Late this morning, I spotted pianist-composer Gregg Kallor’s performance tonight in Weill Recital Hall (at Carnegie Hall). Here’s the blurb from Time Out New York:
The composer-pianist’s recital starts off with Chick Corea’s Children’s Song sandwiched between works by Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky, demonstrating Kallor’s fluid ability to move between the jazz and classical realms. Also on the program are works by Bartók, Louise Talma, Thelonius Monk, Brad Mehldau and Annie Clark, plus a world premiere of Kallor’s own A Single Noon.
This sounds (or should I say “looks”?) fascinating. So I’m going. I love composing performers and performing composers and think we need more of that. Performing musicians who create music. And juxtaposing different musical genres is fascinating as well–doesn’t always “work,” so we’ll see. I’m wondering how this sort of program will feel in a formal space like Weill.
Getting (Yourself) to Carnegie Hall
There’s old joke. “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” a tourist asks a man with a violin on a New York street. “Practice!” he replies.
The idea is you get good, and Carnegie Hall books you. That’s rare, unless you have a big name, either as an established artist or as a fast-rising young/unconventional performer or group. It takes quite a bit for Carnegie Hall itself to hire you to play.
The alternative is you get good and someone else rents the hall and presents you. Tonight’s concert is an example. It’s underwritten/presented by the Abby Whiteside Foundation as part of a series of four concerts this spring. Each recital has, or had, a very interesting mix of music, including a lot of new music. I’ve enjoyed exploring the foundation’s website–obviously Ms. Whiteside was a inspiring teacher.
Getting an Audience to Carnegie Hall?
Well, there’s the publicity and marketing. What do the presenter and the hall do to let people know about the concert? When it’s a rental, like tonight, it’s all up to the presenter. The hall will post information on it’s website and sell the tickets, but the real responsibility is for the people presenting the concert. The web is so important–as I said, I found tonight’s concert from the Time Out New York site. What else was done, I don’t know. Some organizations hire a publicist for their events. I get a zillion emails from publicists about events here, but I’m evidently off the radar for the publicist for these concerts (if there is one).
Some other thoughts:
I don’t quite understand why the Whiteside Foundation website pages for these concerts, each of which are in Weill Recital Hall, feature the same photograph of the Perelman Stage of Stern Auditorium, cluttered with chairs for an orchestra concert. Why not use a photo of the actual venue?
Carnegie Hall has recently revamped it’s website, and it looks a lot better than it used to. Still pretty boring, but no longer mystifyingly ugly, so it’s a big step forward. Ironically, while it has nifty panoramic photos of the interior of the halls, there are no easy-to-find, easy-to-download photos (hence the lack of photos here).
A good, well, let’s say terrific, website for a major performing arts center is a massive, expensive operation. To be genuinely engaging, especially for people under 40, it needs extensive multimedia integration with audio and video. Maybe more of that will emerge as time goes by.
But why wait? If [le] poisson rouge, which has at least as many events as Carnegie, can have such an effective multimedia website, why can’t Carnegie, now? Surely Carnegie Hall could could get plenty of interns to do the work. So maybe there’s something going on over there to prevent much video. Even the New York Philharmonic, which is often criticized for a supposedly-boring web presence, has extensive video integration.
Meanwhile, the listing in the Time Out New York music pages, run by the amazing Steve Smith (who has superhuman energy and dedication to the musical life of New York) made me much more interested in tonight’s concert than this description on the Carnegie Hall site:
- Works by Bartók, Chick Corea, Fred Hersch, Gregg Kallor (World Premiere), Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, and Stravinsky