Machaut a Go-go newly published

Machaut a Go-go


Machaut a Go-go is a big-band version of Moult sui de bonne heure nee, a virelais by Guillaume de Machaut. My inspiration for the groove is Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers. You can download a score, listen to Dadadah’s performance, and purchase performance materials by clicking the xerox art.

Hope you enjoy it!

Nicholas Horvath premieres Enough Holes

The French pianist Nicholas Horvath is performing the complete Piano Etudes of Philip Glass at Weill Hall on 9 January, alongside a selection of homages. I wrote Enough Holes for the project, and it will be premiered on this concert. Should be a very cool evening of piano music!

EinHorn released on Lydia Van Dreel’s new CD

Here’s the premiere recording of my Rilke-inspired piece about unicorns, Einhorn, commissioned and performed by the wonderful Lydia Van Dreel. You can find it in all the usual places, or click the CD cover below to go directly to CD Baby:

CD cover

september 13

a fresh mix of Play Like a Girl for A Book of Days: september 13.

september 12

new piece in A Book of Days: september 12. It’s called Before a Little Sand, text by Henri Michaux.

september 12


Grand Canyon Music Festival | “…. a treat for eyes and ears” – The New York Times The 31st Season

Grand Canyon Music Festival | “…. a treat for eyes and ears” – The New York Times The 31st Season.


Mary Rowell and the Guidonian Hand are heading out to Arizona next week to do The River Project on the Grand Canyon Music Festival. Two nights: 22-23 August, should be lots of fun!!!

Pump Music published

I’ve just posted performance materials for Pump Music, a piece inspired by a hand pump at Wanagan’s Landing, near the headwaters of the Mississippi River. The piece is for trombone quartet and violin, along with a pre-recorded track made from the location recording of the pump.

Play Like a Girl


I’ve posted a new piece called Play Like a Girl, which is a set of eight keyboard variations on the Bulgarian Women’s Chorus standard, Kaval Sviri. Some work well on grand piano, others on toy piano or celeste or harpsichord or other “girly” instruments, as you like. The variations can be played simultaneously or successively in any combination for a total of eight factorial versions of the piece. I am posting twelve different versions of the piece in A Book of Days, on the 13th of each month. So far, May 13, June 13, and July 13th are up. You can listen to those to get a sense of the possibilities.

Play like the girl you are (or sometimes wish you were!)

new trombone piece posted

here’s a score of a piece for solo trombone, written for Will Lang, in honor of John Cage’s 100th birthday. you use the I Ching to come up with the notes for the piece, and you can add a super-long delay if you want to get all meditational about it. I hope you enjoy it: and let me know if you’d like to try it on a different instrument than trombone. I think it needs to stay in the breath-producing family: brass, winds, or voice could all work.

may 2


may 2

a brand new piece for today, written for the French pianist Nicolas Horvath, and based on a wonky transcription of a piece by Philip Glass and Foday Musa Suso to accompany a performance of The Screens, by Jean Genet.

Waiting for Billy Floyd @ Miller Theater

The League-ISCM is playing Waiting for Billy Floyd on Monday 17 June up at Miller Theater, which should be very cool. They’re doing the images as well, so that’ll be a nice thing. Mississippi in upper Manhattan!BillyFloydBanner

Firehouse Festival

Mary Rowell and I will be participating in the Firehouse Festival at Sandra Sprecher’s amazing space on Saturday night 27 April. We’ll be doing some stuff you’ve never heard, along with some favorites. The whole lineup looks like big fun! Click the poster for more info and tickets.


Building the Bird Mound premieres Thursday

On Thursday 18 April, the Voices of Ascension under the direction of Dennis Keene will be premiering a new commission for chorus and organ called Building the Bird Mound. Click the photo for tickets and more information:

Building the Bird Mound was inspired by a visit I made to Poverty Point, a pre-historic mound complex in Northeast Louisiana, while traveling down the length of the Mississippi River by kayak and bicycle in the fall of 2009. Poverty Point, which was built sometime between 3500 and 1500 B.C. is structured as a series of long concentric half-circles that radiate from a center mound which is in the shape of a winged bird. When I stood in the center of the mound that November afternoon, I had a glimpse of something very powerful, a sense of being sheltered — held — in the body of this giant effigy bird, and close to the ghosts of all the people who had scrabbled in the dirt to pile up and carry soil, basket by basket, to build this sacred place. I knew then that I wanted to write a piece of music about this place and the people who built it, and Building the Bird Mound is the result of that afternoon’s inspiration.

new River Project CD!

