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Getting to know yMusic

By Shannon Fox 

This weekend we continue our adventures with film as we move from the airport back to our home screen and welcome filmmaker Sam Green and his work, The Measure of All Things. Through exploration of the legends that have captured our collective imagination, Green weaves together portraits of the people, places, and things featured in The Guinness Book of World Records. He is on hand to narrate the film while groundbreaking ensemble yMusic provides live music score. If you are unfamiliar with yMusic or its virtuosic musicians, fear not! We have combed through their impressive résumés to come up with some key factoids that will get you ready to dive into the world of this  indie-pop-classical chamber sextet.

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First off: yMusic as a whole

  • The group was created in 2008 to bring a classical chamber music aesthetic to venues outside the traditional concert hall.

  • Not just a garage band with strings: they were all conservatory trained at the prestigious Juilliard School.

  • Even if you have never heard of yMusic, it is still likely you have heard at least one of its members perform. A shortlist of artists that individual members have worked or recorded with include Paul McCartney, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, Paul Simon, Rufus Wainwright, The National, St. Vincent, Interpol, Björk, Arcade Fire, and Grizzly Bear. This doesn’t even include their works with MASS MoCA favorites Vampire Weekend, the Philip Glass Ensemble, David Byrne, and Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond (who will be returning to MASS MoCA for our Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival).

Next: its illustrious members!

Rob Moose

Rob Moose (violin, guitar, and viola)

  • Co-founder of yMusic

  • FreshGrass fan? Rob has performed with Emmylou Harris (who will be hitting the MASS MoCA stage this September)

  • A familiar Berkshire face:  Rob has graced the Berkshire Hills with his work with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at the Shed at Tanglewood and last summer he performed at MASS MoCA with Gabriel Kahane.

  • Shara Worden changed his life: Rob was studying at Columbia University for his master’s degree in American studies when Shara told him that British singing sensation Antony (of Antony and the Johnsons) was looking for a guitarist. Rob took the gig, went on tour, dropped out of grad school, and began a career in music. “That whole experience,” he said in an interview with Strings Magazine, “changed my life in so many ways, and it’s brought me so many opportunities.”

CJ Camerieri

CJ Camerieri (trumpet, french horn, and keyboard)

  • Co-founder of yMusic

  • The family business: CJ’s father is a middle school band director, but that doesn’t mean dad cut him any slack. He would not give CJ any lessons until he could could read all of the notes on the treble and bass clef staves.

  • The National connection in a national election: In 2008, CJ’s trumpet solo in The National’s song “Fake Empire” was blasted to the universe on election night, as it was a part of Barack Obama’s election campaign.

  • Proudest accomplishment? CJ earned himself two Grammy Awards for his work on Bon Iver’s 2011 album Bon Iver, Bon Iver. He gave one of the awards to his parents.

Clarice_Jensen

Clarice Jensen (cello)

  • More than a musician: Clarice has held many jobs, including time spent as production coordinator and assistant to Björk.

  • World premiere woman: Clarice has performed the world premieres of Dimitri Yanov-Yanovsky’s Hearing Solution and Donald Martino’s Rhapsody.

  • TV famous: Clarice has performed on MTV Unplugged, The Oxygen Network, The Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and Saturday Night Live.

Alex_Sopp

Alex Sopp (flute)

  • 30 Rock-n-Roller: Alex has worked as a musical coach on the set of NBC’s 30 Rock.

  • Bang on a Can love: Alex has performed as part of the renowned Bang on a Can Marathon (and if you want your own Bang on a Can Marathon, experience swing by MASS MoCA on August 2, for a six-hour boundary-busting festival finale).

  • Fortune’s favorite: Alex’s life was turned upside down when $40,000 worth of her instruments were stolen in New York City. They could have easily disappeared forever into the city of over 8 million people, but New York City Police reunited Alex with her beloved instruments just hours after they were filched. Needless to say: she was ecstatic.

Hideaki_Aomori

Hideaki Aomori  (saxophone, clarinet, flute)

  • Young success: At the age of 18, Hideaki released his recording debut, Young Man With a Horn. For this album he worked with jazz legend Sir Roland Hanna.

  • Broadway magical: Hideaki has spent time in the orchestra pit for the original New York run of Tony Award-winning Matilda: The Musical.

  • Degree fiend: Hideaki has bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in clarinet performance and his master’s degree in jazz saxophone.

Nadia_Sirota

Nadia Sirota (viola)

  • Hey! DJ: Nadia hosts a radio show on WQXR’s New Music radio stream, Q2Music, for which she was awarded the American Society of Composers’ Deems Taylor Award in Radio and Internet Broadcasting in 2010.

