 24-hour travel fiasco!
I'll be hitting the road again in November for an exciting chain of gigs, beginning with Dither's performance at the Barbican Center in London for Steve Reich's 80th Birthday celebration: We'll perform our live 13-guitar rendition of Electric Counterpoint, and Taylor Levine and I will perform Reich's duo Nagoya Guitars. After that I join up again with the cast of The Evening for runs in Toulouse, Mulhouse and Athens! Before heading home, I'll also be heading back to Toulouse to perform Zorn's The Book of Heads for The Theatre Garonne's festival La Souterraine Fleuve.
I'll hit the ground running in December with two shows with Dither at the Guggenheim's Agnes Martin exhibition, performing Zorn's game piece Curling, followed by Dither's 6th Extravaganza, which is going down this year on December 4 at the 17 Frost Theater of the Arts - it's going to be a hell of a show, stay tuned for more info!
Summer was eventful as well - I enjoyed a fun-filled week with the folks of Alarm Will Sound at the Mizzou New Music festival in Missouri performing Oscar Bettison's Livre de Sauvages. I took part in two opera workshops in NY (Matt Marks's Mata Hari and director Ain Gordon's new interpretation of Britten's Billy Budd) as well as workshops in Santa Fe and San Francisco for Mason Bates' The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs. I scurried back to the East Coast in time for an album release show at Joe's Pub with Bonjour, and performances and recording in Philadelphia of Ted Hearne's Sound from the Bench with the Crossing choir. Somewhere in there I also managed to fit in a show for New Music New College in Sarasota, FL with pianist Kathleen Supové and violinist Jennifer Choi, and a mini-tour to Connecticut and Boston with The Hands Free, which culminated in a recording session in Hudson, NY - stay tuned for news on this frontier in the near future!
Hello! I’ve been a bit delinquent in updates this year, so there is much to catch up on! I just returned from an exciting performance at Disney Hall in Los Angeles, where I joined a lovely crew of performers for 21c Leiderabend, Op LA, a grand evening of music presented by the LA Philharmonic, Beth Morrison Projects and VisionIntoArt. We performed excerpts from Ted Hearne’s awesome cantata Sound from the Bench which is based off the the controversial Supreme Court case Citzens United, and pieces from I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky by the venerable composer John Adams, who also conducted the program.
2016 began with a trip to Lisbon to perform Richard Maxwell’s The Evening, a wonderful and unique production in which my comrades Andie Springer, David Zuckerman and I perform ethereal songs and power ballads in a dive bar on the brink of oblivion. We are currently preparing for more tour dates this spring in Bologna, Italy and at the Kunsten Festival in Brussels. We also recently recorded all of the music for release later this year, so you may get to hear my dulcet singing voice finally immortalized on vinyl – stay tuned!
After Lisbon, I dove head first into an exciting chain of gigs with Dither, beginning with a fun show at the Winter Jazzfest and proceeding in February with our week-long residency at the the Stone. The week consisted of 12 sets of entirely different material featuring various iterations of Dither and a slew of collaborators. We got a great review in the NY Times, and I was particularly excited to present an entire set of my own compositions for String Noise, pianist Kathleen Supove, bassist James Ilgenfritz and his mighty Anagram Ensemble.
Ditherly activities proceeded with a lovely show at Merkin Hall where we performed with guitarist Lee Ranaldo for the Ecstatic Music Festival, followed by a week-long visit to Bergen, Norway to perform Object Collection’s astounding new production It’s All True at the Borealis Festival. We closed out our stay in Bergen with a quartet recital under a magnificent projection of He-Man.
Other fun shows this year have included a performance at the Metropolitan Museum’s new Met-Breuer museum, at which I played the music of Ken Thomson with members of Bang on a Can’s Asphault Orchestra and the David Dorfman Dance company, and a performance at the distinguished cabaret venue 54 Below with Jean Ann Garrish’s lovely group Red Wine and Whiskey. RW&W has an album release show at Rockwood Music Hall on May 30 – come on out!
