CelloZone! Pirastro Eudoxa & Oliv String Review: for first time buyers (Part 2)

(Part 1)

Part 2: ONE YEAR LATER…

…and I am still using all gut set ups on both my concert cello and “sarangi-cello” (more on that cello in a future post).  I have spent a lot of time thinking about strings, calculating gauges for tension schemes, experimenting with different combos of various brands and string makers. I have a much better idea now of what I like, don’t like, and need from a gut string. Almost a year before I had purchased any gut strings, I had reached out to a couple of viola da gamba playing friends for advice on the subject. Niccolo Seligmann, a fantastic gambist and early music super-nerd, gave me some advice, which I followed: “Start with getting a couple different gauges of each string from Gamut, which is probably the best for its price. Once you’ve figured out what weights (diameter and tension) to use, then you may want to switch over to something more expensive and longer lasting, like Aquila or La Folia… the try-out process is expensive, but you can keep all the not-quite-right strings as spares. It’s always wise to have at least one spare of the top two strings and at least two spares of the top string.” 

This advice was for open gut strings, but it applied to the wound gut audition process as well. For instance, getting all three gauges of a Eudoxa a-string is expense, but now I know what works and I was able to re-purpose or keep settled-in spares of the gauges which weren’t right for my instrument or the music I was making at that time.

I have found that I spend more time caring for my cello, making sure the tailpiece, bridge, nut, and peg set up are all staying “healthy”. As a result of learning to play on gut strings, I have made huge strides in my bow technique and left hand precision.  Gut set ups have helped me understand how interact with the strings on a much deeper level. There is a greater subtly required when drawing the sound, as a result a wider range of tone and expression. It has taught me how to open up my articulation palate and push through to a next level of playing. Of course, it might not be the right fit for all types of music, instruments, or aesthetics: that comes down to (1) taste & importantly (2) the conditions of performance. I have used wound and open gut string combos for classical, traditional/world, contemporary, jazz, experimental, etc and have found these set-ups chameleon their way through all of these genres very well!

Over the course of this year, I have tried wound gut strings by Correlli (don’t waste your time), Damian Dlugolecki (Ni/Ag gut) and Pirastro’s Eudoxa, Oliv, and Gold (older wondertones) line strings.  I have also tried plain gut strings by Dan Larsen (Gamut), Damian Dlugolecki, Toro (venice and high twist), and Aquila & Pirastro’s Chorda (not impressed). Maybe in another post I will examine these comparisons further, however this post will remain focused on Eudoxa and Oliv strings. Again this is for the first time buyer.  I have certainly had some frustrating and expensive moments this year, my hope is to let you in on those insights so you don’t have to make the same mistakes.

My current set up uses an Aquila plain gut a-string 1.20mm (I love this string!) with Pirastro Oliv light gauge d, G, C. I tied my loop on the a-string in the same style as Dan Larsen from Gamut does. I have made my own leather washers, modeled after the ones available from Gamut, though mine are a little thicker with larger diameter.  I am using three washers on each string to protect the knot, but not to thick as to dampen the vibration from the string to the tailpiece as much as Pirastro’s white a-string washer does. So far, I find this method to be the most resonant between the string and the tailpiece. I’ll probably go back to threading through the loop next time (as pictured on the tenor gamba) to compare for resonance once again.

SET UPS

Suggested Combos/Sets (no particular order):

Eudoxa medium a, d, G + Oliv light C

Eudoxa medium a, d + Oliv light G, C

Oliv light set

Oliv light d, G, C + Eudoxa heavy a

Tip:  I recommend ordering through Concord Music and Gabriela’s Baroque.

Bonus Tip: try out a number of different rosins to find out what works best with your various string combosEspecially important if you have a mix of plain and wound gut or a combo of different brands/makers.  

EUDOXA VS OLIV

I find the Eudoxa tone to be sweet and delightful, like dessert.  There is a joy and playfulness in my playing, especially when I’m using the a and d string.

Oliv has a hearty, deep, complex tone which feels more like the main course.  My playing is more serious and mature, especially when playing on a full set of Oliv.

I can’t get away with playing on a full set of Eudoxa, (as nice as that would be) unless maybe with medium a, d, G + a heavy gauge C; *but I haven’t tried that yet*…  In contrast, I am definitely satisfied when playing on a full set of Oliv.  In the last article, I gave a few examples of Steven Isserlis playing on his Eudoxa set up with Oliv C.  Here is a good example of the tone capabilities of an Oliv set from Gary Hoffman (with an Evah Pirazzi a-string, I believe).  A Hoffman is a very different player than Isserlis.  I think their personalities are well captured by the tonal differences of these string setups. 

Now that I’ve had a bit of experience practicing and performing on both Eudoxa and Oliv strings, I may choose to string up my cello with different combos that suit the circumstance of a recording session or performance. 

For example:

  • playing with piano or contemporary ensembles: Oliv set
  • playing with plucked strings (like Brothers Grimm): Eudoxa set
  • solo, unaccompanied: (1) Eudoxa a, d, G + Oliv C  (2) Oliv d, G, C + Aquila a  (3) Oliv G, C + Toro or Aquila a, d
  • Chamber music: (1) Eudoxa top a, d, G + Oliv bottom G, C  (2) full Oliv set

For a long time, I used to use Jargar a, d and Larsen G, C (which you can hear on The Brothers Grimm 2012 album Redolent Spires: bandcamp / spotify).  Often this set up was too powerful for violoncello + classical guitar.  If the Brothers Grimm were going out on tour, I would most likely use a Eudoxa medium set (in this case the quieter C string would be an advantage!).

