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Zankel Hall, NYC
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Music of Dennehey, King, Moore, Ayres
Collected Stories:
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April 1, 7pm doors
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Feb 20, 7pm
Charles Egelhart Court
The Metropolitan Museum
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Twinned

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The Missouri Theater
Columbia, MO
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Tasmania, Australia
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Nov 23, 2:30pm
Frankfurt Lab
Cresc Biennale Fest
Frankfurt, Germany
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Music of Adams, Friar, Zimmerman, Macdonald, Nancarrow

Nov 16, 7pm
Grace Rainey Auditorium
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Alarm Will Sound
The Music of Steve Reich
NY Premier: Radio Rewrite

Nov 9, 4:30pm
White Light Festival 2013
Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center
Lincoln Center, NYC
Moderated by John Shaefer
White Light Conversation:
It's a Matter of Time

Oct 11, 7pm
Grace Rainey Auditorium
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Oct 9, 8pm
The Sheldon
St. Louis, MO
Alarm Will Sound
Permanent Collection: Music of Wagner, Ades, Ligeti, Ives

Sept 20, 8pm
Malopolska Garden of Arts
Krakow, Poland
Sacrum Profanum Festival
Alarm Will Sound
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Sept 15, 8pm
Tinning Plant,
ArcelorMittal
Krakow, Poland
Sacrum Profanum Festival
Tyondai Braxton: HIVE

July 15-27, 2013
Columbia, MO
Alarm Will Sound
Mizzou New Music Festival

June 16: 7:30pm
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Guggenheim Museum
New York, NY
Alarm Will Sound
Reich: Radio Rewrite Preview

June 16, 1-10pm
Schimmel Center
3 Spruce Street
New York, NY
Alarm Will Sound
Bang on a Can Marathon

June 15, 2013
Le Poisson Rouge
158 Bleecker St
New York, NY
Alarm Will Sound
Music of Caleb Burhans

June 13, 2013
National Opera Center
330 7th Ave., NYC
Alarm Will Sound
Neil Rolnick: Gardening

May 31: 8 PM
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The Secret Theater
Long Island City, NY
GLANK Live

May 16, 2013
Carnegie Hall
New York, NY
Chamber Orchestra of New York

Apr 26, 2013
Touhill Performing Arts Center
St. Louis, MO
Alarm Will Sound: "1969"

Apr 6, 2013
Zankel Hall, NYC
Alarm Will Sound
Alarm Will Sound: Premiers by Orfe, Braxton, Wuorinen, Dennehy

Mar 27, 2013
The CenterStage
Reston, VA
ACME: Works by Muhly, Andres, Barr, Friedman, Cage, Andriessen

Mar 20, 2013
The Sheldon
St. Louis, MO
Alarm Will Sound
Alarm Will Sound: Music of Dennehy, Reich, Orfe, Aphex Twin

Mar 16, 2013
Bing Concert Hall
Stanford University
Alarm Will Sound
Alarm Will Sound: Music of Steve Reich

Mar 8, 2013
Schimmel Center for the Arts
3 Spruce St., NYC
Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra

Feb 19, 2013
Kodak Hall
Eastman School of Music
Rochester, NY
Alarm Will Sound: "1969"

Nov 9 - Dec 30, 2012
Radio City Music Hall
The Radio City Christmas Spectacular

October 25-27, 2012
BAM: Next Wave
Fishman Space
ACME, Theo Bleckmann
Phil Kline: Out Cold

October 18, 2012
The Sheldon, 8 PM
St. Louis, MO
Alarm Will Sound
Music of Adams, Aphex Twin, Freund, Haber, Wuorinen, Cage, Nancarrow

September 22, 2012
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Wordless Music Orchestra
Efterklang: Piramida

September 10, 2012
Krakow, Poland
Sacrum Profanum Festival
Alarm Will Sound
Music of Aleksander Nowak

July 17-28, 2012
Columbia, MO
Alarm Will Sound
Mizzou New Music Festival

July 15, 2012
Schimmel Center, NYC
River to River Festival
Alarm Will Sound
John Cage: Songbooks