Thanks for reading! I’ll be back atcha soon enough with many exciting things brewing for the Fall!
New albums abound! After two years of recording, filming, editing, mixing, tweaking, and emotional upheaval, I am extremely proud to announce that my first solo record James Moore plays The Book of Heads will be released on Tzadik in October!
I have performed this strange and amazing collection of music by John Zorn throughout my professional career, and it is a distinct honor to release a new interpretation of the pieces on the composer’s renowned label. This audiovisual album includes a CD as well as a DVD of a beautiful film by Stephen Taylor, documenting the performance of each etude during the recording process. The package includes extensive notes from Zorn and myself, a beautiful design with facsimiles of the scores as well as early sketches of the pieces.
We will be celebrating with a performance, talk-back and film showing at the Anthology Film Archives in the East Village on Oct 18! Be There!
With an equal amount of excitement I am also pleased to announce that September has brought the release of Gertrudes, the debut album from my duo with Andie Springer. The album is now out on New World Records, another label that I have admired for years. The album features music written for our duo by Robert Ashley, Lainie Fefferman, Paula Matthusen, Larry Polansky, Ken Thomson, and a trio of my own pieces! Stay tuned for a release event in November!
I’m looking forward to exciting performances this Fall with Dither for WNYC New Sounds Live, The Hands Free at the Berkshire Fringe, and the New York City Players at the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh! I’ll also be playing for two exciting residencies at the Stone: during James Ilgenfritz’s week in October, Forever House will be offer a rousing set of new and old tunes, and the Anagram Ensemble will perform The Travel Agency is on Fire in collaboration with Experiments in Opera. Then in November, Nick Didkovsky’s residency will feature sets of Nick's pleasantly maniacal music from Dither and from A Musical Sacrifice, my duo with pianist Kathleen Supové.
Thanks for reading and best wishes! - James
Quite a flurry of activity this Summer! In the world of Dither, we spent a week in Hudson, NY recording material for our third full-length album, and in August we played an epic show for Lincoln Center Out of Doors! The show featured our rendition of Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint with a live band of 13 electric guitarists and bassists, as well as new collaborations with Lee Ranaldo [Sonic Youth] and the indie band Yo La Tengo. The awesome electronic duo Matmos opened up!
Fall begins with some epic travels: In September I’m off to San Francisco to play for a workshop at the SF Conservatory for Mason Bates’s new opera The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs. The subject matter of the opera should be obvious, and the music will be very cool indeed! Mason has chosen to augment the orchestra for his opera with electronics and a featured steel-string acoustic guitar part. I am very excited to work on this over the coming years towards a Summer 2017 premiere run with Santa Fe Opera!
After San Francisco I’m heading to Champaign/Urbana, IL for another performance with Dither and the Electric Counterpoint band at the Ellnora Guitar Festival (which features a pretty incredible line-up including Marc Ribot, The Punch Brothers, and many others). Following this I am heading to Argentina with The New York City Players for open rehearsals at the Museum of Modern Art Buenos Aires. We’re workingshopping a brand new piece by Richard Maxwell, The Evening, part 2!
Much more ahead as the new season kicks into high gear! Stay tuned! - James
Happy Spring! - it's been a busy winter of gigs and recording, the centerpiece of which has been continued performances of Richard Maxwell'sThe Evening. After a lovely week of shows at On the Boards in Seattle, we came home to NY for a three week run at the Kitchen, and all has been a smashing success! We got a great review in the NY Times - Alas, they did not specifically mention my dulcet singing voice, though it is an insightful review all around.
As it turns out, April is a fantastic month to hear music of my own device. On the 14th you can catch the premiere of A Hemisphere in your Hair, a piece I wrote for the stellar violin duo String Noise. It's a tour de force of lilting trills and wonky harmonics, and String Noise has been more than happy to creatively interpret my vague-yet-strangely-specific sonic requests, nailing everything along the way. It's part of an awesome program for a new concert series at the Church of Advent Hope.