The warm blend on the Eudoxas with other bowed string instruments is insane, they are perfect for chamber music.  If you need to blend inward, I’d go with Eudoxa.  If you need to cut through or project outward I’d go with Oliv.  For instance, during rehearsals with a pianist for a performance of Schumann’s Fantasiestücke, Op.73 using a Eudoxa set up: I simply could not sing out above the piano without pushing the strings harder than I wished to.  For the performance later that week, I had switched to an Oliv set up and no longer had to fight to project.  I was able to float on top of the piano sound with out over playing the strings.

My cello projects better with Oliv, than Eudoxa.  If you really like the Eudoxa sound on your instrument, but know you need to more power… you may want to try a full set of heavy gauge strings.  It will have more tension, bigger tone and might just do the trick.  In general, don’t be afraid of the thicker gauges, just make sure that your instrument is set up to handle the width, and that the tension scheme makes sense from top to bottom (less of a problem with a set, more of a problem with mix and match).

Here is a great example of Oliv on C, G and Eudoxa a, with plain gut d from Lynn Harrell (with Orlando Cole).  Go for the string sound, stick around for the extended lesson on bow technique!

WHAT’S IN A GAUGE?

Thinner string gauges are lower in tension, with a sweet, reedy tone.  Thinner gauges have more treble tone and quicker bow response.

Thicker string gauges have more tension, with a raspy, husky, deep tone.  Thicker gauges have more bass tone and slower bow response.

Less tension results in more flex in the string and a quicker bow response.  But the more flexible the string is, the quicker it will bottom out when you push it with heavy dynamics.  If you often need to play loudly for your style of music, try the heavier gauge string – it can take more bow pressure and give you a bigger sound.  The caveat being that thicker gauges with more tension are slower to respond under the bow.

Set advantages – I really like how the full set feels in the left hand and under the bow.  It’s very nice to have the consistency of bow response, tension, thickness gradient/feel, tone etc across the whole instrument from top to bottom.  (~ with both the Eudoxa medium set and the Oliv light set)

The Eudoxa string response is quick and easy, I liked this for playing unaccompanied solos at events and concerts.  When you mix and match, the response is a bit different for the bow from each brand of string, so you have to change your technique a bit from string to string.  Olivs are stiffer under the bow than Eudoxa, but when using a full set Olivs, it feels very nice and consistent, I doesn’t really feel stiff anymore.

Here are some quick notes from each string gauge I’ve tried:

Eudoxa 

a –

light – didn’t even feel like a gut string because it is so thin / easy to play all the way up the fingerboard / you may consider this as an option if the rest of your strings are steel / less of an aluminum sound than the medium and heavy gauge

med – of the three gauges, this is my favorite thickness on my concert cello / great tone / easy to play all the way up the fingerboard / sometimes is a little sluggish to respond compared to the rest of the set

heavy – what I use on my Sarangi-cello / noticeably more tension than the medium gauge, especially up in thumb positions / more power yet it still retains the sweet tone of Eudoxa / very smooth left hand feel

d –

light – sweetest sounding, but didn’t pack enough punch for me

medium – really great d string, one of my favorites, very expressive / I love the mix of the aluminum and silver, and almost wish that’s what they did for the a-string too!

G –

medium – at first I was worried it wouldn’t be bass heavy enough, or feel too small in the hand going from the thicker Oliv C the to thinner Eudoxa G, but it really wasn’t a problem at all, and I enjoyed playing on this string very much / sometimes the sound didn’t project forward enough for certain styles – but created a really interesting inward-depth, kind of hard to describe, but was a really unique way to draw the listener in when playing solo

heavy – held up really well with the Oliv C / big warm bass tone, rich sound / but I felt like the thicker gauge contributed to the tension imbalances on the bridge and caused issues for the surrounding strings with settling in to pitch / projected outward well

C – 

medium – tone sounded great, very easy response, but just didn’t cut it when it came to power / very big volume and energy drop when I’d go from the medium G to the medium C string

Oliv

light set

I love this set up, the first time I strang up with all Olivs, I thought, “ahhh finally, a full set I can use!” / they are very expressive strings, which bring out a completely new mature sound from my instrument / I almost feel like a Character-Actor when I am playing things like Beethoven or Schumann / very bright for the first week, but then it mellows out, in a very warm way

d

heavy – I am using the heavy gauge d string on my Sarangi-cello and I’ve noticed with both the thicker Oliv (especially the heavy) d strings start to bring out the wolf tone on my cello more.  This is something to keep in mind when finding the right balance in gauge/tension for your instrument.  It hasn’t been enough of an issue to require a wolf-tone eliminator however.

C

light – when paired with Eudoxa med set, this over comes the volume/energy imbalance of the Eudoxa C / but response and tone are quite different / can get nice and growly when you push it

SETTLING IN

I can settle the string up to pitch in two days.  Meaning for the first two days, there is a lot of peg tuning consistently throughout the practice/restringing session.  On the third day, when I take the cello out of the case, it’s usually pretty close to pitch and I just have to give it one little turn at the peg and re-tune a couple of times after it adjusts to the room.  Most of these strings have fully settled into pitch after 1 week.  I play every day, which I think helps to quicken the breaking in process (maybe I am wrong).  

I perform 100+ shows/gigs per year, and often I found my self planning when to change a string by what type of performance was coming up the next week.  In most cases, I changed the string(s) at least 1 week in advance of a concert.  This was usually enough time to break in the string and not have any issues with stability during the show.  There were a couple of times that I had to change the string 1-2 days before a performance….  This wasn’t ideal, but I was able to perform successfully in all of those cases.  I carefully monitored if my pitch dropped, double checking my tuning quietly with a clip on tuner in between movements & pieces.  A number of times I performed with the clip on tuner, just to be sure I could lock in my tuning on the new strings; no one complained.

