form/figure, Music for Releasing Ghosts and My Cape…

Posted in Uncategorized by SYZYGYNEWMUSIC on February 23, 2010

So last Friday I was fortunate enough to be part of the Nouveau Classical Project’s latest event, form/figure, and decided that this would be a good subject for my first blog post.  My newly revised piano trio, Music for Releasing Ghosts, was “re-premiered” by Sugar Vendil, Patti Kilroy and Rebecca Dragonetti, all of whom performed beautifully, and I had a fantastic time working with everyone involved in the project.  I also got to wear a cape and a feathery face mask/headband…which was undoubtedly the highlight of my month.  More on my cape later…

For those of you that don’t know, The Nouveau Classical Project is a concert series dedicated to finding innovative and relevant ways to program “classical” music.  The musicians who run it are all lovely, talented and hard-working people, and have some very creative ideas when it comes to concert production…particularly where the subject of performance attire is concerned.  Personally I’ve never understood why getting up onstage to perform, an act that is fundamentally expressive, individualistic and liberating for the performer, seems to have such a rigid “uniform” requirement.  There is certainly something sacred about the ritual of dressing nicely to show respect for the art and talent being presented, but why this calls for all concert musicians to dress like conservative clones of one another I’ll never understand.  It’s a tradition that I think is in need of some serious re-vamping.

The discussion is obviously a big one, and calls into question all sorts of hefty ideas about the importance of image in art, clothing as an outlet for expression, youth culture’s interest (or lack of interest) in concert music etc. etc. I could go on and on about all of these things for reams, but I’ll spare you.  For the time being I’ll just say that if you share any of these sentiments you should keep an eye on the Nouveau Classical Project.   Their events fuse concert music with fashion and art, and as a result are a lot more exciting to watch than your average classical recital.  Last Friday’s form/figure concert was no exception, featuring the work of designers, Gigi Burris and Edward Lorenz, as well as artwork by Christopher Rini and music by all sorts of people.

However, lofty ideas about art, clothing and music aside, hands down the absolute best thing about being part of form/figure was that I got to strut around in a cape (pictured below).  Actually to be fair, while there were some definite cape-like qualities to the garment, it was too structured and carefully crafted to really be called a cape.  It also had some very slick, tuxedo-like lapels, mock-crocodile faux-sleeves and a complementary feathery headband/face mask, and was really quite visually striking.  I spent the evening slinking around the venue feeling like a very hip cross between Batman, Morticia Adams and an exotic bird, talking to people from behind my feathery headband/mask while feeling ever so elegant and mysterious.  Figuring out how to drink my wine gracefully was amusing and I did my best to keep walking to a minimum (I was simply too short for my cape and kept getting my feet caught in the trailing hem), preferring instead to pretend that I was some sort of vampire couture sculpture, condemned to spend eternity as a statue after committing some despicable sin…or something.  It was completely liberating and I loved wearing the whole outfit.  In fact I would have stolen the cape and worn it every day if I could…but unfortunately Gigi wanted it back at the end of the evening and I didn’t have the heart to scurry off into the night with it.  Instead I reluctantly gave it back to her and went back to my boring life as a cape-less civilian, trundling off to the 6 train to go home and watch some TV before going to sleep.

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