The tumblr of Jason Weinberger

Uh oh … looks like the Weinberger woodwind dynasty may be coming to an end!

[Photos from this weekend’s special outdoor edition of the wcfsymphony Instrument Petting Zoo]

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Anyone else on a Sylvan Esso bender?


Yet another installment in Why I Despise [Most] Classical Music Agents. Consider yourself fortunate I spared you the rest of the mindless form email.

For what it’s worth I would be fine with a blunder like this if it were simply an honest mistake, but it’s clearly the result of a formulaic, depersonalized approach to ‘representing’ artists that is regrettably all too common in the biz.

Also: This email was unsolicited, I never subscribed to the agent’s email list, and there was no unsubscribe link.

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Here is something you don’t come across every day: A concert tribute to Edgar Varèse hosted by Frank Zappa. A remarkably clean archival recording of the April 17, 1981 concert was recently unearthed over at WNYC:

Was this… could this be… the legendary 1981 tribute to Varèse at New York City’s Palladium? The concert famously hosted by Frank Zappa [a longtime Varèse fanatic] and performed by Joel Thome’s Orchestra of Our Time, bootlegs of which had been circulating for decades?

Indeed it was: a complete, pristine recording of a remarkable show that has not been forgotten by those who participated or attended – a ‘curious but appropriate meeting of music and milieu,’ as the New York Times put it [mildly]. When else has there been a concert of decidedly uncompromising music been performed in a 3000-seat rock venue for an enthusiastic, young audience?

The program consisted of Ionisation, Density 21.5, Intégrales, Offrandes, and Déserts.

For a bit of perspective, turn to Alan Rich’s review for New York Magazine of what he termed a ‘ludicrous, self-serving carnival’:


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Last weekend at wcfsymphony: American river music on the banks of the Cedar.
[Photo by Randy Darst, edit by me]

Last weekend at wcfsymphony: American river music on the banks of the Cedar.

[Photo by Randy Darst, edit by me]

After months of anticipation I’m stoked to be in rehearsals of The River, Duke Ellington’s 1970 ballet for Alvin Ailey. Elligton’s score is the main attraction at wcfsymphony’s season-opening concert overlooking the Cedar River, which itself is one half of our inaugural Sounds American Festival. [This is not the first time we’ve put the music of Ellington front and center in our programming; one of our most powerful productions involved his suite Three Black Kings.]

It boggles my mind that Ellington’s large ensemble works are not performed more regularly by professional and conservatory orchestras around the country. This our music; we should be giving it pride of place in our repertoire and ensuring that American-trained musicians are conversant in it and American audiences have opportunities to experience it.

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From a picture-perfect ride out to Sauvie Island last week.

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