STABILITY

It seems like the Oliv set is more pitch stable than the Eudoxa set.  Maybe due to the higher tension or the winding?  Or because I have more experience now? I am not sure.

Having the right gauges and tension scheme actually contributed more than I initially thought to stability.  Having the bridge and nut properly widened is also important.  You don’t want the winding to get caught on the bridge or the nut, especially with all of that peg tuning you’ll be doing.  When I had the medium gauge Eudoxa a & d with the heavy gauge G and Oliv light C, I had a little trouble getting the low end to settle and stay in pitch.  The tension across the bridge was not balanced.  With complete set (medium Eudoxa set & light Oliv set) I felt the strings settle into pitch faster and hold their tuning better.  I have experienced some intense pitch swings on the low strings due to weather extremes. In August, when it was very humid, I pulled my cello out of the case and my low C was down to AA!  Sometimes I would put it away in the case, after having played in a’=440 and when I pulled it out of the case the next day, my cello would be perfectly in tune at a’=415!  Another time, during rehearsal there was a very hot and humid thunderstorm happening but with the air conditioning on full blast and during the finale my C string surprised me by drifting up to C# (luckily the section was in Db MJ…).  In my experience this year, if it is humid+hot the strings will drift flat, if it is dry+cold the strings will drift sharp.  If it is humid+cold… things get really weird and floppy, good luck.  On my cello the thicker lower strings are affected most by the humidity/temperature changes.    

SEPARATION ANXIETY

For as much as I love these strings and highly recommend them, I have had an unfortunate winding separation issue on both Eudoxa AND Oliv a-strings.  This has been the most expensive and frustrating part of the learning process.  I already voiced not being crazy about the aluminum edge to the sound of the a-string in Part 1.  There is a crunchy squeak sound on the surface if you don’t hit it just right with your bow.  I’ve had a rough go at it this past year with the a-string winding separating from the gut core.  From the very first string I installed, this happened, in fact some of the issues I ran into with the a-string going false (see Part 1) was actually the result of the winding separating from the gut core.

If you install the string and and the winding separates or goes false, even after taking the precautions of widening and lubricating the grooves at the nut and bridge and lifting the string occasionally at the bridge to reset the winding: contact Pirastro directly about getting a replacement string. I have been in contact with Pirastro about this issue and sent them my faulty strings to be analyzed. I have received replacements for all damaged strings, but I’d rather not have to do the international shipping dance over and over again…

Tip 1:  Make sure the groove at the nut has a wide enough channel so it doesn’t pinch the winding – especially at the center point of the nut, where the string is bending the most. You can take your instrument to a luthier with your set of strings to have this done.

For those who are DIY: I’ve been doing it carefully myself with 400 & 600 grit sand paper, strips of leather, blunt sewing needles, rasps, and graphite (maybe a luthier will comment suggesting otherwise – please do, we’ll all learn!).

Tip 2: Wrap the neck of the cello with a cushy cloth where the strap goes over the string (see pic below). I believe this strap-wear contributed to some of the separation around first position, which began the swift death of 3 of my a-strings.

Tip 3: Peg Dope – use a peg lubricant like Hill Peg Compound. Available at most string shops for $10, this really helped my friction peg tuning. The pegs no longer “stick and jump”: I am able to turn the peg slowly and smoothly in a controlled motion without excess force to achieve very small and accurate pitch changes, like when using a fine tuner. Using peg compound in combination with winding the string close to (but not touching) the peg box wall helps to prevent peg slips.

CURRENT SETUP

My current set up uses Oliv light gauge C, G, and d strings with an Aquila plain gut a-string (1.20mm), for a’=440Hz playing. I got to frustrated with the winding issues on the a-strings and needed a break from that.  So I’m going with an open gut a for now and am very happy with the sound! The Aquila a-string is fantastic, shout out to Curtis from Aquila USA for helping me find a diameter that would match the tension of my Oliv set. …I haven’t given up on the Oliv a string just yet, I do plan on using a full Oliv set for future projects, but I’d like to have a luthier look the nut before I install a new one.

Postludemortem

I switched back temporarily to the Oliv a, after the Aquila and Toro a-strings it sounded very smooth and creamy to me.  Shifting is obviously much easier on a wound string and I couldn’t help gliding pitches for expression.  In the future, when doing a concert of Chinese or Indian music, I’ll make sure to pop on an Oliv or Eudoxa a.  The Oliv a really sings in a powerful way, but one of the downfalls coming back to it after the plain gut was that I couldn’t help but play loud, loUD, LOUD!  I found myself unknowingly belting out, like an opera singer.  It’s good to know what these strings bring out in your playing, so you can use it to the greatest advantage.  I have switched back to a plain gut top string for my upcoming performances (a thicker string for scordatura tuning).  I found that I lost some subtly in my playing with the wound a, being that it was so fun to play loud.  For unaccompanied solo playing, the flexibility of the plain gut and Eudoxas is an advantage to me.  But!  I love the uniform color, tone, and response on my instrument with the full set of Olivs.

Which string combos have worked well for you with Eudoxa &/or Oliv? Are there other brands that you find pair well with these strings? Wound gut, plain gut, synthetic, steel core? Best rosin pairings? Please share your experiences, I’d love to hear about it! Also comment below if you have string care suggestions or helpful installation techniques.

I hope you found this review helpful! Thanks for reading & happy practicing!