On the afternoon of the 26th, my acoustic group The Hands Free (with Nathan Koci, accordion; Caroline Shaw, violin; and Eleonore Oppenheim, bass) has a fun show at the Cell Theater for the Tribeca New Music Festival. We've got a beautiful set of original material that I'm really excited about, sharing the bill with the talented clarinetist/composer Michael Lowenstern. This is definitely one to catch!
Also this month I'm looking forward to performances at the Fusebox Festival in Austin to play music from Corey Dargel's latest album OK it's not OK, at the International House in Philadelphia with Elena Moon Park & Friends, and at the Stone where Dither will join the venerable Japanese noise guitarist Otomo Yoshihide. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more!
Happy New Year from Minneapolis, where it is currently an invigorating -8 degrees! We've been having a lovely time in the Twin Cities as we prepare for the world premiere of Richard Maxwell's newest theater piece The Evening at the Walker Arts Center! It's a dark and powerful show in which the stories of three characters slowly unfold in a dive bar as the nightly band (myself, Andie Springer and David Zuckerman) performs a set of Richard's raucous anthems and ethereal ballads. It has been so lovely working with this outstanding cast and production crew, and we are excited to tour throughout the year, including shows at On the Boards (Seattle), The Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh), The Kunsten Festival (Brussels) and the Kitchen (NYC)!
It's a big month for records and recording! - the Tzadik release of Zorn's Olympiad, Vol 1: Dither Plays Zorn hits the streets January 20! It's an outrageous an exciting album that documents several renditions of Zorn's early improvisational game pieces Hockey, Fencing and Curling - We played a great show of these at the Kitchen of December, and we are excited to share an album release party at JACK Art Space on Feb 9 with the amazing group Hypercolor (Lukas Ligeti, Eyal Mayoz, James Ilgenfritz)!
Corey Dargel's new album OK it's not OK will also be released this month on New Amsterdam Records, which includes his elegant song cycle Hold Yourself Together, featuring me on classical and electric guitars, Eleonore Oppenheim on bass and Wil Smith on keys. We'll be celebrating Corey's release with a show at Subculture on Feb 7! Finally, Andie Springer and I are excited to enter the studio at the end of the month to record a new album of duos for violin and resonator guitar by Robert Ashley, Paula Matthusen, Lainie Fefferman, Larry Polansky, Ken Thomson and some of my compositions as well!
Much more on the horizon! Until next time ... - James
Wishing you a happy Fall - It's been a busy one! I am excited to be included in the recent edition of Arcana VII: Musicians on Music, the latest in the series of books edited by John Zorn which features essays by artists from all corners of the musical world. This is the perfect home for a research project I have been working on since graduate school, analyzing the manuscripts of Sonorous or Exquisite Corpes (AKA Party Pieces), a collection of miniature compositions collaboratively written by John Cage, Henry Cowell, Lou Harrison and Virgil Thomson. It's great to get this fascinating music out into the world!
I hit the ground running in September with Dither's fifth annual Extravaganza - this year was our biggest event to date, featuring a formidable line-up of eclectic artists, ranging from the awesome metal band Cleric to the Japanese pop band Happy Fun Smile. We managed to fit 15 sets over the course of five hours at the church of St. Ann & The Holy Trinity. Dither performed original music, as well as a beautiful piece by Robert Ashley and a set with the amazing guitarist Lee Ranaldo.
Another highlight of the Fall was a performance at BAM of Ancient Voices of Children, George Crumb's landmark work, featuring a stellar line-up of musicians fronted by soprano Dawn Upshaw and pianist Gilbert Kalish. It was part of an exciting chain of shows celebrating the 50th anniversary of Nonesuch Records. My part featured an eerie "ghost dance" for detuned mandolin accompanied by three percussionists, and a few ethereal passages which I performed on musical saw! It was a beautiful, challenging and inspiring project all around. There was a nice review and a photo in the NY Times!
