June 20th marked the first in the summer salon series. Helluva salon, if I may say so. Oldies but goodies in the lineup included:

Thomas & Clara Christensen (piano four-hands)
"Fantasy in F minor for Four Hands," Franz Schubert

Larry Zbikowski (acoustic guitar)
"Rosita (polka)," Francisco Tárrega
"Suite No. 2 in popular style," James McGuire
"Five Pieces from Venezuela," harmonization by Vincente Sojo

David Bashwiner (guitar & voice)
three adorable new songs:
"Meat Hooks," "Sad Little Creature," and "Hey, Cute Girl"

On the second half of the program, we saw a demonstration of a work in progress by Nicholas DeMaison, my fellow collaborator in all things Opera Cabal and currently hailing from New York, and Jason Ponce, all the way from the University of California at San Diego (both are working toward composition Ph.D.s there). Nick and Jason shared a June residency at High Concept Laboratories in Chicago. (A.k.a. the giant, cool-looking warehouse-cum-performance space across from the Hideout -- it's so new it doesn't have a website. Yet!]) The planned work is a trio for piano, percussionist, and live computer processing. I'll do my best to describe their preview performance. Nick, as pianist, sat and played at the piano keyboard in the traditional sense while Jason, as percussionist, played with a variety of mallets on the inside strings of the instrument (manipulating or to some degree interfering with what Nick was playing). At the same time, a video camera mounted vertically over top of the piano tracked Jason's movements in order to then translate those movements into electronic sound (this is the part where I get lost). The total result (an extremely cool-sounding blend of Bach & what I can only call truly "High Concept" technological noise) was pumped through four speakers placed evenly around the room. Those at the center of the room sat in the sweet spot.

We were also graced with a surprise visit and performance from distinguished Korean p'ansori artist, Chan E. Park, who gave a full concert in the ballroom during the second half of the program. This is possibly the coolest, most emotionally transparent music in the world and while it can involve a number of musicians at once, for this salon there were only two performers in the ballroom: Chan's husky, soulful voice (a cross between Johnny Cash and Freddie Mercury in the body of a woman) and her trusty drum.


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