Brian

10/19 | InDIGenous Jazz Series presents Executive Tea Set + Brennan Connors & Stray Passage @ Wisconsin Union Play Circle Theater

I’d like to start out with some after show thoughts on Brennan Connors & Stray Passage’s recent performance at Cafe CODA…

A big shout out and thank you to Hanah Jon Taylor and Cafe CODA for hosting us last Friday, 10/5 at his newly opened space on Willy Street.  When I first moved to Madison from Indianapolis, I noticed the absence of a true Jazz club.  I had been spoiled by my experiences at The Jazz Kitchen (and a number of other joints) where you knew you could go hear the best local and touring players.  The environment at Cafe CODA brought me that feeling once again.  It’s comfortable, in a prime location, has headroom, plenty of large inspiring photos of Jazz legends, and sounds great.  The space invites you through it’s front lounge, to the bar in the middle, and finally pulls you towards the listening space in the back.  As a patron, you have three options when deciding how close-to or far-from the musical action you want to be.  Congratulations to Hanah (and anyone who helped out) on getting this new space up and running, I hope many successful nights of music come your way!  If you are in Madison and love Jazz, check this place out.

Café CODA is Madison’s premier new jazz space! We are dedicated to the presentation of traditional, contemporary and creative music. Café CODA maintains an arts-centric program of musical performances, workshops and master classes available to residents and patrons of the Madison area.

Additional thanks to Paul S Howell for shooting some nice pics at the club!


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Fri, 10/19 | 7:30pm All Ages, FREE

Wisconsin Union: Play Circle Theater

800 Langdon St, Madison, Wisconsin 53706

INDIGENOUS JAZZ SERIES PRESENTS

EXECUTIVE TEA SET

BRENNAN CONNORS & STRAY PASSAGE

Brought to you by Madison Music Collective, Greater Madison Jazz Consortium, Wisconsin Union Theater.

from inDIGenous:

The inDIGenous Jazz Series is presented by Madison Music Collective, The Greater Madison Jazz Consortium, and the Wisconsin Union Theater. Concerts begin at 7:30 pm and are held in the Memorial Union Play Circle at the Wisconsin Union Theater, 800 Langdon St. Each concert is free, all-ages, and open to the public.

The group Executive Tea Set was formed at a time in history just before it was unfortunate to be associated with the word “tea.” After a short time off from regular performances, the group returns to full force with their inimitable style, humor, and grace. Michael, Mark, and Brad are psyched to welcome newest member Paul Dietrich on trumpet. Paul brings his unique panache, and subtle bluster, spurring the band into unknown universes. Their choice of repertoire combines self-described “difficult music” featuring polyrhythmic, multi-modal reading, metric mystery, and high-flying harmonic modulation with “gut-bucket tunes we can blow on”. Original music of a jazz variety carries the day, penned by the members of the group themselves, with occasional masterworks from one jazz luminary or another.

Paul Dietrich – Trumpet
Mark Siegenthaler – Piano
Bradley Townsend – Bass
Michael Brenneis – Drums

Brennan Connors & Stray Passage is primarily an improvising unit focusing on the outside or experimental aspects of jazz. Each performance is dependent on the mind states of the individual musicians, the physical environment of the performance space, and the intense listening and sonic communication that occurs as they play. Their 2017 release Emergence is available on Bandcamp. The breadth of a performance ranges from focused minimalism to fiery high energy music, all while maintaining a sense of narrative organization and compelling ensemble interplay. Their repertoire includes original compositions, a few old favorites, and raw improvisation.

Brennan Connors – Tenor and Soprano Saxophones
Brian Grimm – Electric Bass and Contra-Cello
Geoff Brady – Drums

The inDIGenous Jazz Series is presented by the Madison Music Collective, the Greater Madison Jazz Consortium, and the Wisconsin Union Theater; supported by Dane Arts, the John and Carolyn Peterson Charitable Foundation, the Madison Arts Commission, Janus Galleries, and the Evjue Foundation; and receives promotional support from WORT-FM and Wisconsin Public Radio.

9/20 | CJ Boyd, Taralie Peterson + Brian Grimm, Scaroth @ Communication

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Thr, 9/20 | 7:30pm  $8  All Ages  Alcohol

@ Communication

2645 Milwaukee St. Madison, WI 53704

CJ BOYD (permatour)

Taralie Peterson + Brian Grimm

Scaroth

In the last 5 years, I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating in various ways with ambient bassist & vocalist CJ Boyd (Joyful Noise RecordingsObsolete Media Objects).  We have a track “Horses” coming out on his yet-to-be-released, mammoth sized “50 states project” (more on that when the time comes!).  Back in 2014, I contributed a track to his fundraiser compilation for reproductive rights: Running Up That Hill.  When CJ came through town in 2013, it was the impetus for Mine All Mine Records + GrimmusiK Records ambient compilation Colias.  I also made an official remix of “slowly by your passing” for his Visions & Revisions remix compilation.  The point being, for someone who is on perpetual tour I’ve managed to collaborate with CJ nearly as much as some of my regular bandmates in town!  Now multiply that by all of the musicians that he is keeping track of on the road, constantly in a cycle of scheduling tours, booking shows, recording albums (sometimes in our local coffee shop bathrooms!), releasing collaborative projects, etc…. this guy is busy!  I am always impressed by the hard work and persistence I see from full time touring musician CJ Boyd.

CJ still finds time to have a voice in matters of social injustice, whether it’s through social media platforms or directly in his music.  The timing doesn’t always work out when he is coming through town, but I’m glad it did this year! As always, I am excited to spend some time with CJ before/after the show and to enjoy his ambient music stylings at Madison’s new all ages venue, Communication.