I've recently had the pleasure of two separate trips to the lovely flat cities of Champaign/Urbana, IL. The first was for a performance at the Krannert Center of PLAY/PAUSE, by choreographer Susan Marshall with music for guitars and drums by composer David Lang. The second was for a week of performances and educational outreach with The Noble Fowl Trio - a great chamber group of classical guitar, mandolin, and harp. We performed Hans Werner Henze's wonderful piece for this instrumentation, as well as works written for us by Nomi Epstein and Lainie Fefferman, and my arrangements of the previously mentioned Sonorous Corpses!
The rest of the year includes a big show at the Kitchen with Dither on Dec 13 performing several of Zorn's game pieces, and some exciting creative projects: My newest group The Hands Free (Nathan Koci, accordion; Caroline Shaw, violin; Eleonore Oppenheim, bass; me, guitar & banjo) will be playing at Black Gold Records on Nov 10, my rock band Forever House (Meaghan Burke, voice & cello; James Ilgenfritz, bass; Pete Wise, drums; me, guitar) will join a fun bill at Fontana's on Nov 13, and violinist Andie Springer and I will perform some of my compositions for the duo at Joe's Pub, opening for Florent Ghys's album release party.
Thanks for reading and best wishes! - James
It's been a beautiful and productive summer! I just returned from a week at the Bravo! Vail festival in Vail, CO - a majestic place to perform, practice, barbecue, and get to know the talented musicians of Le Train Bleu, an awesome group lead by flutist/conductor Ransom Wilson. We played a ton of great music, the centerpiece being John Adams's epic Gnarly Buttons, a playful piece for clarinet soloist and chamber ensemble - it includes a thorny part for me tripling on guitar, banjo and mandolin! During the week I also performed Vivaldi's famous concerto RV 93 (originally for lute) and a solo resonator guitar set of works by Zorn, Harrison and Polansky (sharing a program with the stellar pianist Anne-Marie McDermott). I had four different instruments to schlepp through the Rockies and ton of notes to play, but it was all well worth it!
Another highlight of the summer has been rehearsals for Richard Maxwell's latest theater piece The Evening, which will premiere at the Walker Center in Minneapolis next year. The piece is dark, funny, and touching - it brings a retiring boxer and his 13-year-old caretaker into Dante's Inferno. I'm excited to work with a great cast of actors and musicians to bring this to life!
I've also managed to fit in a handful of other fun gigs, including a 12-guitar rendition of Elliott Sharp's Syndakit at Spectrum, a show with Dither at the amazing Noguchi Museum in Queens, and a show with members of the Bang on a Can All-Stars at the Jewish Museum performing repertoire by Philip Glass, Louis Andreissen, David Lang, John Zorn and Michael Gordon.
Lots of recording this Summer too - My new acoustic group The Hands Free made some nice demos - Check them out! I also spent a weekend recording at Waterfront studios in Hudson, NY with Bonjour, Florent Ghys's amazing low string group. Wrapping up the summer, I'm preparing to to enter the studio with Marc Ribot to record two more of John Zorn's infamous game pieces, Dominoes and Tennis.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned! - The next Dither extravaganza is set for Sept 5 - it's going to be off the hook, check the Dither website for the latest updates! - James
Feeling pleasantly stuffed with dumplings and noodles after an beautiful day in Flushing, Queens with Elena Moon Park and Friends, the adorable family band I have had the pleasure of playing with - we had a great show at Flushing Town Hall and proceeded to cruise the area's amazing asian markets and restaurants.
It's a busy month - Jacob Cooper's Silver Threads featuring soprano Mellissa Hughes was recently released on Nonesuch Records, and I'll be playing at the release event at Le Poisson Rouge. The album primarily consists of voice and electronics, but there are a few guitar nuggets in there that I can take credit for. It's a great record, buy it!
