Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Upcoming Concert!

Our next concert will be this Sunday, May 3, from 2-5pm.
Composers/performers will include:

Bob Falesch

Jeremy Ruthrauff

Steve Butters

Charles Lipp

The Great Lakes Flute Quartet (Scott Dankert, Meret Fon-Revutsky, Lisa Goethe-McGinn, Stephanie Pedretti)

John Saunders

Guillermo Gregorio

Auris (Julia Miller, Eric Leonardson, Chris Preissing)

Tim Edwards

Lisa Abbatomarco

Sharon Chung

Jeremy Brunk

Alejandro Vinao

Osvaldo Golijov

Trevor Wilcock

Presented in conjuction with New Music Chicago's Mayfest (May 1-17)

New Music at the Green Mill (the blog)

It's amazing to think, but I've been a part of New Music at the Green Mill for almost a decade now, first on George's concerts, and then with my own. George had a profound influence on my compositional life at DePaul - where I wrote my first "real" piece, a woodwind quintet. So, later, when he invited me to host a concert as part of the Green Mill Series, I was honored and thrilled.

Many of my concerts include electroacoustic improvising, and almost all have expanded on the house PA to add two, four, or 5.1 channels of audio to the mix. We have also presented a variety of live video and poetic performances, as well as a diverse selection of acoustic music.

There is such a rich history not only with the Green Mill Jazz club, but with the new Music at the Green Mill series. When George started it, it truly filled a void, and provided opportunities for performers and composers that did not exist elsewhere in Chicago. For that reason, as an attempt to begin to archive this history, we have started this blog. So read, reflect, enjoy, and come to the concerts!
--Julia Miller

New Music at the Green Mill (origins)

The memory of my first Green Mill concert dates back to 1991. I had written a piece called "Through the Trees" for skeletal orchestra (13 players), and I was preparing this piece for my composition recital at DePaul. Jim O'Rourke was the wacky conductor. At the time I was keen on getting my music played off-campus, "in the real world". The idea of performing where Al Capone used to hang out was intriguing to me. My grandparents had told me stories about prohibition and the underground tunnels. I also thought it would be a nice variety shift for the Green Mill, and no one can deny that it is an ideal room for chamber music, especially since the smoking ban cleared the air. I remember all Dave Jemilo said about "new music" was: "So, you want the piano tuned and shit?"

I continue to help facilitate the Fall concert, after Frank Abbinanti became tired of doing it several years ago. I feel Frank is "big shoes to fill." I feel he is among the most under-rated of Chicago composers. Especially due to his successful reference to politics and current social problems in his music and concert research, including his recent article on "Scary Music" which is extremely provocative. I always walked away inspired and provoked by Frank's Green Mill programming over the years, and I learned about Luigi Nono and Cornelius Cardew from Frank.

The special thing about the Green Mill series is that anyone who has a piece of original music, in any form or configuration is welcome to present it on one of our concerts. Composers of any ilk, experience, and background are welcome to join us. All they have to do is contact Julia, George, or myself. We can provide a nice stage with piano, some music stands, a MONO PA system that is wired in a very "jazz club" sort of way, and stand lights (it is really dark on the stage, so if you have to read a lot of notes, bring a flashlight!--or just improvise!)
--Jeff Kowalkowski


From George Flynn...I started the Sunday afternoon Green Mill concerts around 1988 as an invitation to composers, improvisors and performers to mount their efforts in a congenial and non-judgemental atmosphere. I stressed that the focus of the concerts would be “new music", although I never tried to define that phrase, and always felt that it should be interpreted in the broadest possible sense. My own concerts have always occured in January (around the time of my birthday), but I and the Green Mill people were happy to consider opportunities to have new music concerts more frequently, and at other times during the year. Frank Abbinanti was the first to join the series, and sponsored his concerts on the last Sunday in October. Later, Julia Miller joined with her spring series - the first Sunday in May. Jeff Kowalkowski eventually replaced Frank Abbinanti, and continues to sponsor the fall concerts. This series - New Music at the Green Mill - thus continues with the three concerts each year - fall (Kowalkowski), winter (Flynn) and spring (Miller). I note with pleasure that it has inspired several new music organizations in the Chicago area to use the Green Mill as a viable venue for their new music concerts! I’m delighted that the great variety of compositional and improvisational styles, orientations and predilections continues to be a significant feature of the Green Mill series, and appropriately reflects the gamut of musical activity in the Chicago area. I consider the series to be a significant aspect of the vibrant Chicago musical scene. --George Flynn