One year ago, we said 2012 was an unexpected madcap year online. Now the bulk of our naïveté is exhausted. We can’t say our 2013 online “just happened.” Indeed, it was quite intentional. But what is it we are intending to do?
Larry and Arlene with Dan Dehaan (photo: courtesy of Susan Griggs)
Hmm, good question! We’ve talked a lot this year about what we do, why we do it, and what is the aesthetic point of view we bring to this activity. One thing we can say for sure is we are not critics in any classical sense of the term. We are neither academically qualified nor suitably inclined. That’s not to say that criticism is not valuable and necessary. We think it is vitally important for artists to get the kind of feedback that savvy, knowledgable critics can provide. But that’s not us.
What are we doing? Here’s the deal: we love contemporary music. We crave the excitement of always being on the edge of our seats, never sure what we are going to hear next. So, we are enthusiasts. We seek to share that enthusiasm and the experience we have listening to new music.
Our approach to writing about music is pretty simple:
- Open our ears, and our selves, to the experience of the music and let it wash over us.
- Do our best to reveal that experience to others, as raw and honestly as possible.
- Write as artfully as we can, so it is enjoyable to read.
That’s it. We didn’t design this aesthetic. It arose organically from what we are doing. Other than Claire Chase initially urging us to write for the ICEblog, we had no reason to think there was an audience for this. We built it and they came. We have created something of value that we don’t entirely understand. But we sense that value is there, and so we have dedicated ourselves to keep doing it.
Here are some 2013 numbers:
- We wrote and posted 47 articles this year (2 more than 2012)
- We posted on five sites this year (two new, Cleveland Classical and Oberlin ConNotations)
- We hooked up 612 new followers on Twitter and blasted out another 7,500 tweets.
- We made 238 new connections on Facebook
Of course we don’t write only about contemporary music, and we do other things besides write. For example, we packed up our entire lives and moved to Oberlin in the middle of 2013 (there’s an article about that indexed below). And we both have audited classes at Oberlin College and Conservatory this semester (which led to some of the writing you’ll see indexed below).
We also found time to be significant contributors to Twitter Boot Camp (#TwitBootCamp) organized by our friend Ma’ayan Plaut, Manager, Social Strategy & Projects at Oberlin College (@plautmaayan). And our arrival in Oberlin caused a bit of an online stir. Madeline Raynor, Culture Editor for the independent Oberlin student blog Fearless and Loathing (), wrote a flattering portrait of us in November (http://www.fearlessandloathing.com/2013/12/meet-larry-and-arlene-dunn/).
Here is the full index to our 2013 posts.
ICEblog [12 posts]
An ICE octet mashed up the music of Franz Schubert and George Lewis at Chicago Cultural Center: http://iceorg.org/blog/post/ice-at-preston-bradley-hall-two-centuries-two-composers-eight-musicians
ICE Solo(4) featured Rebekah Heller at Corbett and Dempsey gallery in Chicaog: http://iceorg.org/blog/post/ice-solo4-confrontation-and-introspection
ICE solo(5) featured Phyllis Chen: http://iceorg.org/blog/post/ice-in-chicago-phyllis-chen-its-all-in-the-hands3
Composer/violinist/singer Carla Kihlstedt’s #ICElab dreams project at MCA Chicago: http://iceorg.org/blog/post/ice-at-mca-carlas-kaleidoscope-of-dreams
ICElab Confidential, the second installment of our series about composer Dan Dehaan’s #ICElab experience: http://iceorg.org/blog/post/icelab-confidential-sounds-coalescing-into-music
ICE at Americas Society in New York: http://iceorg.org/blog/post/ice-at-americas-society-reflections-in-an-ancient-mirror
ICE performed David Lang’s Whisper Opera at MCA: http://iceorg.org/blog/post/ice-at-mca-psssssst
Rebekah Heller’s 100 Names CD Release event at Constellation Chicago: http://iceorg.org/blog/post/rebekah-hellers-cd-launch-ice-sizzles-on-the-tundra
Claire Chase Density CD release event at Constellation: http://iceorg.org/blog/post/claire-chase-ravaged-breathless-joy-density
David Bowlin performed Sciarrino in Oberlin: http://iceorg.org/blog/post/david-bowlin-spinning-gossamer-webs-of-sound-in-fairchild-chapel
ICE celebrated John Zorn at 60 at MCA: http://iceorg.org/blog/post/ice-celebrates-peripatetic-genius-john-zorn-at-mca-chicago
ICElab Confidential, part 3: ICE premiered Dan Dehaan Trompe l’Corps at Roulette in Brroklyn: http://iceorg.org/blog/post/icelab-confidential-reality-as-sensory-illusion-at-roulette
I CARE IF YOU LISTEN [20 posts]
Chicago Q Ensemble at The Empty Bottle: http://www.icareifyoulisten.com/2013/02/hour-power-chicago-q-ensemble-unfamiliar-music-series/
Fifth House Ensemble premiered works of Zorn and Burhans at MCA: http://www.icareifyoulisten.com/2013/03/fifth-house-ensemble-coming-soon-mca-chicago/
Another #ChicagoNewMusicPlethora: http://www.icareifyoulisten.com/2013/03/another-chicagonewmusicplethora/
Fonema Consort presented Mirrors II in Chicago: http://www.icareifyoulisten.com/2013/03/fonema-consort-dazzles-with-mirrors-ii-in-chicago/
Interview with contemporary art and music advocate Scott Hunter: http://www.icareifyoulisten.com/2013/04/5-questions-to-scott-j-hunter-contemporary-music-and-art-advocate/