Check out CJ’s many records here: https://cjboyd.bandcamp.com/

More on CJ: http://www.cjboyd.com/

CJ and I are both fans of Taralie Peterson’s musical output, including her solo projects as Tar Pet, Louise Bock, and in the dynamic duo Spires That In The Sunset Rise.  A multi-instrumentalist and improviser extraordinaire, Taralie has the rare gift to pull sounds through the void from other dimensions for you to hold momentarily.  This will be our first duo collaboration and I am honored to sit next to her on stage this Thursday.


 

 

 

9/4, 9/7, 9/8 | Shows This Week

JAZZ SEXTET

Tues, 9/4 | 9p-12 $0 @ The Mason Lounge (every Tuesday!)

416 S Park St, Madison, WI 53715

FIVE POINTS JAZZ COLLECTIVE!

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As always, you can find me on Bass Guitars at the Mason Lounge on S. Park ST every Tuesday night, with the Five Points Jazz Collective!  We’ll have the full sextet this week, featuring Charlie Painter on guitar, Trey Grimm on keyboard, Rin Ribble on violin, Kyle Rightley on trombone/euphonium, and Eric Shackelford on drums!  Sure to please with funk, latin-jazz, swing, and blues along side the wonderful selection of craft brew that the Mason rotates on tap.  Warning! Jazz occurs between 9p-12a.


JAZZ, IMPROV, & INDIE ROCK

 Fri, 9/7 | 7p $Tips @ Bos Meadery

849 E Washington Ave, Madison, WI 53703

BOAT PATROL (on tour Jazz/Grass)

LABRADOR, THE BAND (Indie Rock)

BRENNAN CONNORS & STRAY PASSAGE (Free Jazz)

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Built on an improvisational base, Boat Patrol (pictured above) uses a trove of influences and techniques ranging from bluegrass to avant-garde jazz to create extensive musical landscapes and textures.

Boat Patrol began creating music in the fall of 2017 in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.  Avoiding simple categorization, boat patrol explores every nook and cranny of the musical palate with each live performance serving as a unique portrait of the band.  Featuring Cai Mountjoy – bass/madolin/guitar, Daleth Mountjoy – keys/synths, Evan Verploegh – drums/theremin

Labrador. The band. are a mellow, moody three-piece that sounds like the type of estro-rock you might hear in The Bronze on an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Brennan Connors & Stray Passage is a free/outside jazz trio. Performances delve into fiery high energy music, focused minimalism, and raw expression.

Donations suggested.


FREE-IMPROV

Sat, 9/8 |6p potluck 8p music $5 @ The Vault

JACK WRIGHT & ROUGHHOUSING (tour)

HIGH PRIESTS OF THE APOCALYPSE

BRIAN GRIMM (cellos)

Improviser extraordinaire and road warrior Jack Wright and his trio Roughhousing is back in Madison for a show at The Vault!  Roughhousing features bassist Evan Lipson and guitarist Zach Darrup.  Read more about the trio here > Roughhousing EPK. Potluck starts at 6pm – bring a tasty dish to share and enjoy; music starts by 8pm.  Enjoy a night of free improv at one of Madison’s most notorious DIY venues with a trio that aims to strip away the layers of facades that plague the digital marketing age.


8/10-12 | Madison New Music Festival 2018, “They’re Still Here” premiere

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Madison New Music Festival Schedule

Friday, 8/10 7:30pm at Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 227 State St.

MNMF Opening Night 2018: Sounds of the ’60s and Beyond!  [tickets]

Hear sounds born out of the ’60s counterculture with works exploring minimalism, social and political engagement, and electronic experimentation, as well as the music they inspired for decades to come. The program will include a mixture of instrumental, vocal, and electroacoustic music, with featured guest artist Conduit. Highlights include composer and Lawrence Conservatory faculty Evan Williams’ “Bodies Upon the Gears” for clarinet, viola, and audio from Mario Savio’s 1964 speech urging the importance of civil protest; Steve Reich’s “New York Counterpoint” for amplified clarinet and tape; and Andy Akiho’s “Stop Speaking” for solo snare in conversation with digital playback. There will be a cash bar, as well as opportunities to explore the exhibits, including the MMoCA’s current exhibition “Far Out: Art of the 1960s.”

Complete Program: Music by Melissa Dunphy, Angelica Negron, Evan Williams, Steve Reich, Gilda Lyons, Anna Meadors, Kyle Tieman-Strauss, David Lang, and Andy Akiho

Performed by: Conduit (Zach Manzi, clarinet and Evan Saddler, percussion); Caitlin Mead, soprano; Kristina Teuschler, clarinet; ZouZou Robidoux, cello; Jeremy Kienbaum, viola; Heather Zinninger Yarmel, flute.

Saturday, 8/11 2:00pm at Bethel Lutheran, 312 Wisconsin Ave.

MNMF Concert #2: Sounds of Reflection [tickets]

Madison New Music Festival continues with an afternoon program that invokes spirituality, morality, and reflection. Hear music including organ interludes performed by Madison Symphony Orchestra organist Greg Zelekand Vital Organ Project founder Tyler Jameson Pimm, soundscapes for viola and piano by Morton Feldman and Toru Takemitsu, African spirituals arranged for instrumental chamber ensemble, and the renowned Langston Hughes set to music by composers including Madison’s Scott Gendel.

Tickets: $15/$5 for students.

Program: Music by Toru Takemitsu, Trevor Weston, Morton Feldman, Daniel Ficarri, John Weaver, Tyler Pimm, Tania J. Leon, John Musto, Ricky Ian Gordon, and Scott Gendel.

Performed by: Jeremy Kienbaum, viola; Satoko Hayami, piano; Caitlin Mead, soprano; Scott Gendel, piano; Kristina Teuschler, clarinet; Micah Cheng, cello; Alex Norris, violin; Greg Zelek, organ; and Tyler Jameson Pimm, organ.

