Thursday, November 18, 2010

This Life of Sounds - Renee Levine Packer

I'm very excited about this book, for personal reasons as well as the importance of the material it covers.  It just happened to fall on my desk a few months ago as a new book to be cataloged and added to the University of Louisville's collection and of course I checked it out right away.

The book gives a first had account of the history of the Creative Associates in Buffalo, NY at the University of Buffalo.  This history intertwines with the creation of the June in Buffalo Festival, thanks to Morton Feldman,  as well as with the lives of many famous performers and composers, including John Cage, George Crumb, Terry Riley, Cornelius Cardew, Maryanne Amacher, Frederic Rzewski, David Tudor, Julius Eastman, Charles Mingus, David Del Tredici, Aaron Copland, and many more including Jan Williams who generously donated his personal collection of photographs which I cataloged and are now available online as a digital collection.  The Creative Associates was a group of performers with a yearly changing lineup created by Lukas Foss, paid on grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, brought to the University at Buffalo.  They had no teaching responsibilities, but were soley responsible for performing contemporary music at the Evenings for New Music Concerts at the Albright Knox Art Gallery.

Renee Levine Packer worked directly with Lukas Foss and the subsequent directors of the Center of the Creative and Performing Arts and therefore is an invaluable resource in the recording of this section of contemporary music's and Buffalo history.  As she points out, one of the most important aspects of the Creative Associates performances was the ability to work with the living composers on their music.  She provides a similar service as a primary resources for the history of this music.  This book is essential for those interested in new music, as Buffalo played a critical role in the dissemination of this music, provided a forum for composers to hear their music performed, and cultivated new generations of musicians to learn music from this repertoire.  While this group was dissolved in 1980, the annual June in Buffalo Festival continues this tradition in Buffalo, now under the direction of composer David Felder.

The University at Buffalo Music Library assisted Renee Levine Packer in her research and provided many of the pictures found in the book.  Here is the Archive for the Center of the Creative and Performing Arts which includes a catalog and recordings of the Creative Associate Recitals and Evenings for New Music.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


A new place to find some classical music online! Their website includes the following description:
Musopen ( is a 501(c)(3) non-profit focused on improving access and exposure to music by creating free resources and educational materials. We provide recordings, sheet music, and textbooks to the public for free, without copyright restrictions. Put simply, our mission is to set music free.
What a great idea.  Follow their blog, then listen to some music, find music to play yourself, and perhaps even donate some of your time to contribute to this innovative project.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Givers (EP) - Givers

Just heard this song on the radio this morning - Up Up Up by Givers.  They're working on the full length album now, but in the meantime you can groove and dance to this EP.  Its upbeat, it will draw you in, and you will dance, I guarantee it.  You think you like Vampire Weekend?  These guys are better.  Instead of bashing the former, I will just say that its refreshing that poppy and repetitive now has a better representative.  I listened to Up Up Up going on 10 times this morning and the only thing that stopped me from number 11 was my rhapsody player quickly switching to their song Meantime, now I'm hooked on that.  So thank you Givers for my latest obsession.  I'm sure you'll thank them too.  Here's a video that suggests they might even be better live from their performance at SXSW.