Concerts I'm sorry I missed

I was paging through the Times this morning (we’re getting it on paper for a few weeks while I’m on maternity leave) and a picture of Miranda Cuckson jumped out at me.  She’s the violinist from the Argento Chamber Ensemble that I first heard a few months ago.

The performance, of work by Sebastien Currier at the Miller Theater, incorporated digital sounds with enhanced classical instrumentation, as follows: “In 16 short movements spanning 40 minutes, Mr. Currier deployed digital samples of footsteps, opening and shutting doors, chatter, hiccups, laughter, dual orgasms and more. The sounds, played through loudspeakers around the theater, were woven among musical strands played on subtly amplified acoustic instruments.”  Perhaps not ironically, the reviewer’s favorite piece — a duet co-starring Ms. Cuckson and her harpist colleague Jacqueline Kerrod — was not digitally enhanced.  I’d be eager to hear Ms. Cuckson again, and if you are too, here is her MySpace page with upcoming performances.

Another performance that caught my eye in a Times review was a recent work at Issue Project Room, where Scott Draves and Zach Layton performed together last summer.  The performance, by Glissando bin Laden (OK, the name is really strange), also combined violins with digital sound: “In ‘Rumble Seven,’ the calmest piece, Mr. Ness sang meaningless syllables in a kind of north Indian raga chant, his long tones going against the violins’ slowly shifting harmony in pizzicato phrasing, while Mr. Pluta’s laptop imitated a chorus of small objects rattled in a bag — glass shards, pebbles, ball bearings.”

It’s nice to see that today’s most cutting edge music — which dares to combine classical instrumentation with digital sound and video — is being recognized by the Times.