Bryan Tolentino workshop and concert in Boston

On a chilly wet spring evening, I fought the drizzle and the descending darkness to get to a church near the bust stop. Jamaica Plain, or JP for short, was dead quiet, save those going into the famous ice cream shop.

I intercepted a young woman in a fluffy pink dress carrying what looked like a ukulele case. Concerned that I might have missed the event entirely, I asked if Bryan Tolentino was still inside. She nodded and pointed at the entrance to the First Baptist Church on Centre Street.

Continue reading “Bryan Tolentino workshop and concert in Boston”

Crowd funding Eureka! Orchestra

Crowd-funding is THE way to go for new orchestras and new concerts for four reasons. Donate to Eureka! Orchestra for their debut concert in Boston.

Could crowd-funding be THE way to ensure orchestra concerts happen?

Or more specifically, to get new orchestras started?

Continue reading “Crowd funding Eureka! Orchestra”

Benefit concerts to fundraise for Japan

The economics of benefit concerts is the subject of another blog. Three benefit concerts in Boston, Amsterdam, and London are taking place this week 30 March – 6 April, showcasing a wide range of talent and genre from classical to rock.

The earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan on 11th March 2011 has ignited various fundraising events for the Red Cross and other relief organisations. Among them are benefit concerts organised by musicians.

At time of writing, I have been notified of three forthcoming benefit concerts for Japan that are initiated and/or given by my musician friends. It’s a brave undertaking that requires extra effort beyond a normal concert.  As I am unable to attend any of these concerts due to my current location in Maui, I share these here and invite my readers to pass it on.

Wednesday 30 March 2011 @ 5:30  pm
Church of St. John the Evangelist
35 Bowdoin Street, Boston

Thursday 31st March 2011 @ 7 pm
JP Concerts
1 Roanoke Avenue, Jamaica Plain (a neighbourhood of Boston, Massachusetts, USA)
GANBARE JAPAN! FUNDRAISER FOR JAPAN

Linda Kernohan, composer, pianist, organist, and prolific blogger of Miss Music Nerd, will be giving two concerts in Boston. I met Linda at the  first concert of 5-week USA tour on 21st  October 2010. Her husband had worked in Okinawa, where I spent 11 years of my youth. Since meeting Linda, I have followed her on Twitter and her blog. The concert features herself on the organ together with a host of other musicians, including countertenor Yakov Zamir.

Miss Music Nerd, Linda Kernohan flute extract from her website
Miss Music Nerd, Linda Kernohan flute extract from her website

Friday 1st April 2011 @ 8:30 pm
Amstelveen (a neighbourhood of Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Doors open 8 pm for 8:30 pm start
Pop concert at Poppodium P60

Keiko Kotari, my classmate from Utrecht Conservatory, and her husband Marten Tilstra, both concert pianists initiated this charity pop concert. Keiko was in Kobe when the previous big earthquake hit Japan in 1995.

I had immediately assumed when Keiko mentioned her intention to organise a charity concert on the Facebook wall that it would be a classical concert and that she would play. What a surprise to learn last week that it was to be a jazz, latin, rock and pop concert.

The concert features highly acclaimed blind Dutch pianist Bert van den Brink whose performances have inspired many people. I don’t know the other musicians, but you can hear the sultry voice of Latin singer Denise Rivera here. The website of the 5-member experimental rock band NiCad takes awhile to load, but it’s worth visiting to see how they met and skyrocketed to fame. The concert ends with the 14-member party band “Night Flight to Rio.”

Tickets are € 15 and can be ordered through the website of P60. The complete revenue of this concert will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross, for immediate relief for the victims in Miyagi prefecture. More info at SOS Japan Website.

SOS Japan Benefit Concert, Amstelveen, Netherlands 1st April 2011
SOS Japan Benefit Concert, Amstelveen, Netherlands 1st April 2011

Wednesday 6th April 2011 @ 7:30 pm
Central London (near Warren Street tube station)
Bolivar Hall, 54 Grafton Way

Algerian singer and artist Houria Niati and her duo Habiboun will be performing in a mega concert featuring many artists of that genre: flamenco, arab-andalucian, and latin music. Tickets are 12 pounds each by reservation or at the door.

Aid for Japan concert in central London, Bolibar Hall 6th April 2011
Aid for Japan concert in central London, Bolivar Hall 6th April 2011

The economics of benefit concerts is the topic of another blog. Concert production is an activity that involves high transaction costs. Benefit concerts require that extra mile to attract people to come, get people to pay, and generate the income that more than breaks even.

One way is to ask musicians give their time and talent (for free or for a reduced fee) while the public (the listeners) pay more than what they would normally pay for such a concert, resulting in above average income for a good cause. For this to work optimally (i.e maximise the funds raised), the venues should have large capacity and need to be filled. Listeners are persuaded to give as much as possible to maximise revenue. Profit maximisation requires not just revenue maximisation but cost minimisation or elimination. In other words, hire the venue for free, get piano tuners to tune without charge, get additional sponsors to defray other production costs, and get all of this done as efficiently as possible.

