Ears wide open here in the new Brooklyn

01139uBy David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic, POSTED: March 28, 2014

‘What have the outsiders brought with them?” asks a severe town elder in Lars von Trier’s 1996 film Breaking the Waves.

Reply: “Their music!”

In Philadelphia, you could have answered that question the same way for years, with new composers visiting, living, and working here. But never has it been more true than this spring, as radical events pop up like mutant daffodils, suggesting that we’re becoming the new Brooklyn.

Read more at: http://articles.philly.com/2014-03-28/news/48634223_1_opera-philadelphia-michael-hersch-de-materie
That paragon of Brooklyn composers Missy Mazzoli never thought she’d be back – she grew up in the area – but here she was last week, workshopping her new opera Breaking the Waves as one of Opera Philadelphia’s composers in residence.

Another prodigal daughter, downtown-Manhattan Bang on a Can composer Julia Wolfe, is revisiting her Montgomery County family roots with Anthracite Fields, a new work for the Mendelssohn Club April 26-27 about Pennsylvania coal mining culture.

Her equally notable husband Michael Gordon is represented by his new composition Rushes Friday in the Icebox at Crane Arts – a sweeping hour-long work with seven bassoons converging into entrancing sounds and propulsive gestures probably unlike anything heard here before.

Composers have long thrived here, but with Morton Feldman and John Cage festivals staged by Bower Bird in recent years, audiences are increasingly on totally new ground. The newest wrinkle: These locally created works exploring the edges of various musical universes are being exported.

On the Threshold of Winter, the first opera by Philadelphia über-expressionist composer Michael Hersch, will be premiered June 25 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Wolfe’s Anthracite migrates to the New York Philharmonic’s Biennial at Lincoln Center May 28-June 7. On the other coast, De Materie, the much-admired but seldom heard magnum opus by Dutch minimalist Louis Andriessen, will be sung by Philadelphia choir The Crossing at the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Minimalist Jukebox festival April 18.

Read more at: http://articles.philly.com/2014-03-28/news/48634223_1_opera-philadelphia-michael-hersch-de-materie
dstearns@phillynews.com.