The New York Times writer Zachary Woolfe recently attended a performance of piano supergroup the Grand Band at Manhattan’s Le Poisson Rouge this week, referring to the sextet as the “Traveling Wilburys of the city’s new-music piano scene.”
The Band, which includes Ariel pianist Blair McMillen along with Vicky Chow, David Friend, Paul Kerekes, Lisa Moore, and Isabelle O’Connell, blazed through a program that included Philip Glass’s “Glassworks,” Kate Moore’s “Sensitive Spot,” Julia Wolfe’s “My Lips From Speaking,” and Steve Reich’s “Six Pianos.” (Here’s a video from a dress rehearsal of the group earlier in the summer performing “Six Pianos” together . . . in a mall?)
From the Times:
“Closing,” the final movement of Mr. Glass’s “Glassworks” (1981), was more elegiac. It was instructive to see the different layers of his music physically separated among the different instruments.
Some of the pianos played the slow, glacial figures that underlie his work, while others had the arpeggios that flow on top. Mr. Friend handled an insistent high-note phrase with subtle gradations of volume and touch.
The tremble with which Ms. Moore’s “Sensitive Spot” (2007) begins soon yields to dense, violent poundings before the piece ends with twinkling in the piano’s upper reaches. And the group closed with Mr. Reich’s “Six Pianos” (1973), a classic phase piece from which little rhythmic gestures rise out of the bustling, changeable texture.
Full article here.
Blair McMillen is performing in New York twice this Sunday — first at Bard College’s Bard Music Festival (at 1:30pm) and then as part of the Spectrum NYC festival at 6:30pm in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.