Sunday, 8/12 7:30pm at Robinia Courtyard, 829 E Washington Ave

MNMF Closing Night 2018! [tickets]

Polish off your weekend with a drink at Robinia Courtyard as you listen to the world premiere of “They’re Still Here,” a new work by local multi-instrumentalist B.C. Grimm featuring 9 instruments ranging from cello to Chinese pipa. Then, kick back for a set of solo string music from violinist Aaron Yarmel and violist Jeremy Kienbaum, featuring pieces by Philip Glass, Ursula Mamlock, and one of Yarmel’s own improvisations. Finally, musicians from all three concerts close out the festival together with a performance of Julius Eastman’s “brilliant and brazen” 1973 piece, “Stay On It.” This rarely performed work ends our musical weekend with a bang– and a groove! There will be a cash bar.


theyre still here header.png

Live set up for BC Grimm’s new 30min piece, “They’re Still Here”.

“They’re Still Here”  Program Notes

Composed August, 2018 by BC Grimm (b 1986) for the Madison New Music Festival

This piece explores how those who have passed away continue to pop up in the everyday moments of our lives.  You’ll hear field recordings of my day-to-day experience fused with instrumental sound design.  These scenes recreate and reference real life moments I’ve had in the wake of these deaths.

“They’re Still Here” is dedicated in loving memory to Patrick Kelly, Ross Sutherin & Brian White-Stout and to the Grimm, Sutherin, Kelly, Morrow, White-Stout & Brethauer families.

Scene I   Passing of a Friend, The Work Day Begins

Tenor Viola da Gamba with field recording

Scene II   News Cycle On Fire: Rbt. Mueller’s Lonely Russia Probe

Gaohu Cantonese fiddle with foley, field recording, 1940’s radio broadcast, singing bowls, violoncello, dizi flute, bawu flute, xiao flute, sheng mouth organ

Scene III   Do I Tell The Children?  No, Teach On.

Violoncello with field recording, pipa lute, tenor viola da gamba, violoncello, contracello

Scene IV   Fluorescence Hums The Harmonic Order of Nature

APC40 (electric hum in just intonation)

Scene V   Morning Routine, Scrambled Brains

Field Recording with foley

Scene VI   A Call With My Brother, Wise Counsel

Sarangi-Cello in pipa tuning with claps, cajon, motorcycle

Scene VII   Ask The Corn Spirits

Gaohu fiddle with bawu flute

Scene VIII   Hermie’s Chimes, They’re Still Here

Guqin Zither with pipa lute, gaohu fiddle, dizi flute

Scene IX   Funeral Grave

Violoncello

Scene X   Temple of Ancestors

Sarangi-Cello in pipa tuning with pipa lute, synthesis

Scene XI   Transfigurations

Guqin zither with pipa lute, Russian folk harp, singing bowls

Scene XII   Schoolyard in Snow; Children Play On

Tenor Viola da Gamba,

APC40 (electric hum in equal temperament), field recordings, foley


 

June 28-30 | LunART Festival celebrating Women in the Arts!

LunArts Festival poster

It has finally arrived!  The 2018 LunART Festival celebrating women composers, performers, visual artists, choreographers, and more!  This festival, spearheaded by Sound Out Loud flutist Iva Ugrčić, has a mission to: “… support, inspire, promote, and celebrate women in the arts through public performances, exhibitions, workshops, and interdisciplinary collaboration; thus enriching our community and creating a welcoming space for learning and experimentation.” 

Please do yourself a favor and take a scroll down LunART Fest’s official facebook page, you’ll find post after post highlighting all of the fantastic musicians participating in this festival!

DONATE TO THE CAMPAIGN – Help support this event and sustain it for future seasons!

LunART Festival write ups by: Isthmus; Madison 365; Diversity.Wisc;

More from LunART: [This] festival strives to cultivate a vibrant, safe space for women, unveiling our artistic leadership and creating the opportunity to put our hearts and souls into what we believe in.

Throughout history, artists have created and used their works as a powerful way to comment on social issues. They have raised questions, challenged norms, and encouraged people to observe controversial subjects through a different lens. Gender issues are currently at the forefront of political and social discussions, and we want to support women across the globe as they navigate the gender imbalance in artistic fields.

This three-day festival features a remarkable range of women, diverse and varied in their artistic vision, but with the shared passion and desire to make their voices heard!

Our 2018 Artist in Residence is award-winning composer Jenni Brandon. She will coach the LunART Festival “From Page to Stage: Emerging Composers Workshop,” offering master classes, lectures, and discussions about collaboration and career tools.  ”


2018 LunART Festival Dates and Featured Events

Thursday, June 28:

6pm Free | Lecture “Beyond the Muse: Women’s Musical History” presented by musicologist Andrea Fowler @ Madison Museum of Contemporary Art Lobby: 227 State Street, Madison Wisconsin 53703

“The main idea behind this talk is to highlight the varied roles that women play in the music industry. We are performers, composers, and scholars, yes. And those roles have been public for quite some time. But we are also pedagogues, consiglieri, critics, and administrators, not to mention conductors, librarians, and educators. My goal with this talk is to explore some examples of these roles and to demonstrate how women’s cultural agency is a vital part of music in the 21st century.”

7pm $20 Tickets“Moon Dances” Opening Gala Concert” @ Madison Museum of Contemporary Art Lobby: 227 State Street, Madison Wisconsin 53703

Enjoy this opening event featuring music by Composer-in-Residence Jenni Brandon; 2018 Call for Scores Winners Katy Abbott & Veronika Krausas; Valerie Coleman and Cecilia McDowall; with special guests Katrina Schaag, writer and Zhalarina Sanders, hip-hop artist.

