26 September, 2007

Happy Birthday to MATA

I attended the MATA benefit concert last night, celebrating both MATA's 10th anniversary and the 70th birthday of festival co-founder Philip Glass. The event was truly impressive. The performances were excellent and remarkably diverse. Hearing Annie Gosfield's The Manufacture of Tangled Ivory, part II, next to Theo Bleckmann's entrancing anteroom, and Derek Bermel's Thracian Sketches next to Carla Kilstedt's Hold My Own truly illustrated MATA's mission. The mission, so eloquently stated by new executive director Missy Mazzoli at the evening's outset: to allow composers to be themselves, as this is when they are at their best.

Although the whole evening was great, if a bit warm, the high-point for me was the surprise, all-star performance of Knee Play 5 from Einstein on the Beach. This piece, one of my all time favorites, is also probably among the most influential on me as a composer. It has the simplicity and sophistication that I strive for in my own music, and embodied the spirit of an evening marked by honesty, sincerity and love of art.

Congratulations to Missy and everyone at MATA for a really spectacular event. And to MATA: best wishes for another 10 and more!

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