June 25, 2012
Schimmel Center, NYC
River to River Festival
Oceanic Verses

June 23, 2012
Kennedy Center
Washington Chorus
Oceanic Verses

June 11-17, 2012
Bartlesville, OK
Oklahoma Mozart Festival

June 9, 2012
Holland Festival
Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam
Alarm Will Sound
John Cage: Songbooks

June 6, 2012
Cork Opera House
Cork, Ireland
Alarm Will Sound
John Cage: Songbooks

May 11-12, 2012
The Kitchen
New York, NY
ACME: Music of William Brittelle and Mick Barr

May 10, 2012
Merkin Hall, 7:00 PM
129 W. 67th St. NYC

Chamber Orchestra of New York

May 2, 2012
Galapagos Art Space, 8 PM
16 Main St., Brooklyn
BKLN PHIL: Outside-In

April 26, 2012
Town Hall
Seattle, WA
Great Hall, 7:30 PM
Alarm Will Sound

March 31, 2012
Fontana University
Kalamazoo, MI
Dalton Center, 8 PM
Alarm Will Sound

March 30, 2012
Oakland University
Rochester, MI
Varner Hall, 8 PM
Alarm Will Sound

March 28, 2012
BGSU
Bowling Green, OH
Kobacker Hall, 8 PM
Alarm Will Sound

March 18, 2012
Henry Street Settlement
Brooklyn, NY
Carnegie Hall Presents
Neighborhood Series
Alarm Will Sound: Music of Cage, Wilmoth, Nancarrow, Varese, Sharp

March 8, 2012
UConn, Storrs Campus
Von Der Mehden Hall
Line C3

March 7, 2012
Pregones Theater, Bronx
Carnegie Hall Presents
Neighborhood Series
Line C3: World Premiers of Friar, Kapica, Thompson

Feb 18, 2012
Zankel Hall
JACK Quartet & Young People's Chorus of NYC
Carnegie Hall Presents:
Transient Glory

Feb 17, 2012
92nd Street Y
JACK Quartet & Young People's Chorus of NYC
Carnegie Hall Presents:
Transient Glory

Feb 16, 2012
(le) Poisson Rouge
JACK Quartet & Young People's Chorus of NYC
Transient Glory

Jan 31, 2012
The Colbert Report
Comedy Central
Björk: Cosmogony

Jan 26, 2012
Radio City Music Hall
MoMA presents:
Antony & The Johnsons: Swanlights

Nov 11 - Jan 4
Radio City Music Hall
The Radio City Christmas Spectacular!

October 21, 2011
Roulette, Brooklyn
SONiC Festival
Alarm Will Sound
Music of Gryka, Freund, Little, Muhly, Marks, Aphex Twin

October 7, 2011
University of South Carolina
Southern Exposure Series
ACME: Music of Druckman, Burhans, J.L. Adams

September 25, 2011
Alice Tully Hall
World Civic Orchestra

September 14, 2011
Balzano, Italy
TransArt Festival
Alarm Will Sound
Music of Adams, Lang, Aphex Twin

September 13, 2011
Krakow, Poland
Sacrum Profanum Festival
Alarm Will Sound
Music of David Lang

September 12, 2011
Krakow, Poland
Sacrum Profanum Festival
Alarm Will Sound
Music of John Adams and Alexsandra Gryka

September 6, 2011
St. Peter's Church, NYC
Haruka Fujii, Gudula Rosa, w/guests Eric Huebner and Chris Thompson
Koku: Music for Percussion and Recorder

August 25 & 28, 2011
JCC Manhattan, W. 76th St.
Opera Project NY Presents
Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin

July 22: 8 PM
July 23: 3 PM & 8PM
July 24: 3 PM
La Mama, NYC
GLANK Live

July 11-16, 2011
University of Missouri
Mizzou New Music Festival

June 10-19, 2011
Bartlesville, Oklahoma
OK Mozart Festival

May 14, 2011
St. George's Church, NYC
Dessoff Choirs

May 10, 2011
(le) Poisson Rouge, NYC
ACME at MATA Festival

April 23, 2011
Newman Center, Denver CO
Alarm Will Sound: "1969"

