Monthly Archives: November 2016

A Night of New Music With Christian Wolff

107This concert included a wide variety of Christian Wolff’s compositions. All of the pieces in this concert were written by Christian Wolff.

The majority was played by University of Virginia students and staff but we were also graced by the presence of Christian Wolff when he came out to play his work, Exercise No. 1 (1973 – 74).

The venue of less than 100 people provided a very intimate feel to the concert which added to the privilege of seeing such a great composer perform original pieces.

The concert started with University of Virginia students playing Christian Wolff’s composition, Stones (1968). This piece involved the students standing around a table with different types and sizes of stones. They used different surfaces to hit the stones on which produced distinct sounds for each composer. There was no predictable rhyme or reason to this piece which made it hard to predict what was coming next. The variety of sounds and the preciseness of their use came together brilliantly in this piece, creating a very enjoyable overall sound.

The next piece, Pairs (1987), caught my attention for many of the same reasons as Stones (1968). The freedom given to the artists gave the piece a very unique an unpredictable sound. While the piece was very unpredictable you could tell that there was some order to the piece by watching how the performers would watch and interact with each other. Much like with Stones (1968), the performers would sometimes watch each other for specific cues before playing. Knowing that every sound had a general place in this piece but also flexibility added to its enjoy ability tremendously.

The piece Play (1968) stood out for me because of the variety of everyday objects used to make sounds. The majority of the objects used to make sounds were not instruments in the traditional since. Pipes, sticks, and even a top were all used to make sounds for this piece. This piece also contained traditional instruments, such as a guitar, but they were played in unusual ways. The combination of all these aspects added a great deal of uniqueness to the piece which made it very interesting for the listener.

My favorite part of the concert was when Christian Wolff came out to play his composition, Exercise No. 1 (1973 – 74). It was very exciting to see a well known musician play an original piece in such an intimate setting like that of University of Virginia’s Old Cabell Hall. This piece was played on piano and consisted of bits of sound separated by short pauses. There was no noticeable rhythm or melody. There were also frequent changes in tempo. The apparent randomness of this piece made it very interesting for me as a listener.

From this concert, I have gathered that Christian Wolff emphasizes a style of freedom which makes all of his compositions unique and exciting during every listen. Before going to the concert, I may have thought that the seemingly arbitrary style of Wolff was unappealing but at the concert I was able to see that there a basic structure to his style. This basic structure combined with the flexibility allowed by Wolff gives all of his compositions unique and interesting character. I recommend to everyone to not just listen to Wolff’s music but actually go to a concert and see all of these subtleties for yourself.

How My First Concert Changed How I Listened To Music

106It was a warm and hot Sunday night on the 9th December 2007 at the Merdeka Stadium Kuala Lumpur. Because it’s warm and humid all year in Malaysia. Tonight, My Chemical Romance was going to perform live to their Malaysian fans (including myself) for the very first time as part of their Black Parade World Tour.

After a year of listening to the Black Parade album, here I am, ready to listen to them live. As a fan, it was a dream come true – in music terms – to be able to watch your favourite musicians perform live for you.

So here I was, wearing my frame-less glasses, dressed in a black t-shirt and jeans, with messed up hair (I tried my best to dress for the occasion). I was a stand-out among a crowd dressed mostly in black jackets, painted faces, heavy eye-liners, mohawk hairs and spiked shoes, caps, shirts, shorts, everything.


After waiting for nearly 2 hours, the band appeared and the music started. Then, it all became clear.

WE ALL BECAME ONE – Regardless of race, religion, age, gender (or dressing); we we’re all celebrating one thing that day. Music. My Chemical Romance turned strangers to brothers and sisters through one medium – their music.

LISTENING TO MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME – After that night, my experience of listening to MCR through my earphones will never be the same. Listening to House of Wolves now brings me to a scene such as this (Sorry, I couldn’t find the Malaysian version, so here’s one from Mexico). Listening to your favourite band live will somehow nail you down as a fan for life.

APPRECIATION. – I learnt to appreciate music on a whole new level. To be able to see the fruits from the effort that the performer puts to perfect the art; to be the master of the alteration of sound so that it’s music to our ears. There’s something special about listening to music in it’s rawest form.

IT’S WORTH THE MONEY – Paying RM350 for a ticket is small money considering the hours and hours of time and effort the artist in-front of you has put to bring you that rockin’ tune. Also, musicians mainly gain their income from live music performance. A recent PWC report says that live music revenues are expected to grow as recorded music revenue continue to drop. So your contribution will be much appreciated.