  • New York Times certified:  Nadia’s debut album First Things First (2009) was named a record of the year by the newspaper.

  • Master’s master: In 2007, Nadia became a member of the faculty at the Manhattan School of Music for its Masters Program in Contemporary Music Performance.

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The more you know! We’ll see you outside under the stars on Saturday, July 12, at 8:30pm, for a screening of The Measure of All Things, with live narration by Sam Green and live music provided by the talented and illustrious indie-classical ensemble yMusic. Tickets can be found here.

Posted July 9, 2014 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Film+Live Music, Music
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My Favorite MASS MoCA Moments

Katherine Myers reflects on her 14-year relationship with MASS MoCA as the Director of Marketing and Public Relations.

Besides my 16-year marriage, 14 years is the longest I’ve stayed anywhere. These have been particularly milestone-filled years:  I’ve lost two parents and a lot of eyesight, gained a daughter and a legion of remarkable friends and colleagues, and witnessed more great art than anyone living in a town of less than 15K could possibly dream of.

Given that long history, it’s a challenge to provide a “Top 10” List, but a recent plane trip offered me time for contemplation. Here’s what I came up with, presented in no particular order.

1. Michael Oatman has popped up regularly over the last decade and a half.  I first met him when he was in Unnatural Science (2000) where his incredibly detailed installation schooled me in Vermont’s scandalous history of eugenics. When I was introduced to his collages in Becoming Animal (2005), I was even more taken with him. His suspended Airstream trailer is an absolute marvel and he is a delightful person. Every institution should be so lucky to have an artist like Michael in their “stable.”

2.  I love that MASS MoCA does some events that are pure camp, simultaneously high quality and totally over the top.  On this list: Tragedy (2011), our heavy metal BeeGees cover band who repeatedly told us “We love you North Adams City!” and Corn Mo and the Wau Wau Sisters (2005) which involved a trapeze, a sparkly jumpsuit, Meatloaf covers and Catholic school uniforms.  What a night.

3. Hotel Pool (2005) was produced by MASS MoCA but took place in the pool at the Williams Inn. It was a play and a water ballet with some shocking moments. Incredibly well-crafted and enjoyable.

4. It’s probably no surprise that the shows I like best are the ones with the coolest stuff to see. Crowd pleasers are easiest to sell and, when attendance rises, everyone is happier. On my favorite shows list: Oh, Canada (2012), Unnatural Science (2000), Huang Yong Ping’s retrospective (2006), Uncommon Denominator (2002), Becoming Animal (2005), and Cai Guo Qiang’s exploding cars in Inopportune (2004).

5. Dean & Britta’s 13 Most Beautiful… Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screentests (2009): The films are completely mesmerizing on their own and Dean & Britta’s score and live performance only served to enhance them.

6. Ann Hamilton’s corpus (2003) taught me the magical power of an art installation.  My father-in-law passed away while Ann’s falling paper was on view.  His death was not unexpected and he had lived a good, long life. When my husband called me that morning with the news, there was no reason to head home but a pause for reflection did seem appropriate. It was before the museum opened; I just started to wander in the galleries and, without thinking, found myself in corpus which was truly the ideal place to reflect on a loss and a life well-lived.

7. Anouk Van Dijk’s Stau (2006) started with dancers emerging from underneath your seat. Then, somehow in the middle, you were standing and all the seats were gone and you were milling about in a pitch black theater when suddenly spots came up illuminating dancers, sometimes right in front of your nose.  The piece ended with dancers and audience writhing against the wall to a deafening percussive soundtrack. Sound crazy? It was, but it was also probably the most viscerally affecting performance I’ve ever experienced.

8. Of All the People in All the World (2007), which involved millions of grains of rice representing various population statistics arrayed in the Hunter Center, brought a 100% lovely group of British actors from Stan’s Café to North Adams for a couple of weeks.  We get to know many wonderful artists but these Brits count among the most delightful. Coupled with the beautiful, clever, moving installation, it was an exceptional experience.

9. Material World (2011) made great use of MASS MoCA’s strengths; the exhibit utilized our remarkable space to great effect from the Wade Kavanaugh and Steven Nguyen’s paper forest to Tobias Putrih’s illuminated fishing line, inspired by our local Hoosac Tunnel.  It was accessible, jaw-dropping, fun, and interesting for all ages.

10. Canadian singer Patrick Watson’s performance this past summer (2012) was nothing short of magical.  At first, we were disappointed that the show was inside on a beautiful summer night. Yet, when we saw what he did with the lights, we were so glad that he had insisted on the darkness that only Club B-10 could provide at 8 PM on an evening in late June.