April 11, 2011
Le Poisson Rouge, NYC
Alarm Will Sound
Meet the Composer
World Premier by Ken Ueno

April 7, 8, 9, 2011
The Kitchen, NYC
21c Liederabend Festival

April 2, 2011
Laguardia Performing Arts Center
Carnegie Hall Presents Neighborhood Concert: Line C3 Percussion Group
Part of JapanNYC Festival

March 21, 2011
Philharmonie Hall, Berlin
MaerzMusic Festival
Alarm Will Sound

March 10, 2011
Zankel Hall, NYC
Alarm Will Sound: "1969"

March 4, 2011
Zankel Hall, NYC
Line C3 with American Composers Orchestra
World Premier: Sean Friar's "Clunker Concerto" 

March 3, 2011, 7:30 PM
Merkin Hall, NYC
Ecstatic Music Festival: Judd Greenstein (The Yehudim) and Olga Bell 

February 10-12, 2011
St. Ann's Warehouse
Brooklyn, NY

"Tell the Way"
Brooklyn Youth Chorus
Music of Nico Muhly

January 30, 2011 2 PM
Merkin Hall, NYC
Ecstatic Music Festival: Alarm Will Sound and Face the Music
Steve Reich, "Tehillim"

January 22, 2011 7:30 PM
Merkin Hall, NYC
Ecstatic Music Festival: Jefferson Friedman, Craig Wedren, ACME
Steve Reich, "Tehillim"

December 4, 8 PM
St. Ignatious of Antioch
December 5, 3:30 PM
St. Joseph's Church in the Village
Russian Chamber Chorus

November 15, 7:30 PM
St. Paul the Apostle, NYC
Lincoln Center White Light Festival: Credo
The Hilliard Ensemble
Latvian National Choir
Members of Sigur Ros
Wordless Music Orchestra

November 5, 2010
Miller Theater, NYC
ACME at New York Choreographic Institute
World premiers by Fuerst, Ciupinski, and Blaha. 

October 30, 2010
Mondavi Center, UC Davis
Alarm Will Sound at "Madness and Music Festival"
Music of Aphex Twin, Kurtag, Sciarrino, Hyla, Birtwistle, Orfe

October 11, 2010
Forbes Center, JMU
October 9, 2010
Carlisle Theater, PA
Alarm Will Sound: "1969" 

September 25, 2010
Carlsbad, California
ACME at Carlsbad Music Festival

September 4, 2010
Bremen, Germany
Alarm Will Sound at Bremen Musikfest

July 18 - August 8, 2010
Burlington, VT
Vermont Mozart Festival

July 12 - 19, 2010
University of Missouri
Mizzou New Music Festival

June 25, 8 PM
Barbican, London
Dirty Projectors "Getty Address" with Alarm Will Sound

June 24, 7:30 PM
Wilton's Music Hall, London
Alarm Will Sound at the Barbican Festival

May 27, 8 PM
Galapagos Art Space
21c Aria Salon Series 

May 21, 8 PM
Galapagos Art Space

Archipelago: ACME and ICE with Craig Wedren, Corey Dargel, Kathleen Supové

May 17, 7:30 PM
Trinity Wall Street

Caleb Burhans’ “Super Flumina Babylonis” with Trinity Choir

March 18th and 19th, 8 PM
The Kitchen, 512 W. 19th St.

Doveman and Peter Pears: Music of Nico Muhly and Thomas Bartlett

March 14th, 6:30 PM
Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St. NYC

ACME: Music of John Luther Adams and Kevin Volans

« Piramida | Main | nation, here is björk »
Wednesday
Apr112012

the best kept secret of a place you probably avoid

On a large pedestrian island at the dead center of Times Square is one of the coolest works of art on the face of the earth – a masterpiece of acoustic installation that runs non-stop, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is encountered by an average of 1,000 people per hour.

I recently checked it out four times over the course of about a week – not that I originally planned to go more than once, but I was so hyped after my first visit that I just kept coming back every time I was in the area, and each time staying much longer than I had planned. 

A couple stats of my own calculation: how many billboards can I see from this spot in a single glance? …85. How many corporate chain stores are adjacent to this small pedestrian island? …10. How many people stop to take videos or pictures or just to gawk, from directly on top of the work, in a given 15 minute period? …30-50.

