I'd like to point out some people in Madison, WI, that are popping out of the woodwork on this issue. There is now a Madison branch of Classical Revolution, which hopes to bring classical music to interesting venues, and for the last year or so, a collective called Surrounded by Reality has been programming events that bring interesting music to, well, any venue that'll have it. Another group, which bills itself as a contemporary music ensemble, called New Muse, has formed with the mission to perform new music in site-specific performances. It will be very cool to see where this group goes, methinks. Their first undertaking was a flash-mob performance of Barber's Adagio for Strings as a 9/11 memorial at the Madison farmer's market. Now, I wouldn't consider Barber to be contemporary music (um, dead) but I have a stricter definition of this than some. The piece was pretty perfect for the mood, also--I wish I could have made it to the event itself.
This past week, I've had the opportunity to perform in a variety of interesting venues myself, with my group the Weather Duo. The nature of this group, wherein we play improvised music with electronics, and a new/contemporary classical vibe, has led us to perform with all sorts of different folks. There's not really a scene for what we do in Madison, so this has allowed us to sort of be musical spies, traveling in and out of different genre cliques. We've performed under the guise of a 'free jazz' group, we've been the house band for spoken-word open mics, we've played living room concerts with folk groups, we've done rock club shows with indie bands, and we've performed with string quartets and the like. I've coined the term 'post-contemporary chamber music' for what we do. This was originally meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but the more we perform, it seems increasingly apt.
On Thursday, we performed at a bar called the Argus with pop-rock sensation Tom Teslik, who followed us with very pleasant minimalist/rock guitar loops and drums under the name Nasty Thom and the Dirty Husbands, and our pals Pushmi-Pullyu, who play adorable electro-pop on computers and synths. Tom chronicled this night in his blog, which you should read, if only because he's a super nice guy.