THIS WONT BE MY LAST LIVE CONCERT FOR SURE – After that fateful day in 2009, I told myself that if I liked a band / musician, I’ll be sure to attend their live performance when they visit. That’s why I was ecstatic when 30 Seconds To Mars came to Malaysia for the MTV World Stage in 2011. And why I was devastated when I missed Distant Worlds just last year. MCR defined the live music experience for me.

We were all celebrating one thing that day. Music.

By the end of the concert I was exhausted. There were many instances where my specs were close to flying off my face. And my feet were sore from getting trampled on. I was surprised to get out without impaling myself in the eye with another guy’s hat.

In the end, there was a happiness beyond description. It was… euphoric.

That brings me to the question. What does live music – or music – do the human brain that gives it such powerful social, emotional and physical impact?

The live performance certainly sounded different from the album. There was something about listening to music raw that makes you appreciate it more.

If you’re a fan of a musician or band, and if they’re coming to town or if you’ve the money to fly somewhere. Then I strongly advice you go.

I think it’s a personal connection between nature and sound. Over to you scientists.

The Best Live Music Venues in NYC

99If you love music, then New York City is the place to be. Whatever your preference of genre of music, whether you’re into billboard charting musicians or eccentric indie bands, you will find a live music show somewhere in the city that will appeal to you on a nightly basis.

Live music venues in NYC are found all over the city, however, the smaller venues are mostly to be found in the Greenwich Village, East Village and the Lower East Side neighborhoods. Several small music venues, like the Cake Shop in the Lower East Side, by and large have nightly shows in the basement of bars, coffee houses and nightclubs. Comparable venues in the village area are standing room only crowded spaces, where you will find some of the city’s notable up & coming bands. On the other hand, at other music venues in NYC such as Joe’s Pub, you can enjoy live music with a cocktail while being seated.

The summer months are the ideal months to catch several performances throughout the city at some of the best outdoor music venues in NYC. Outdoor concerts are frequently held at Central Park, Washington Square Park, Roosevelt Island, Hudson River Park and Prospect Park in Brooklyn… And most amazingly, some these concerts are FREE! Check the schedules of Central Park Summerstage, Siren Festival, Washington Square Music Festival and other summer concert festivals for New York City’s first-rate outdoor shows.

There is always a music performance somewhere in the city for you to enjoy. So go out and catch a live music show in NYC this evening or weekend, where you’re guaranteed to find some exceptional music.

How To Get Tickets For Sold Out Shows and Concerts For Less Than Half Price

98Lets face it! Going to your favorite Broadway show, touring show or concert can be a very expensive proposition these days. Tickets to some in demand shows have a face value of over $500 per ticket. I don’t know about you, but that is out of my budget range.

Recently my wife mentioned that she had a desire to see a nearby concert from her favorite group, THE EAGLES. I inquired about the ticket availability and was told that the only tickets left were in a non-desirable section and even then, only single seats were available. I was disappointed and my wife was MORE disappointed than me. I wanted to give them to her for her birthday, which was very close to the concert date. It would have made a perfect gift. But, I was feeling that this birthday present was never going to materialize.

Then, in a conversation with my daughter, I was told about CRAIGS LIST. And on the actual date of the show, just hours before the show, I went to CRAIGS LIST to see if tickets were available. Alas, there were several tickets being promoted on the list in the city that the concert was being held in.

Here is exactly what I did. I went to the home page and clicked on the CITY that was closest to me. In that case, the vast majority of the listings were pertinent to me. I then clicked TICKETS and the most recent postings were right there in front of me. Most of the posts were for tickets that were being sold ABOVE face value. Not my idea of a bargain. So, I decided to do things differently. I posted my own ad saying that I was looking for tickets. Within minutes of posting the ad, I got several emails offering tickets to me.

Then I got a phone call from a person who just happened to be located just a few miles from me. I sensed that she was not a scam. I then made an offer to her. The tickets had a face value of $185 plus a service charge of $15.00 making the tickets $200 each. However it was now just four hours before show time and she was unable to attend. I offered her $100 each and she accepted. I then met her at a public location and we exchanged cash and tickets. I also took her license plate number just in case the tickets were bogus. The tickets were in ROW 1 of a great section just a few feet from the stage.

As we drove to the venue, I got SEVERAL calls from other ticket brokers trying to unload their tickets at the last minute for much LESS than the face value.