NEXUS members have been performing in Woodstock New York for the past 20 years to benefit the original arts group founded in 1903 called the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony. This annual concert, sponsored by the Woodstock Chimes Fund is called the Woodstock Beat. Last summer it brought NEXUS, So Percussion and Steve Reich and Musicians to the historic Maverick Hall to present Steve’s classic percussion compositions including a complete performance of Drumming (1971). Maverick Hall was built in 1916 by Hervey White who was one of the original artists of the colony. This hall has been an acoustically excellent venue for concerts every summer since then. One very important one occurred August 29, 1952. This concert featured the music of John Cage and others and was presented by pianist David Tutor. On that auspicious evening, Cage’s seminal work, 4′ 33″ was premiered. It is interesting to note that this work which has profoundly influenced hoards of musicians since has been recorded recently in England by some leading pop stars and has been nominated for the Best Holiday Song of 2010. I think John would have been amused to see this happen. Maverick was a great place to premier this piece since the ambient sounds become the piece. Being in the middle of the Catskill Park with un-insulated walls and an open end, the natural sounds of the environment are abundant during concerts. This would be in contrast to a recording studio which by its very nature is quiet and controlled. Cage was so far ahead of his time, we had to wait nearly 60 years for the pop world to catch up to him! While John Lennon changed the world with “Give Peace a Chance”, Cage was writing music more akin to “Give Chance a Piece”.
Here’s a recent mailing done by the good people of Maverick Concerts which has an interesting blurb on the Cage work. By the way, the Woodstock Beat concert 2011 will be NEXUS and the Canadian Brass which will be Saturday night, July 2nd. Mark your calendar!
M U S I C I N T H E W O O D S SINCE 1916
A MAVERICK LEGACY: THE SOUNDS OF SILENCE LIVE ON NEW CAGE RECORDING!
Among the most notorious compositions in the musical world, John Cage’s 4’33” had its premier at the Maverick in 1952. According to a recent story in The New York Times, some of the hottest pop and rock stars gathered in early December to record a brand-new version: “The musicians crowded into a London studio, dozens of them, to record a song for charity. Waiting for their cue, they held guitars and drumsticks, and stood at attention by the microphones. Then the producer gave the count: ‘Quiet in the studio: one, two …’ And then silence. Exactly 4 minutes and 33 seconds of it. The musicians, including British pop stars like Billy Bragg, the electronic act Orbital and Enter Shikari, were there to performJohn Cage‘s famous tribute to nothingness, 4′ 33, as part of a project cheekily called Cage Against The Machine, whose goal is to send an unlikely song to the top of the British pop chart at Christmas. ” ‘Music is made up of more than just formal notes and arrangements,’ Julie Hilliard, one of the organizers, told the musicians as they prepared for their silent take. ‘Here today we are doing something special. We are stopping and appreciating the space between things, the unintentional sounds that make up our world.’ ” In an article on our website by Maverick Concerts trustee and program annotator Miriam Villchur Berg, she describes the historic moment that changed the musical world : “The pianist read the score, turned pages, and closed the piano lid after each “movement,” but he never touched a single key!” Read more.
Our wonderful webmaster Donna Calcavecchio has built a nifty new feature into the online ad form for 2011 program advertisers. Click on this link and you will see a flip-book allowing one to turn the program pages, which is a great way to remind yourself just how lovely our 2010 program was. Don’t forget: We have lined up some exciting contributors to the 2011 program, in which there will also be vintage photos from early Maverick Festivals! Respond to MaverickMuse@aol.comif you would like to place an ad or know someone who would like to reach out to our very special audience.
THERE’S STILL TIME TO CLAIM 2010 TAX-DEDUCTIONS ON GIFTS TO THE MAVERICK
Don’t forget the Maverick when you make your final 2010 charitable gifts. Music-lovers of the future will thank you. Make checks payable to Maverick Concerts, and mail to P.O. Box 9, Woodstock, NY, 12498, or click here to make an online donation.