And one more for good measure…

11. Solid Sound Festival is really non-stop work for our staff. At the first Solid Sound (2010), the only music I actually listened to was the first three songs of the Mavis Staples set which included “The Weight.” Bone-tired late in the day on Saturday, I enjoyed Mavis’s performance from a special rooftop vantage point and received a much-needed spiritual boost (and sitting down for 15 minutes didn’t hurt either).

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What did you like the best over the past 14 years?

Posted December 7, 2012 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Dance, Exhibitions, Film+Live Music, Material World, Music, Oh Canada, Staff, Theater, Tragedy: The All Metal Tribute to the Bee Gees, Wilco Solid Sound Festival
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Marc Ribot & Silent Film

 

Nominated for the Jazz Journalist Association’s Guitarist of this year, Marc Ribot, American guitarist and composer, has developed a career which defines the concept of independent musicians. Born in Newark, New Jersey, Marc Ribot moved just across the Hudson River that little town New York City in 1978 during his mid 20s. After playing in a few bands, such as John Lurie’s jazz assembly The Lounge Lizards during the 80s, Ribot began working alongside of some impressive folks, such as Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, and a familiar face to MASS MoCA, Nels Cline (Member of the band Wilco, the curators of our Solid Sound Music Festival) Working with international artists, Ribot has toured globally, put out 19 albums, and explored multiple areas of music, from avant-guard Jazz to Cuban sounds.


With having said all of that, proving his accomplishments on paper (or rather on a web log) actually doesn’t matter. The music speaks for itself. Ribot’s 2010 “Silent films” album is unique, ambient at times, powerful at others, and holds a sense of charm. Paired with the Charlie Chaplin classic, The Kid, Ribot’s media collaboration allows for a special connection of music and film, and certainly a very big nod to the historic progression of both genres.

On Saturday, July 9th, at 9:00 MASS MoCA will be showing The Kid, with Marc Ribot performing his film score live in our outdoor Courtyard C, and we can’t think of a better way to spend a warm summer evening.

Photo credit: Ziga Koritnik

Posted July 7, 2011 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Film, Film+Live Music, Music
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The perils of automatic spell check

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Ralph (aka Rafael) Farris from ETHEL offers a final update before their performance with La Nave de los Monstrous TONIGHT!  Tickets not available online but you can get them at the door so come on down!

Hola Amigos!

First of all, SORRY! Massive typo in my last posting. At the end, I had MEANT to write “Abrazos, Rafael”. But it looks like my spell-checker didn’t like the word “Abrazos”, and took it upon itself to write “Abrams, Rafael” instead.

…Abrams, Rafael? Wow. I’m a but wacky I know, but I ain’t THAT wacky. Anywho, moving on…

So we just had our run-thru. And it went swimmingly. Only a few page-turn problems and 3 or 4 note switcheroos, nothing really big to fix. Yay.

Again, very strange to feel so… calm.

Mary was playing drum rolls on her chin rest, Neil auditioned (and rejected!) a kazoo, Dorothy perfected her penny whistle performance, and my recorder playing has almost returned to a second grade level. Woo-hoo!

This movie is great. The music is a blast to play, Dorothy’s dance captain-ing is absolutely priceless, and the whole show is just darn good fun. We do hope y’all can come by. It’s gonna be a craaaaazy fiesta!

Abrazos(!),

Rafael

Posted October 30, 2009 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Film, Film+Live Music, Music
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Great interview about La Nave

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Our good friends Larry Murray and Caleb Hiliadis at Berkshire Fine Arts and Gay in the Berkshires did an interview with ETHEL’s Ralph Farris.  We recommend the piece as a fun read AND a great primer on how to collaborate on a film score.

Posted October 27, 2009 by MASS MoCA
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ETHEL and La Nave are on their way

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In a Mexican mood thanks to their upcoming performance, ETHEL’s viola superstar Rafael (aka  Ralph Farris) reports on the quartet’s prep for their visit to North Adams.  ETHEL will accompany La Nave de Los Monstrous (Ship of Monsters) on Friday, October 30.

¡Hola Amigos!

Dorothy, Neil and I just finished a marathon work session and I’m thrilled to report that we FINISHED editing and formatting our revised parts for Friday’s show! Woo-hoo!

Now Dorothy’s off to the printer and Neil’s cataloging our ever-growing collection of percussion instruments.

This is a highly unusual turn of events. We’re normally editing parts right up until show time, so I’m going to have to find some other drama to consume me for the next few days. Any suggestions?

We’re all coming together for the final touch-up on Thursday. That’s when Mary breaks out the drum sticks, and Neil and I get to practice our recorder intonation. Folks, it just doesn’t get any better.

OK — I’m going to take a nap now. Catch y’all on Friday!

Abrams,

Rafael

Posted October 27, 2009 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Film, Film+Live Music, Music
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