When we think of classical music, names like Bach, Beethoven and Brahms come to mind. Good stuff, but old, by people who died centuries ago. And then there’s the SPCO’s Liquid Music series, with classical music so new it’s created before your eyes and ears. After a bumpy first season (a result of the SPCO’s contract dispute) and a strong second season (which included several sold-out shows), the SPCO has announced the third season of the daring, exciting, boundary-busting series curated by Kate Nordstrum. Seven concerts are scheduled for October through June in four venues: the SPCO Center, the Amsterdam, the Walker and the brand-new Ordway Concert Hall. Seven concerts for $95 – not each, but all, for subscribers. That averages out to under $14 a pop for live music you won’t hear anywhere else. On the one hand, there are no guarantees. On the other, where else can you spend so little for potentially so much? “I’m excited for audiences to see something totally new, to experience it together, to learn and be excited to learn,” Nordstrum says. “This is not a take-your-medicine series. This is us, discovering new work together.”
On Sunday, Oct. 5: Third Coast Percussion and Glenn Kotche: “Wild Sound.” Instruments will be made and destroyed on stage when Chicago’s Third Coast joins forces with Kotche, Wilco’s drummer. Percussion is basically anything you can shake or pound on, so this will start things off with a bang. Nov. 15: Dawn of Midi and Nils Frahm. The nonstandard jazz combo meets the Berlin-based composer-keyboardist for an evening of sonic experimentation. Feb. 23, 2015: Julia Holter and the Spektral Quartet: “Behind the Wallpaper.” A four-song meditation on isolation and familiarity, composed by Alex Temple and commissioned by Spektral, melds Holter’s haunting voice with string quartet. (One of Spektral’s latest projects, “Mobile Miniatures,” is a series of ringtones, alerts and alarms by 45 different composers.) March 21: Helado Negro: “Island Universe Story.” This is the season’s big event, presented in the new Ordway Concert Hall as part of the opening celebrations, featuring an all-star line-up. Helado Negro (Roberto Carlos Lange), who’s redefining Latin music, will appear with David Byrne’s percussionist Jason Tramell, Wilco’s keyboardist Mikael Jorgenson, the Atlanta-based vocalist Adron, Jan St. Werner of the German duo Mouse on Mars and Mischa Santora’s Minneapolis Music Company. “This is the biggest thing I’m doing – a huge undertaking,” Nordstrum says, sounding a little frazzled. April 3: The Music of Bryce Dessner. Composer and guitarist Dessner (The National) shares the stage with So Percussion, Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry, Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw, musicians of the SPCO and more TBA. May 9: Glasser/Noveller/Victoire. Woman meets machine in an evening featuring synthpop singer Glasser (Cameron Mesirow), composer/electric guitarist Noveller (Sarah Lipstate) and Victoire, the all-star, all-female classical chamber ensemble founded by Missy Mazzoli. June 11: Wye Oak and Bright Wave: “Spiritual America.” Electro-acoustic art songs by Brooklyn-based composer William Britelle, performed by the indie rock duo Wye Oak and Britelle’s own electro-acoustic chamber ensemble.
As before, Liquid Music concerts are all ages. And that’s what you’ll see: everyone from kids, teens, and 20-somethings to the older crowds you’d run into at the Bach-Beethoven-Brahms events. Is there a theme for this year? Nordstrum keeps it simple: “New and beautiful.” Subscriptions and tickets to individual events are on sale now.
The Children’s Theatre Company has found a good home for its historical archives, which include directors’ notes, production materials, costume design materials, and organizational records – everything you might want to look through and dig into if you’re a scholar, a student, a playwright or a fan. CTC has given them to the University of Minnesota Libraries, where they’ll be stored and tended at the Elmer L. Andersen Library as part of the Libraries’ Performing Arts Archives, which also includes the archives of the Minnesota Orchestral Association, the Guthrie, Minnesota Dance Theatre, the University Film Society, among many others. Penumbra’s archives are part of the Givens Collection, also housed at the Andersen Library.
Each year, we’re amazed by the number of free summer concerts (and movies) offered by our cities’ parks. Literally hundreds, all summer long. If your schedule allows and you’re up for it, you can go to a free concert every night from now through the end of August (and even into September, which offers a few stragglers). On most nights, you can choose from among several possibilities. And you can hear all kinds of music: big band, classical, Top 40, Dixieland, swing, jazz, gypsy jazz, fusion, show tunes, folk, pop, hip-hop, roots, vocal, marches, soul. Thank you, Saint Paul Parks and Recreation, and thank you, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Click on the links to view complete schedules … In Hopkins, Music in the Park kicks off its 30th year of free weekly concerts on Thursday, June 19, in Hopkins Downtown Park. In case of rain, events move indoors to the Hopkins Activity Center. Here’s the full schedule … Bloomington’s Arts in the Parks performance series starts Tuesday, June 10, at the Normandale Lake Bandshell with a concert by Minnesota Symphonic Winds. Weekly concerts continue Tuesdays through Aug. 5. Here’s the line-up.