This month I'm homeward bound for a week-long jaunt to San Francisco to premiere Ted Hearne's Sound from the Bench, a cantata for choir, two guitars and drums based off of Corporate Relations, a fascinating book of political poetry by Jena Osman. Before that I'll be fitting in a show with Bonjour and a concert for NY Soundcircuit with my violinist compatriot Andie Springer - Andie and I will be playing a new theatrical piece by Travis Just which incorporates paintbrushes, Ornette Coleman reductions, and a cover of the Replacements classic tune"Fuck School". We'll also be joined by the amazing actor Jim Fletcher for Richard Maxwell's "Lake Lucerne", in which you'll hear my lovely singing voice. Finally, Andie and I will be playing a set of tunes that I've concocted for us!
I'm very excited for the premiere of a new group The Hands Free, an acoustic improvising quartet which consists of Nathan Koci on accordion and brass, Caroline Shaw on violin and mandolin, Eleonore Oppenheim on bass, and myself on resonator guitar and banjo. It's been truly awesome working up a set with these amazing musicians, hope you can make it! We're playing at ShapeShifter Lab on May 26, 7:00.
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the maniacal NY Spring weather! - James
So far 2014 has been busy and rewarding - I just put a fair amount of blood, sweat and tears into finally completing a long-delayed research project involving Sonorous or Exquisite Corpses, a collection of compositions collaboratively written by John Cage, Henry Cowell, Lou Harrison and Virgil Thomson. An essay and analysis of these strange pieces will be coming out in the upcoming edition of John Zorn's Arcana, stay tuned for more!
Plenty of funny business with Zorn's music as well - We're adding the final touches to the Book of Heads CD/DVD, and Dither just completed recording a double-album of the game pieces Hockey, Lacrosse, Fencing and Curling. We spent a weekend of recording at Future-Past Studios, a beautiful converted church in Hudson, NY. All of this is slated for release on Tzadik this Fall!
There have also been plenty of projects along the way - I just finished up a weekend of performing and recording Matthew Welch's Radio Opera The Mutt; earlier in Februrary we had a lovely week at Swarthmore College performing David Lang's Play/Pause; Dither premiered a bunch of new compositions at Princeton; and in January I took part in some workshop showings of Matt Marks's opera Mata Hari. I've also been playing lots of shows with Elena Moon Park's adorable and awesome family band Rabbit Days and Dumplings.
Gearing up for the Spring, In the coming months I'm looking forward to jaunts to Kalamazoo with Dither, to Bucknell College with Newspeak, and a run at the Incubator Arts Project of a new piece by James Ilgenfritz for the William S. Burrough's centennial. There are also a few new and exciting things in the works - stay tuned! - James
It's been a bustling Fall thus far! After some splendid travels with friends and loved ones, I parked myself for week in Chicago to premiere choreographer Susan Marshall's Play/Pause, a beautiful dance piece with raucous music by David Lang for two guitars and drumset. We had a great time developing the piece, working with students at Columbia college, staring into the reflective bean, and drooling over lovely old guitars at the Chicago Music Exchange.
I came back to New York last week just in time to cram for the Zorn @ 60 festivities - Dither performed Zorn's Fencing on an evening dedicated to his game pieces at the Miller Theater. It was an exciting and inspiring evening all around, and we were thrilled to share the stage with some of our favorite musicians!
More travels ahead! In the next two months Play/Pause will be touring to Phoenix, Los Angeles and Washington DC before our NY premiere at the BAM Next Wave Festival. I'm also fitting in a jaunt to Dublin for a performance of Richard Maxwell's Neutral Hero, and another to the UK to perform Zorn's Book of Heads at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.
So I guess we should also add a good ol' Dither Extravaganza to the mix! Seriously, it's going to be an awesome show, October 26 at the Gowanus Loft - check out the awesome line-up!
Thanks for reading and goodnight! - James
Despite oppressive temperatures in NY, musically speaking it has been an idyllic summer! I just returned from an exciting jaunt to Ghent, Belgium to play John Zorn's The Book of Heads on a day-long concert of his work at the Gent Jazz Festival. It was very exciting to share a stage with Zorn and a ridiculous line-up of artists that I admire, plus some admirable friends as well! In addition to an evening set at the festival, I played some of the Heads that afternoon at an exhibition of the Obsessions Collective, closing with an improvised duo with Zorn. After Ghent, I took a detour to Paris to visit good friends and drink wine on the Seine. I know, it's been a really rough week.