Interview with the founders of Chicago’s new music media empire Parlour Tapes+: http://www.icareifyoulisten.com/2013/05/5-questions-to-parlour-tapes-contemporary-music-recording-label/
Spektral Quartet and Pretty Monsters ushered in the summer at The Hideout in Chicago: http://www.icareifyoulisten.com/2013/07/spektral-quartet-pretty-monsters-steamroll-summer-chicago/
Performances at the biennial Oberlin Percussion Institute: http://www.icareifyoulisten.com/2013/07/canny-veterans-riveting-newcomer-oberlin-percussion-institute/
Joffrey Ballet and The Cleveland Orchestra presented the revival production of The Rite of Spring at Blossom Music Center: http://www.icareifyoulisten.com/2013/08/the-rite-contemporary-contemporaneous-music-dance/
No Exit New Music Ensemble performed music of Jeffrey Mumford and other local composers at Lorain County Community College: http://www.icareifyoulisten.com/2013/09/no-exit-entree-to-the-cleveland-new-music-scene/
The JACK Quartet performed at Cleveland State University: http://www.icareifyoulisten.com/2013/10/jack-quartet-spans-600-years-surprising-sounds-cleveland/
Ryan Muncy HOT CD release event at Constellation: http://www.icareifyoulisten.com/2013/10/ryan-muncy-breaks-new-sonic-ground-saxophone-chicago-hot/
Oberlin Conservatory Contemporary Music Ensemble with special guests eighth blackbird: http://www.icareifyoulisten.com/2013/10/eighth-blackbird-soars-oberlin-contemporary-music-ensemble/
Paul Lansky premiere by Hammer Klavier Quartet at Oberlin: http://www.icareifyoulisten.com/2013/10/filmmaker-playwright-composer-paul-lansky-premieres-textures/
Ensemble Dal Niente at the Bowling Green New Music Festival: http://www.icareifyoulisten.com/2013/11/outsourced-music-from-germany-at-bowling-green-new-music-festival/
Interview with Ellen McSweeney of the Chicago Q Ensemble: http://www.icareifyoulisten.com/2013/11/5-questions-to-ellen-mcsweeney-chicago-q-ensemble-violinist/
Interview with Time Weiss, Director of the Contemporary Music Division at Oberlin Conservatory: http://www.icareifyoulisten.com/2013/11/5-questions-to-tim-weiss-conductor-educator-at-oberlin-conservatory/
Morton Subotnick performed at MOCA Cleveland: http://www.icareifyoulisten.com/2013/12/morton-subotnick-performs-a-sorcerers-brew-of-music-at-moca-cleveland/
Interview with toy piano virtuoso and impresario Phyllis Chen: http://www.icareifyoulisten.com/2013/12/5-questions-to-phyllis-chen-director-uncaged-toy-piano-festival/
Interview with Cleveland-based percussionist Luke Rindeknecht: http://www.icareifyoulisten.com/2013/12/5-questions-to-luke-rinderknecht-percussionist/
Cleveland Classical [2 posts]
ClevelandClassical.com covers the classical music scene in the greater Northeast Ohio region. Editors Dan Hathaway and Mike Telin, along with former Cleveland Plain Dealer culture critic Don Rosenberg team-teach the Introduction to Music Criticism course at Oberlin Conservatory, which Larry audited this semester.
Review of Rebekah Heller’s 100 Names CD: http://clevelandclassical.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/cd-review-100-names-rebekah-heller-bassoon/
Report on the Bowling Green New Wusic Festival: http://clevelandclassical.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/review-34th-annual-bowling-green-new-music-festival-october-16-19/
Oberlin ConNotations [4 posts]
Oberlin ConNotations is a new site created this fall to feature the writing of participants in the Introduction to Music Criticism course.
Review of the Oberln Opera Theater’s production of Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel: http://inside.oberlin.edu/connotations/concert-reviews/oberlin-opera-review.shtml
Review of a concert of the chamber music of Maurice Ravel: http://inside.oberlin.edu/connotations/concert-reviews/oberlin-artist-recit.shtml
Review of eighth blackbird’s Fred CD: http://inside.oberlin.edu/connotations/recording-reviews/cd-review-eighth-bla.shtml
Review of the new Vijay Iyer and Mike Ladd CD Holding it Down: http://inside.oberlin.edu/connotations/recording-reviews/cd-review-holding-it.shtml
Acornometrics [9 posts]
Destination: Oberlin, an examination of how and why we decided to move to Oberlin: http://acornometrics.tumblr.com/post/41554988577/destination-oberlin
Recipe: Orange Marmalade http://acornometrics.tumblr.com/post/44076416354/when-life-gives-you-oranges-make-marmalade
Review of bassist Matt Adomeit’s senior recital, featuring the deturtle sextet: http://acornometrics.tumblr.com/post/44678977497/would-you-like-some-cat-in-that-cream
Recipe: Harissa, Tunisian chili paste: http://acornometrics.tumblr.com/post/54669377716/spice-up-your-life-with-harissa
Recipe: Pickled Red Onions: http://acornometrics.tumblr.com/post/55716316598/savory-treat-pickled-red-onions
Thoughts on the Cooper International Competition at Oberlin Conservatory: http://acornometrics.tumblr.com/post/57995938974/sage-advice-for-music-for-life
Recipe: Classic Andalusian Gazpacho: http://acornometrics.tumblr.com/post/58054136726/gazpacho-sunshine-in-a-bowl
Love in the Late 60s, the story of how we met and fell in love: http://acornometrics.tumblr.com/post/69883222794/love-in-the-late-sixties
Arlene’s semester project for the class she is auditing at Oberlin Conservatory, Introduction to African American Music, taught by Fredara Hadley: http://acornometrics.tumblr.com/post/71694795864/soundtrack-for-a-long-march-to-justice-the-role-of