Saturday, March 17, 2012

Here's a fun show we did at Merkin with Jason Treuting (So Percussion) and Nick Zammuto (The Books) this past February. We started the show as sexy librarians (two of the three of us come from librarian lineage so we have experience in such things) and ended the show feeling like rock stars.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Anatomy of a Show

by Amanda

Perhaps this will be interesting to some. Making a show happen always brings an element of adventure so I thought I’d share! This is the log prior to our Dec 1, 2011 show at the Masters & Pelavin Gallery in TriBeCa.

10:56pm: Started considering program changes, Bax seems out of place

8:15am: N’ko and I talk more re: program and logistics. We reread contract and discover that we only need an hour of music. We’ve got about an hour and a half.

9am: New Program confirmed, no Bax, no Ravel

10am: Choose outfit, something that says “This is low-key but respect that you came out to hear us tonight.”

10:30am: Warm up on all flutes

11:45am: Start packing up VW

Noon: Post in Twitter, FB, answer emails

12:15pm: Hit the road, running errands on the way to NYC

1:27pm: Running gout of gas on I-95. Panic sets in.

1:35pm: Gassed up. Stress levels return to normal.

4:55pm: Zelda, the navigator guides me onto the Manhattan Bridge into Brooklyn. It’s too late to turn around. I fired her and hire my own logic.

5:10pm: Back in Manhattan

5:30pm: Find a spot in which to illegally park

5:45-6:15: Ensemble set up and warm up

6:15pm: Chit Chat with Todd Masters. Drink beer.

6:40pm: Pre-Concert chat with Tom Denueville from “I Care if You Listen” blog. Here's the video of that:

8pm: Concert over! Schmooz.

8:45-9:45pm: Trio Dinner w/ Kelly and our manager Benny @ Viet Café

9:45pm-12:15am: slog home

12:30am: My pillow!!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

a love letter

What more does it take than your ceiling literally raining water and finally falling down on you for you to know: it’s time to move on? It's hard for me to blog about anything else at the moment as this is a completely consuming experience. Not to overdramatize, but an earthquake and a hurricane in the same week are just about all I can handle. Thinking back, I’m so happy they happened in that order. Can you imagine? Hurricane weakens structures and earthquake brings them down. Well, maybe not all structures – but definitely our pre-war abode! Drama. For real though, the walls bleeding and brown who-knows-what’s-in-it liquid coming from overhead was enough for me.


Instead of using this blog as a cathartic vehicle from which to purge my frustration with our slum landlord and seemingly un-phased hipster neighbors, I’d rather write a love letter to my soon-to-be old neighborhood. Here goes.

Dear Williamsburg,

I love you. You are gritty, ridiculous, inspiring, luxurious, bubbly, surprising, real, classic, supportive, and full of life. It’s been over 8 years now and we’ve grown up together. I trusted you when things weren’t so clear but full of possibility and you never failed. You were always there with another surprise around the corner, and when I went away for a few days I’d come back to something new and exciting that literally went up overnight. One morning I woke up and walked outside and you had planted a tree where there was cement the night before. Possibility: a tree in Williamsburg. We walked your park. We found your other parks. You built more parks for us to walk in.

I worked in your restaurants, your gyms and your recording studios. I got to know all your many people from the undocumented Hispanic community that makes your neighborhood run to the luxury condo yuppies that allow you to grow more and more. You taught me a long lesson about patience and compassion when we rescued our pup. You provided good food, an experience which deserves it’s own love letter entirely.

I’ll miss watching a storm roll in over the city. I’ll miss watching the seasons come and go in our shared courtyard gardens. I’ll miss the ever-circling homing pigeons and their hidden homes. I’ll miss the Southside Firehouse 104 and the feeling of safety living next to those guys. I’ll miss your rogue fireworks shows on, before and after 7/4. I’ll miss your surviving corner bodegas and your why-pay-less? grocers. I’ll miss your competing coffee shops and best lattes in the world. I’ll miss your Christmas tree corners, your Sunday church goers, and all of your art galleries even though I’ve hardly been inside a handful. I’ll miss your “whipsters”. I'll miss your movie, fashion and music video shoots on every other block. I’ll miss your style and the entertainment of people watching any hour of any day of the week. I’ll miss peeking out of my windows to see so many of your windows, all with different stories inside.

Most of all, I’ll miss your music scene. I wonder how much I’ve been a part of yours and you a part of mine? I’ll miss hearing live music coming out of so many of your bars and clubs. I’ll miss the random buskers and the vagabond folksters with their sad dogs. The fixture of the Bedford L platform and all its musical potential. The upright piano in the park and the pop-up wash-tub bass bands on the sidewalks. The bluegrass and New Orleans jazz at the
Saturday Green Market. The rooftop rock and roll concerts and the waterfront shows. I’ll miss these sounds as I walk down the street and I’ll miss the jukebox music floating up from our courtyard beer garden with the occasional group-led “happy birthday”.