I'm prepping now for a fun show at Lincoln Center Out of Doors with Elena Moon Park's all-star children's music band - It's a daytime family concert on July 27 featuring Kronos Quartet and Ozomatli, and it's free! I'm also continuing work on two projects with NY dance companies: Recording Randall Woolf's new multi-guitar piece for the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, and workshops of PLAY/PAUSE with choreographer Susan Marshall and composer David Lang.
At the moment, I'm very much enjoying my first ever air-conditioner! Cheers! - James
It's been a busy winter! Dither just wrapped up a chain of gigs in the South and the Midwest - In February we spent a week in residence at the University of Virginia, and in March we headed out in our "tour van" (actually, they upgraded us to a Suburban with two TVs in it!) to play some lovely shows in Bowling Green, Toledo, Kalamazoo, East Lansing, and Cleveland. Other highlights of the past few months include baritone uke tunes with Clogs at Merkin Hall, a concert of East Asian family music at Joe's Pub with Elena Moon Park and Friends, gigs with Bonjour, and the resurrection of our notorious live karaoke band at a benefit for the Bang on a Can Summer Festival.
I'm excited to announce that the venerable Jascha Narveson and I are curating a new series at The Invisible Dog -- a huge and beautiful industrial art space in Brooklyn (originally a manufacturing plant for invisible dog leashes) where we have been presenting Dither's annual Extravaganza. Twice a month on Sunday afternoons we'll be programming a variety of awesome groups and artists. More Info here!
Now I'm buckling down to get some new rep together for a solo show with theTangents guitar series in San Francisco, and tackling a ton of John Zorn's music - stay tuned for performances of The Book of Heads in Belgium, The UK, and New York, a longer solo guitar work Dominoes, and more game pieces with Dither!
Thanks for reading! - James
Happy New Year to all! I'm currently en route to Charlotte, VT for a week of recording with the amazing group Clogs ... by en route, I mean I am sitting at home in Brooklyn with a glass of wine - the car broke down an hour into the trip and now all my gear is stuck in the Bronx ... but we're heading out again tomorrow and soon enough we'll be making some beautiful music!
So far the year has been a whirlwind with a great chain of shows including the newest incarnation of Corey Dargel's song cycle "Hold Yourself Together" at le Poisson Rouge, two showcases of a new dance piece with choreographer Susan Marshall and composer David Lang, and a live radio performance of East Asian family music with Elena Moon Park and Friends!
I also gave two more ridiculously fun concerts of John Zorn's "Book of Heads" at the Incubator Arts Project, and I'm excited to head into the studio in just a few weeks to record and film the whole shebang for a DVD that will be released on Tzadik next year. Much more on the horizon with this project, stay tuned!
Here's to a peaceful and progressive 2013. Cheers! - James
Greetings and Happy Holidays! A truly crazy end to 2012. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, just about everything got twisted and turned - In my world, the run of Richard Maxwell's Neutral Hero got interrupted due to extensive flooding at The Kitchen. After being closed for a month, the Kitchen was able to get back on their feet to present our last weekend of shows at the end of November. Though I survived the storm with relatively minor inconveniences, there are a lot of less fortunate people in the New York and New Jersey areas ... It's never too late to help or donate to the many worthy causes that are dealing with the devastation left by the hurricane.
Despite the setback, Neutral Hero's NY run was a huge success! We had great audiences, and we received glowing reviews from The New York Times and The New Yorker. It has been an extremely rewarding experience working with the New York City Players, and I am hopeful for a bright future for the project.
Dither had an exciting run of shows to close out the year, starting with a residency at Wesleyan University -in addition to giving a concert, we spent two days building fuzz pedals with students and directing an ensemble of "hearing deprived" guitarists for a rousing rendition of Eric km Clark's exPAT. The next day, we headed back to NY for the annual Invisible Dog Extravaganza, our home-grown festival of creative music and art, which was a smashing success! Finally, just last week we headed to to the Netherlands for a week of shows with the Amsterdam Electric Guitar Heaven festival! Throughout the week, we performed at some of the city's best venues, shared the stage with venerable acts from around the world, and of course had a lovely time wandering around the gorgeous canals of the city.
