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Last night Avian Music premiered The Vinyl Six — it’s a subject done to death on these pages, and I promise that after this I’ll stop talking about this piece, and move on to other subjects … no really, I will.

The show was a blast, with one bombastic piece after another. In addition to the Rock Star works by Michael Daugherty, Conrad Cummings, Michael Gandolfi, and Jacob ter Veldhuis were 4 (excellent) world premieres, from New Yorker Peter Flint, and Philly composers Richard Belcastro and David Laganella, and myself. The ensemble was brilliant, and it was just a really good time on W.13th St. The musical features ranged from hard-edged minimalist grooves to progressive-rock drum solos to Vegas Lounge acts to the Beach-Boys reimagined as a Beethoven sonata. Here’s a bit from Flint’s excellent ‘Director’s Note’:

…now that we’ve had a good twenty years of the revival of popular music’s influence, no one bats an eye anymore at an electric guitar on stage with violins. With the shock value of rock instruments and rock idioms on a classical concert stage fading, it seems like a perfect time to take some stock of what is really going on with the music. The first generation of composers who grew up listening to and playing in rock bands are now truly hitting their prime as artists. Another generation of younger composers are also launching their careers, having had a childhood saturated with pop music as well as having younger teachers who encouraged them to use that influence.

Indeed, although I must say, my teachers never exactly encouraged it. For me, it wasn’t until I left the conservatory that I found I identified more with with the style-inclusive music-making happening below 14th St…

My piece opened, which was great, but it took a while for the audience to get into the spirit of the thing. Often contemporary music audiences can be a tad over-serious, especially in this town, and it’s always a little disheartening to struggle with audiences in an effort to get them to remember that Music is Fun. It wasn’t until Blair pulled out the tambourine and started shakin’ that thang that anyone even cracked a smile. But then everyone had relaxed enough to get the vibe of the evening, and we were off and running.

By the end, it was a party in the land of Nobrow — my favorite ism.

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