I’m proud of you. Even with all of your faults I still puff up to say a little part of you belonged to me. My daughter will be proud to say she spent her first months of life with you and she’ll make a pilgrimage to you someday and think “I was so cool”. I don’t care what they all do say (and I’m sure I’ll join them soon), I still love you. Thank you for being a part of my story.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

and then there was management

Currently toasting: to the future with janus and Ariel Artists Management! Raise your glass!

It's been 9+ years of self-management and it feels very momentous for us to be joining forces this season. In actuality and in many ways, we'll continue to do the same (if not more?) amount of work we've been doing this whole time. No doubt this marriage will lead to more performance opportunities and a larger audience base. Yay! We'll be on board with a spectacular roster of ensembles and soloists who you should really know if you don't already. Here's my shout out: Bryant Park String Quartet, Oni Buchanan, Stephen Drury, Duo Orfeo, Rhonda Sider Edgington, and The Guidonian Hand. I'm really stoked to share the stage with these fine musicians. Check them out!

I decided to write tonight, though, not about the future - which feels extremely bright considering Ariel is at the helm with us - but about the past 9 years of self-management. I tend to be pretty candid in this format so I hope I'm not too revealing in what I'm about to share.

There's a publication a good friend shared with me recently by Robert Besen via CMA magazine called "The Quest For Management". In it is a wealth of info for a group to consider before signing with a management company. But a few key questions to ask yourselves I'll include here:

"Before contacting a manager, you must ask yourself about your own artistic readiness; e.g., Have you won any significant competitions or awards? Do you have an adequate, diverse, and well-rehearsed repertoire? Have you performed in outreach venues or programs? Do you have a history of commissioning new music? In short, what makes you special, salable?"

I guess I can answer some of these with some kind of validity and feel like we indeed deserve "to be managed". Unfortunately, the answer to the first question is no, no janus has not won any competitions or awards. Wah Wah Wah... Feels a bit like we're starting off on the wrong foot with these questions. We HAVE come close and received some honorable mentions. Each of us individually has received numerous (numerous!) awards. But a flute/viola/harp trio winning "a major award!"* - that's something we are still working towards.
*Nuiko, that quote was for you to figure out... it's from a non-black-and-white movie, so good luck on that one. (We'll reserve a future blog posting to touch on the relevance of Nuiko and her black-and-white-movies-only upbringing)

The next 4 questions are much easier to answer positively. I get why Mr. Besen positions this first question where he does - to determine your validity, as I mentioned. It's not a problem in my mind that janus doesn't have the blue ribbons (yet). And in some ways, press quotes and presenter testimonials more than suffice. He does, after all use "awards" as an "e.g.", and for a group like ours straddling the classical and contemporary sides of the business, press does seem to be the cache he's referring to.

I digress...

2002-2011. These 9 years have consisted of a constant push forward from within. Self-management. I'm telling you, I really believe the most important question Mr. Besen only alludes to in the latter of his article is this question: Have you been self-managed for a number of years? What goes along with this: Do you have significant relations with presenters who would have you on a repeat season? Do you understand and cultivate your audiences? And more than his question of simply "are you commissioning new music?" I would go further to ask (for contemporary groups): Are you curating a vast canon of repertoire to build on for future groups like yours?

As I mentioned, later in his article he does touch on the importance of working together toward a similar goal. He says, "I like working with artists who are effective at pressing the flesh: those who get to know presenters, board members of presenting organizations, important members of their presenters’ communities, and in general the industry’s movers and shakers—and who will make sure I know about these effective avenues." I completely agree! But I have to say that along with everything else mentioned, this last point of his, may indeed be the most important for aspiring groups. The DIY M.O. that has become so ubiquitous in our culture these days seems to be a pre-requisite to success in our side of the business, pre-management.

Though I could wax philosophic further, I'll instead raise a glass now to the past 9 years and how they got us to the previous toast in this blog. Here's to all the ground work we've laid together! Thanks, j-anus (as we like to refer to ourselves) for persevering without the major awards (yet) and being true blue. Baby, I love you*.
*Nuiko, I don't know if you remember this song since you were born after I was...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Curious Sounds

If you're not already listening to RadioLab, get on it. Every once in awhile Jad and Robert take a break from dissecting science and they dissect music. In this show, they feature Glenn Kotche from Wilco performing two through composed percussion solos. Also on the show are Buke & Gass and Reggie Watts who are also the bees knees. If you're itching for something truly original, take a listen.

Latest short: Curious Sounds

And since I'm on the topic, here's a costume to consider next time you perform on your didgeridoo:

Sunday, April 17, 2011

REmix of Cenk Ergun's An

Many, many years ago, in a far away land the fabulous composer Cenk Ergun wrote a piece for janus called An. It was unlike anything we had done before and received its premiere in Symphony Space. It's on our docket again in a new form and in Cenk's tinkering with it, he took some time to create an awesome remix. I've put in three listening options since fans have reported that some of the previously posted audio isn't compatible with their browser.  Consider it a Where's Waldo exercise (it's good that with the passage of time, we've lost Waldo, right?). Anyway, hope you like it!!


If you're digging this and want to hear and interview with Cenk and an excerpt from the original An, click here.