Program

Katrina Therese Schaag
The Infinite Woman feminist writing project

Jenni Brandon Music, composer-in-residence
Meditations for piano, violin, viola and cello

Veronika Krausas, 2018 Call for Scores Winner
Hopscotch Tarot for mezzo soprano and violin

Cecilia McDowall
The Moon Dances for flute and piano

Jenni Brandon
The Dreams of Birds for alto flute and piano

Katy Abbott, 2018 Call for Scores Winner
Glisten for piano solo

Valerie Coleman-Page Flutist & Composer
Trio Toccata for oboe, bassoon and piano

Friday, June 29:

7pm $20 Tickets | “The Woman with the Unfathomable Eyes” Friday Gala Concert, Promenade Hall, Overture Center for the Arts: 201 State St, Madison, WI 53703

Program

Xinyan Li, 2018 Call for Scores Winner
Mongolian Impressions for solo bassoon, percussion, and string quartet

Katrin Talbot
poetry reading and photo exhibition

Jenni Brandon
Sun Songs for soprano, English horn, cello, and piano

​Galina Ustvolskaya
Composition No.1 “Dona Nobis Pacem” for tuba, piccolo and piano

​Fanny Mendelssohn 
Three Pieces for piano four hands

Doina Rotaru
Japanese Garden for bass flute/piccolo and electronics

​Jenni Brandon
The Woman with the Unfathomable Eyes
for small chamber ensemble, narrator, and dancer

9:30pm Free | “That’s What She Said” Anthology @ Bos Meadery: 849 East Washington, Madison, Wisconsin 53703

That’s What She Said is a story-share production in which local women share real stories about their fears, their joys, their lives. Created in 2014, it is produced by The Bricks Theatre (Madison, WI) and directed by Molly Vanderlin (Owner/Producer, The Bricks Theatre). It has received great reviews, and after fifteen shows, The Bricks Theatre has decided it might have a great idea!

Saturday, June 30:

10am Free | Panel Discussion: “Collaboration in the Arts” – with Jenni Brandon, Katrina Schaag, and Zhalarina H. Sanders, @ The Bubbler at Madison Public Library: 201 W. Mifflin St., Madison, Wisconsin 53703

Join us for a Saturday morning chat about the Collaboration is the Arts led by our fabulous guest artists: 

Jenni Brandon – composer
Kelly Parks Snider – visual artist
Katrina Therese Schaag, PhD. – writer

This engaging panel discussion is for anyone interested in arts entrepreneurship, and for those who want to learn how artists work together. Participation from attendees is encouraged.

2-3pm Free | “From Page to Stage: Emerging Composers Workshop” – Composition master class with Jenni Brandon @ Outreach Concert, Capitol Lakes Grand Hall: 333 W Main St, Madison, Wisconsin 53703

We are extremely excited to welcome 6 talented composers to LunART’s 2018 educational program “From Page to Stage: Emerging Composers!” Join us for the concert dedicated to showcasing their works!

7pm $20 Tickets | “Women’s Voices” Closing Gala Concert  @ First Unitarian Society Auditorium: 900 University Bay Dr, Madison, Wisconsin 53705

Join the LunART Festival in celebrating women in the arts! Enjoy this event featuring music by Composer-in-Residence Jenni Brandon, 2018 Call for Scores Winner Ingrid Stölzel, and Abbie Betinis, Hildegard von Bingen, Linda Kachelmeier, Elizabeth Alexander, Marilyn Bliss, Brianna Ware, Madeleine Dring, & Amy Beach. ​Featuring Festival Women’s Choir conducted by Kathy Otterson.

With special guests: visual artist Kelly Parks Snider and photographers Jennifer Bucheit & Katrin Talbot. 

9:30pm Free | “Starry Night”performance: 2014 International Fingerstyle Guitar Champion and folk singer-songwriter Helen Avakian, and rock band Tiny Dinosaur @ Robinia Courtyard: 829 E Washington Ave, Madison, Wisconsin 53703

Come enjoy our fabulous guest artists, singer-songwriter Helen Avakian and Tiny Dinosaur rock band, and join us in celebrating the end of our inaugural 2018 season!

Madison singer-songwriter and guitarist Helen Avakian is the 2014 International Fingerstyle Guitar Champion, and was voted Favorite Acoustic Act by Rhythm and News Magazine. She is also a recording artist, producer, and guitar instructor specializing in acoustic guitar music. 

Time for some indie pop emerging from the primordial ooze of the isthmus to weave tiny tales. It’s Mesozoic music for the masses. Tiny Dinosaur is an indie rock band of four females giving a warm embrace to folk, punk, and pop to tell you a story.


Partners

LunART Festival has partnered with area art organizations including:

  • Overture Center for the Arts
  • Madison Museum of Contemporary Arts
  • First United Methodist Church
  • Madison Public Library
  • Capitol Lakes Retirement Center and First Unitarian Society
  • Robinia Courtyard
  • Bos Meadery
  • Field Table

LunART is supported by:

  • Dane Arts and Madison Arts Commission
  • 2018 UW Arts Business Competition, 2nd place
  • finalist for 2018 National Flute Association’s C.R.E.A.T.E. Project Competition

Composer In Residence – Jenni Brandon

Call For Score Winners


Emerging Composers Participants

  • Grace Hale
  • Donna Howard
  • Meg Huskin
  • Seolhee Kim
  • Alissa Stolt
  • Amy Thomas