How many people, in all four visits combined (about 2 hours total), realized that this piece exists?

…0

Max NeuhausMax Neuhaus' Times Square is to me, among many other things, a ballsy statement about information overload. Installed under a subway grate on the pedestrian island south of 46th street between 7th Ave. and Broadway in Manhattan, it ran 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from 1977-1992, and was reinstalled in May 2002. When I first visited, I purposefully avoided learning anything more about the work than simply how to find it, and ideally my suggestion to anyone who hasn't been there is to stop reading this now and go check it out for yourself first, as you will surely have your own impressions. 

What comes from underneath that grate could be described as a simple metallic drone, basically unchanging but extremely dynamic, especially if you move around the site. Max described it as "the after-ring of a large bell." Although the sound is clearly not normal street noise, it is also not unusual enough to cause the average passer-by to do a double-take. It's loud enough to be heard clearly (at times almost overwhelmingly so) if you know to listen for it, but if you don't, it's likely not loud enough to pull your focus from whatever might already have hold.

That last fact was what immediately blew my mind and also what makes for possibly the best people watching in all of New York – there doesn't seem to be a single person who happens upon this spot who's focus isn't already completely occupied, and it's endlessly fascinating to watch them notice everything but the work of art they are standing directly on top of. Tourists and locals alike are on phones, staring up at the billboards, taking pictures, hurrying past, selling tickets, distributing flyers. Times Square is a work of art that is content not to compete with the hundreds of things that are already grabbing at people's attention from every direction.

I'm sure I've also walked over the spot unknowingly dozens of times, but once I became aware of it's existence, I found the effect to be marvelous. The warm, richly harmonic texture (reminiscent of early electronic music) envelops me like a cocoon. It gives the whole surrounding panoramic monument of corporate advertising banality a strange, other-worldly glow. It has a calming effect that turns the volume of everything else around it down (no small feat) and switches my mind's technicolor photographs of the scene into monochromatic negatives.

It occurred to me how a great work of art can, instead of becoming obsolete or dated, seem to actually change meaning over time. Times Square in the 70s and 80s must have given the piece a much more sinister feel, a foreboding sense that one is observing creeping danger from within a protected shadow. Today, installed in a new context of whitewashed corporatism, it's just as powerful in its capacity to shine a black light on a person in a not-completely-accurate SpongeBob SquarePants costume or a perfectly photoshopped naked torso on a 50x-larger-than-life-sized billboard. 

Although the work is supported and maintained by the DIA Museum, it is completely unmarked at the site. Maybe part of the original motivation for leaving it unmarked comes from an anti-establishment mindset, but I think the anonymity of the piece also makes a wonderful and generous statement about the ownership of a work of art. Without any acknowledgement of himself at the site, Neuhaus is essentially giving artistic credit to anyone who may happen to discover it accidentally. Not only does that person "own" it in the sense of the work being public and free to visit at any time of day or night, but that person might even feel that she discovered something no one else knows about. In an era where being the first to "share" something on Facebook or Reddit or Tumblr imparts a superficial, shallow authorship of the item (usually without the permission of its actual creator), Neuhaus' gift to anyone lucky enough to discover his work without foreknowledge of its existence (by leaving his own artistic credit off the site) is wonderfully generous and way ahead of his time. 

Here's a cool video about the reinstallation in 2002 at Max's site (although I highly recommend seeing the work in person first if at all possible!): http://www.max-neuhaus.info/audio-video/

Check it out, and don't be afraid to listen close!

(photo from www.gromfin.net)

 

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Reader Comments (1)

Hi Chris - I really enjoyed this post. I work not far from Times Square so I went up there yesterday to check it out. Very cool. The sound is interesting, and being "alone" with the art while surrounded by oblivious pedestrians is pretty funny.

Weirdly, Richard Linklater was standing a few feet away with a cameraman. Confident he must be be filming something about the installation, I asked him how he liked it. Not at all apparently: "I wish they'd turn the damn thing off."

Ah well. Thanks again.

13Apr2012 | Unregistered CommenterJake Wunsch

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