Autumn in New England (part four)

Within our busy schedule of trying to navigate from A to B, there was not enough time to take photographs or video, let alone switch on my laptop, connect to the Internet, and write a blog.

What follows below are cryptic notes to trigger future blog topics of Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Boston, Massachusetts

I often look at a building or a scenery and think how nice it would be to have a photographer with us. As events unravel, I dare to dream about bringing a film maker along as well. I wish there’s more time to write or a budget to bring a writer with us on this tour. There is too much to write about and remember.

Within our busy schedule of trying to navigate from A to B, there was not enough time to take photographs or video, let alone switch on my laptop, connect to the Internet, and write a blog.

What follows below are cryptic notes to trigger future blog topics.

Wednesday 20th October 2010
Visit to New England Conservatory: Jason, a graduate composition student took us on a tour of the oldest music school in the USA, which houses 5 concert halls, career office including a “gig” database, alumni office, financial aid office, admissions office in 4 buildings in central Boston.

The oldest conservatory in the Netherlands is Utrecht Conservatory (my alma mater), but there is no career or alumni office. The closest thing to that is Facebook.

That evening, my friend, whom I had not seen for 22 years, took me to her yoga class and treated me to a Chinese foot massage to give me a good rest before our first concert on Thursday 21st October 2010.

Thursday 21 October 2010 Concert at St John’s Episcopal Church in Jamaica Plain, Boston
Excellent acoustics.Very receptive audience. Generous concert producer. Post-concert festivities.

Friday 22 October 2010 House Concert in Newton, Massachusetts
The artistic director and concert producer of JP Concerts drove us to our next location after midnight. It was the home of a Suzuki piano teacher who often accommodated international musicians on tour. She made blueberry muffins for us to consume the next morning for breakfast.

House concert in Newton, Massachusetts
House concert in Newton, Massachusetts

Robert woke up at 8 am to practise his guitar in the basement. There was a fire heating up the living room and surrounding area when I walked downstairs. We decided to play Dutch composer Heleen Verleur’s Fire to thank the Suzuki piano teacher for her hospitality.

Fire at the house concert in Newton, Massachusetts
Fire at the house concert in Newton, Massachusetts

Autumn in New England (part three)

When we decide to take a photograph, video, or describe an event (such as by telling, summarising it in text or blog) do we then remember it better than if we had not? How will we remember the two weeks in New England?

In Boston

Does one’s memory get distorted or anchored by the act or result of recording it? In other words, when we decide to take a photograph, video, or describe an event (such as by telling, summarising it in text or blog) do we then remember it better than if we had not?

What are memories made of? How will we remember the two weeks in New England?

Yesterday I browsed through a photo album of my friend Alice, whom I’ve known since I was seven. I saw events from our childhood of which I had no recollection. Perhaps she thought the same when she perused my facebook photo album.

It’s hard to forget our frantic race against time to pack and fit everything in two suitcases and get to the airport on time. All that seems an eternity ago, after traveling for nearly two weeks, from the first day of Utrecht to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to London Heathrow Airport to Boston Logan Airport to today’s excursion on Interstate freeways to Pelham, New York.

I blog to share and to remember. There are too many things to share and not to forget.

Tuesday 19th October 2010:
Breakfast in Braintree, MA
Ida’s healthy homemade banana bread — no butter or eggs — densely packed with seeds and grains. The warm autumn morning sun on the deck — a cure for transatlantic jetlag.

Visit to Jamaica Plain in Boston. The run-down house on the hill that reminded me of the movie “Psycho”

House in Jamaica Plain Boston
House in Jamaica Plain Boston

The church that was not where we’d be giving a concert stood in one corner. I was curious but didn’t go inside.

Small church in Jamaica Plain, Boston
Small church in Jamaica Plain, Boston

St John’s Episcopal Church where we’d give our first concert on this tour — JP Concert Series. We revisited the next day for a short rehearsal.

St John's Episcopal Church in Jamaica Plain, Boston
St John's Episcopal Church in Jamaica Plain, Boston

The last of everything for the first of everything

There is a last of everything in anticipation for the first of everything. Next week, we will give our first public concert on mainland USA.

Robert announced on his Facebook last Thursday: last guitar lesson in 2010.

I gave my last private piano lesson Monday, my last university class Tuesday.

Tomorrow (Friday 15th October) we give our last concert in the Netherlands in 2010.

I had my last rehearsal with French horn this afternoon — the last one in 2010 to prepare for the first concert in 2011.

“Can we meet for a drink before you go?”

“Do you have time for coffee?”

“Can we invite you for dinner?”

“Do we get to say good-bye?”

There is a last of everything in anticipation for the first of everything.

Next week, we will give our first public concert on mainland USA: Thursday 21st October in St John’s Episcopal Church in Jamaica Plain, Boston at 8:30 pm. It will be the second concert in a church in the USA (the first was in Makawao Union Church in Maui in 2007).

St John's Episcopal Church in Jamaica Plain, Boston
St John's Episcopal Church in Jamaica Plain, Boston

We will give our first house concert in New England – on Friday 22nd October in the home of a Suzuki piano teacher in Newton, Massachusetts.

We will meet the organisers of the first three concerts for the first time.