For musicians: Since more of you are doing your own marketing, may we humbly suggest that you learn to create a press kit? In partnership with American Composers Forum, Minnesota Music Coalition will present a workshop on tbe topic starting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Landmark Center. You’ll learn to put a promo package together for media, concert promoters and grant funders. Plus professional publicists will give you feedback on any press kits (physical or digital) you already have. Free, but please RSVP so there are enough chairs and refreshments. Email email@example.com or call 1-651-347-1MMC (1662) … The Cedar has announced the fourth round of its 416 Club Commissions Program. Six local, emerging artists will be commissioned to compose and perform a work of new music. Participating artists are each paid $3,500 plus a $1,000 stipend for production expenses. Applications are due June 15. FMI.
Our picks for the week
Today (Tuesday, May 20) at Mindekirken, the Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church in Minneapolis: If you’re reading this in the morning, and if you’re free, drop everything and head for the white church on the corner of 10th Ave. S. and 21st St. Mindekirken’s Tuesday Open House features a Norwegian lunch starting at 11 a.m. (Norwegian waffles, coffee, and open-faced sandwiches), followed at 11:45 by devotions, hymn and announcements, and at noon by a special concert featuring Norwegian pianist Inger-Kristine Riber and Finnish accordionist Heidi Luosujärvi. Members of the Nord Trio, they came to Minnesota earlier this month to perform in Thief River Falls’ Norwegian Heritage Festival. They’ll play music by Grieg, Piazzolla, Stravinsky, Janacek, and a work by leading Norwegian composer Glenn Erik Haugland commissioned especially for them. A $7 donation covers the lunch and the cultural program.
Tonight at North High in Minneapolis: A benefit concert for El Sistema Minnesota. Born in 1975 in a parking garage in Caracas, Venezuela, El Sistema is a global movement that provides free music classes and instruments to children who might not otherwise have the chance to study music. The experience transforms their lives and their communities for the better. (Among El Sistema’s countless graduates is Gustavo Dudamel, music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.) For your $12 ticket, you’ll hear students of El Sistema Minnesota, followed by students of the Minnesota Youth Symphonies’ Symphony Orchestra and guest pianist Nachito Herrera, led by conductor (and Minnesota Orchestra first trumpet) Manny Laureano. 6:30 p.m. FMI and tickets.
Tonight at the Loft: An Evening of Modern Love with Daniel Jones. For the past 10 years, Jones has edited the weekly “Modern Love” column in the New York Times, which means he’s read tens of thousands of stories about love in its many forms. You’d think he’d be an expert; he denies it, telling the Strib’s Laurie Hertzel, “In my mind I have not been mastering love all these years so much as marinating in it. Asking me what I have learned about love is like asking a pickle what it has learned about vinegar.” He’ll read from his book “Love Illuminated: Exploring Life’s Most Mystifying Subject – With the Help of 50,000 Strangers,” which we can safely expect will be both witty and wise. 7 p.m. at Open Book. FMI and tickets ($10-$100). (Top price is for a pre-reading meet-and-greet.)
Tonight at Common Good Books: David Kinney discusses his new book “The Dylanologists: Adventures in the Land of Bob.” From the moment Bob Dylan arrived on the music scene, he attracted a fanatical following. Kinney, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, ventures deep into this eccentric subculture, introducing us to the diggers, stalkers, hoarders, decoders, sifters through garbage and other obsessives, placing them within the context of Dylan’s life and career. The Wall Street Journal calls Kinney’s book “entertaining and well-written.” 7 p.m. Free.
Thursday at the Children’s Theatre: “The Cat in the Hat.” CTC premiered the Royal National Theatre’s adaptation of the Dr. Seuss classic in September 2012, and it proved so popular they brought it back. This year’s run has already been extended through July 27. Dean Holt and Gerald Drake return as the Cat and the Fish, with Elise Langer and Douglas Neithercott as Sally and the Boy. Grades Pre-K+. 7 p.m. FMI and tickets ($16; other dates $24-$42).
Thursday at Bryant-Lake Bowl: The Theater of Public Policy: Designing the Perfect Fruit. We all remember our first-ever bite of a Honeycrisp apple. So must the comedy improv troupe T2P2, or they would never have come up with this wacky plan: talk to Dr. David Bedford and Dr. James Luby, two of the scientists behind the U of M’s apple breeding program (the folks who came up with the Honeycrisp and most of the other apples grown in Minnesota), then make jokes about what they say. Banana jokes we understand, but apple jokes? Doors at 6 p.m., show at 7. Tickets here or at the door ($10/$7).
Thursday at the Walker: Motionpoems 2014 Premiere. What happens when filmmakers turn poems into short films? Poetry you can see as well as read and hear. Motionpoems, which bills itself as “the world’s only poetry film company” (probably not an exaggeration), premieres its fifth season of more than a dozen original shorts. Poetry lovers and movie lovers will sit side-by-side in the dark, and who knows what that might lead to? MPR’s movie maven Stephanie Curtis emcees. 6:30 p.m. at the Walker Cinema. FMI. Pick up free tickets at the Bazinet Garden Lobby desk.