Performers

  • Sarah Ambrose, flute
  • ARTemis Women’s Choir
  • Helen Avakian, singer-songwriter
  • Yana Avedyan, DMA piano
  • Jennifer Bucheit, photographer
  • Melanie Cain, DMA voice
  • Matthew Coley, percussion
  • Thomas Curry, DMA tuba
  • Lara Saville Dahl, DMA oboe
  • Shannon Farley, violin
  • Andrea Fowler, musicology
  • Vincent Fuh, piano
  • Jose García-Taborda, clarinet
  • Ina Georgieva, viola
  • Brian Grimm, cello
  • Amy Harr, cello
  • Satoko Hayami, piano
  • Heartland Marimba Ensemble
  • Kyle D. Johnson, DMA piano
  • Buzz Kemper, narrator
  • Michael Koszewski, percussion
  • Jason Kutz, piano
  • Leanne League, violin
  • Sarah Leuwerke, mezzo-soprano
  • Wes Luke, violin
  • Blakeley Menghini, DMA viola
  • Juliana Mesa, bassoon
  • Kathleen Otterson, conductor
  • Marie Pauls, viola
  • Jennifer Paulson, viola
  • Breta Saganski, percussion
  • Valerie Clare Sanders, violin
  • Katie Schaag, PhD
  • Kelly Parks Snider, visual artist & activist
  • Elspeth Stalter-Clouse, violin
  • Kristina Teuschler, clarinet
  • Tiny Dinosaur, rock band
  • Liz Sexe, dancer & choreograper
  • Samantha Sinai, cello
  •  Katrin Talbot, photographer and poet
  • Lawren Brianna Ware, piano & composition
  • Jacqueline Wilson, DMA bassoon
  • Aaron Yarmel, violin
  • Iva Ugrčić, flute

 

5/4 | ALL Jazz Fest 2018 @ Schenk’s Corners

Fri, 5/4 |  ALL Jazz Fest 2018 @ Schenk’s Corners

Don’t miss the inaugural ALL Jazz Fest on Friday, May 4th during Spring Gallery Night. Starting at 5pm, enjoy free jazz concerts at 7 venues in Schenk’s Corners (Atwood/Winnebago) featuring 17 top local jazz ensembles, including Russ Johnson’s Headlands with special guest Greg Ward.

SCHEDULE
Monona Bank

  • 5pm – Anders Svanoe Double Trio
  • 6pm – Anders Svanoe Trio
  • 7pm – Major Vistas
  • 8pm – Tony Barba

Studio Paran (outside)

  • 5pm – Space Junk
  • 6pm – Jon Hoel Trio
  • 7pm – Ted Keys Trio
  • 8pm – MRS. FUN

MadCity Music

  • 6pm – YINS
  • 7pm – Shaper

Maven Vocal Arts

  • 6pm – Eli Bucheit Trio
  • 7pm – Lundberg/Packard Quartet
  • 8pm – Lesser Lakes Trio

Union Hair Parlor

  • 7pm – Brennan Connors & Stray Passage w/ special guest Greg Ward
  • 8pm – Lucas Koehler Combo

Arts + Literature Laboratory

  • 9:15pm Russ Johnson’s Headlands w/ special guest Greg Ward

Alchemy

  • 10:30pm – Tony Castaneda’s Latin Jazz Band

Special thanks to our sponsors: Monona Bank, SASY Neighborhood Association, Dane Arts & WORT!


 

5/3 | Nan Cheney March For Justice Awards @ Monona Terrace

Nan Cheney March For Justice Award

Thr, 5/3 | 5:00-7:00 PM @ Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center 

1 John Nolen Drive, Madison, WI 53703

Register Here:  https://conta.cc/2qqrxyI

Forward Community Investments is pleased to announce the 2018 Nan Cheney March for Justice Award recipient . . . it’s the awesome Will Green! Per Salli Martyniak, FCI’s president, “When I asked people who was that one person in our community who led with courage, conviction and passion but whose accomplishments were not always given the spotlight they deserve, the person who rose to the top was always Will. Now, it’s our privilege to shine the spotlight on Will!” FCI will be honoring will on May 3, 5:00 to 7:00pm, at Monona Terrace. 

Will Green is the recipient of the Second Annual Nan Cheney March for Justice Award

Drumroll, please . . . this year’s Nan Cheney March for Justice Award recipient is Will Green. Will is a consummate doer and giver in Madison. He runs Mentoring Positives, a nonprofit that mentors and guides youth – many of them youth of color – in Madison’s Darbo neighborhood. For more than 10 years, Will and his wife, Becky, have touched the lives of more than 2,500 young people, teaching them what it means to reach their fullest potential and offering them the resources to overcome peer pressure.

Thanks to Will’s own “can do” attitude, Mentoring Positives also introduces youth to entrepreneurship through the production of Off the Block salsa. For the last seven summers, Will and his team of youth entrepreneurs have grown and harvested tomatoes, turned those tomatoes into salsa and marketed and sold jars of Off the Block salsa in Metcalf’s and other stores across Dane County. Sale proceeds go towards supporting the work of Mentoring Positives.

In addition to leading Mentoring Positives, Will is the girls’ varsity basketball coach at Madison’s LaFollette High School. It’s a natural “second job” for Will who played a good game of b-ball when he attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Will’s inspiration for all of his work was his mom, Muriel Pipkins, who raised Will and his two brothers to be caring, kind individuals who give back to their communities. It’s fitting that Mentoring Positives bears the same initials as Will’s mom. It was upon her death that Mentoring Positives was started. To this day, Muriel is recognized as the inspiration behind Will’s work. And, we are thrilled to keep her spirit going through Will who is the inspiration to the young men and women he mentors. Honoring Will as this year’s recipient of the Nan Cheney March for Justice $15,000 grant is the right thing to do!

~ all information via Forward Community Investments

Brian Grimm will provide light cello music as guest enter on behalf of Monroe Street Arts Center.