Getting ready for a very busy 2013, I am knee-deep in balloons and talking dolls as I prepare for encore performances of John Zorn's Book of Heads at the Incubator Arts Project! After an awesomely successful event in June, the IAP has invited me back for two more shows on January 11 and 12. It's part of "Other Forces", the IAP's answer to APAP week, in which producers and presenters from all over come to check out innovative new work ... so ... please come on out, help spread the word and let's go global with this!!
Cheers, and best wishes for a peaceful new year - James
I am very excited to announce that tomorrow night, after over two years of development and 40 performances in 8 countries, Richard Maxwell's Neutral Hero is having its US premiere in New York, with a three week run at The Kitchen. Neutral Hero is a beautiful, strange and truly unique theater piece with 12 performers, and the music within it is mysterious, artful, catchy and touching. I am on stage for the entire show playing guitar, banjo, piano and melodica, as well as singing and speaking.
Dither is also stoked to announce or third Invisible Dog Extravaganza! which is going down on Nov 17 at the Invisible Dog Art Center in Brooklyn - We've got a fantastic line-up of players: Anthony Coleman & Ashley Paul, Mary Halvorson & Jessica Pavone, Victoire, Peter Evans, Preshish Moments, Object Collection and TILT Brass. Dither is playing a bunch of great music by John Zorn, Paula Matthusen, Jascha Narveson and Josh Lopes, plus a monolithic drone piece by Phill Niblock for 20 guitars! Yikes!
If you are in New York, I highly encourage you check out these awesome events! Cheers, James
A lot going on this Summer! - I'm heading out today for an exciting jaunt to São Paulo, Brazil for more performances of Richard Maxwell's Neutral Hero - a beautiful music and theater piece that I have had the pleasure to be a part of now for almost two years. Neutral Hero will have it's US premiere at the Kitchen in NY in October - details soon!
John Zorn's Book of Heads at the Incubator Arts Project in June was a smashing success! We had a packed house, we made some great live recordings, and we recieved some nice press including a great blurb in Time Out NY and a picture in the NY TImes! Stay tuned for more shows and and a video project documenting this incredible set of music!
Outside of playing, I've been busy fighting the oppressive heat with croquet mallets, ukuleles and Pimm's cocktails in Prospect Park! LIfe could be worse! Happy summer - James
Greetings! Heading full force through the Spring, there's a smorgasbord of interesting shows on the horizon - check out my calendar page for Madonna remixes, erotic operas, orchestral concerts, massive drone pieces, and more!
I am particularly excited to announce a big show on June 16 - I'll be performing John Zorn's complete collection of solo guitar pieces, "The Book of Heads" at the Incubator Arts Project as part of their June Days music festival. I It has been a twisted fantasy of mine for some time now to perform these pieces in their entirety. And the IAP, formerly Richard Foreman's Ontological Theater, is an ideal setting for this set of beautiful, playful, and literally explosive pieces.
I recently played a short set of the pieces during a chain of solo shows in California. There is a great review in the San Diego Reader that describes “A knockout success … Like Muddy Waters having a seizure … Tonality was generally abused like a CEO at an S&M Convention.” Read the whole review for a detailed description of all of the great music that I performed while visiting my native coast. It was really quite a lovely tour.
Finally, please take a peek at a gorgeous new video that Stephen Taylor made of my performance of Matthew Welch's banjo piece "Gorgamor the Giant Gecko" - we recorded this over a year ago, and it was well worth the wait!
Thanks for reading! - James
I'm excited to announce a tour of California in April! I'm in the thralls of working up a great new solo acoustic set for the Golden State, which includes interpretations and transcriptions of beautiful pieces by Lou Harrison, selection's from John Zorn's "Book of Heads", Molly Thompson's "Blowback", and three songs from Larry Polansky's "Songs and Toods" - all performed on the National resonator guitar.
I'll start the chain of shows at my favorite venue the wulf in Los Angeles on April 8, then head down to play the amazing Fresh Sound series in San Diego on the 9th. Through the following week I'll be at UC Santa Cruz to guest at the music department's composition seminar and sound art classes. The week will close with a double header on Friday the 13th: An afternoon Friday at Four recital at UCSC, followed by a show at Meridian Art Gallery in San Francisco.
Dither is prepping for our Benefit Concert in March which features Fred Frith, Eve Beglarian, and Mark Stewart! We also recently released our new video of Eve's "Garden of Cyrus" and we are hard at work with repertoire for a concert Princeton University's composition department - I've been getting to know Princeton pretty well recently while on faculty with the Atelier Program, developing Bodies and Guitars with composer David Lang and choreographer Susan Marshall.
Much more lies ahead ... you can check out my calendar for a smorgasbord of delectable musical treats from now through Spring. Thanks for reading and stay tuned! - JM
Happy New Year! I had a great Holiday season, which I started celebrating in style with Make Music Winter, joining a distinguished group of guitarists for a march through the East Village to perform Tilted Axes by Patrick Grant, scored for 15 mobile electric guitarists with miniature Honeytone amplifiers! There was a great NY times review of this event, along with the many others taking place around the city.
For me, 2012 starts off with two operas and a dance piece: I'm happy to be involved lately with Matt Marks's new opera Mata Hari and Gordon Beeferman's The Enchanted Organ. In addition, workshop performances have begun for Bodies and Guitars with choreographer Susan Marshall and composer David Lang, which we started developing last year at Princeton University.
Dither has officially released our video to Paula Matthusen's but because without this . Film-maker Stephen Taylor beautifully captured a handful of the quartet's performances late one night at Exapno New Music Center - We'll be releasing two more videos over the next few months. Also, we're hitting the Ivy League circuit with upcoming performances at Princeton and Yale, and playing a great show in New York at Le Poisson Rouge on January 26!
New instruments include an awesome Harmony Baritone Ukulele, acquired for the performance of Molly Thompson's The Maid of Corinth, new life experiences include an inspiring march with Pete Seeger in support of Occupy Wall Street, and new digs include a move to the lovely neighborhood of Windsor Terrace in Brooklyn!
Stay tuned! I fully *intend* to keep things updated and add some audio/video soon. Cheers!
Phenomenal pianist Kathleen Supové and I announce the first of what we hope to be many collaborative concerts: "A Musical Sacrifice" is a program of solo and duo works to benefit the amazing new music series Music at First. I'll be playing a set of Lou Harrison transcriptions, some of Larry Polansky's "Songs and Toods" and Lisa R. Coons's ridiculously cool "A Quiet Struggle." - It's a beautiful set of music performed on my National Resonator Guitar.
1920s Gibson K-4 Mandocello
Picked one of these up for a song at a yardsale in rural Pennsylvania - Very stoked to get this amazing instrument in shape for performance - watch out!
Neutral Hero Fall European tour dates
The New York City Players, led by playwright Richard Maxwell, are on tour with Neutral Hero, a beautiful and otherworldly music theater piece. On this leg, we're visiting theaters and festivals in Switzerland, France, and the Netherlands - I'm particularly excited to play at the Pompidou Center in Paris for Festival d'Automne!
Princeton University Atelier Residency
American Composers Orchestra SONiC Festival
I'm excited to be a part of three shows at three awesome venues for the ACO's amazing new festival! Dither will perform as part of a marathon concert at the Miller Theater, Taylor Levine and I will perform with Ryan Brown at The Stone, and I will join Corey Dargel and Wil Smith for a performance of Dargel's "Hold Yourself Together" at Joe's Pub.
Robert Ashley: Chamber Music
I'll be performing several pieces as part of an eight-concert retrospective of the work of the influential American composer Robert Ashley. The concerts will take place over the span of a four day festival at the Incubator Arts Project.