An all-new CD of River Project music is now exclusively available for purchase here! The second signed limited edition EP includes four pieces from The River Project in wonderful premiere recordings by BRIM, the Guidonian Hand, and members of Portland’s Third Angle Ensemble. A perfect gift, buy one today!

floating through february

Even though we just finished up one series of concerts, there are more upcoming projects here in New York that continue the flow…

On 17 February, the Ekmeles Vocal Ensemble with Vicky Chow on piano and Ana Milosavljevic on violin will be performing a show we’re calling Songs from the River and Elsewhere on the Avant Music Festival, which is going to be a wonderful series of concerts, highly recommended.

We’ve already begun rehearsing the repertoire for the 17 February concert, and it’s really fascinating to be embedding RiverProject songs in and among songs from A Book of Days. While the journey down the river definitely changed me and my work, there are some themes that thread their way through all the pieces, and hearing them performed by these excellent musicians is really great.

Also upcoming (on 2 March) is a performance of The Sirens, or Pleasure, my Cagean (Cageish?) collaboration with Yvan Greenberg, by the duo Two Sides Sounding. come check out the bicycle roulette wheel doing its thing, you never know which crackerjack prizes it’ll choose!


Along with these performances, I’m starting work on Pump Music, a big new piece for violin, trombone quartet, and location recordings of hand pumps found in campsites along the Mississippi River, a Meet the Composer commission that will premiere later in the spring on the Tribeca New Music Festival. Stay tuned for news about date and venue, which should be firmed up very soon!

rivers on the lower east side

What a fun way to start the year! a series of RiverProject concerts at Abrons Arts Center, each one so different from the next, with an array of wonderful musicians, from Loadbang and the Guidonian Hand the first night, to Newspeak and Will Lang the next, and then the last night with Taylor Levine, Malcolm J. Merriweather, and special guest Ron Blessinger, who paddled all the way from Portland, OR to get here… and of course Mary Rowell with me every night, that’s a central part of the whole experience! I feel so lucky to work with all these wonderful musicians, who also happen to be excellent humans, which really makes it great!

Here are a few links to interviews and press about the festival; over the next few days and weeks we’ll be posting some live recordings and more fun stuff.

Amanda McBlane’s interview in Time Out

Olivia Giovetti’s RiverProject radio show on Q2

Kurt Gottschalk’s radio show/interview on WFMU

Stacey Anderson’s NYTimes pop/rock listing

Steve Smith’s NYTimes classical listing




it’s all about the river

We’re hard at work getting ready for three concerts of River Project music at Abrons Arts Center in late January: wrangling rehearsal schedules for more than 25 people, making special arrangements and generating parts for River Project music for three different rosters of players, organizing tech riders, instrument movers, press releases, all that endless stuff that goes into doing shows, even before a single sound gets made. In a way I feel very far away from the river, and from the urges and pleasures that got me out there two years ago. but then I realize it’s all about the river, and the anxiety recedes and I can just keep paddling.

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brim ep 1 out now

BRIM EP 1 Album ArtBRIM has released the first of what will be a series of recordings of River Project music, a limited edition of 250 signed CDs. It’s a four-song EP which you can get only while supplies last.

Order Online Now

01. I am really a very simple person
02. I’m worried now, but I won’t be worried long
03. Wayfaring Stranger (live recording)
04. The Flood

Album Credits:

Eve Beglarian vocals, electronics, electric guitar, bass
Mary Rowell violin, electric violin, acoustic guitar

blue grass

Monday morning, we left Pittsburgh early in order to get to Hyden, Kentucky, where Mary had set up a school presentation for BRIM at the Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music. Mary had been there with ETHEL before, and has worked with Dean Osborne, who’s the director of this very cool school nestled in a hollow in the Appalachians.

I was fascinated to learn that there’s a rigidity and extreme traditionalism in the bluegrass world that rivals the classical music world. Doing anything different from the established norms is frowned upon, and yet all the greats of bluegrass were of course tremendous innovators who broke all the rules, from Bill Monroe to the Osborne Brothers themselves. So the school is devoted to finding that line of respect and devotion to the excellence of the tradition, while at the same time opening up to new ideas and approaches that will keep the art form alive.

It was a really meaningful experience to perform my music for these fellow travelers, I felt like we arrived from different places to a shared path, and I’m honored to have their company. They had lots of questions about how I put my music together technically, which was a bit of a surprise to me. When I do these kinds of presentations at conservatories, I don’t generally get asked detailed compositional questions. I found the whole experience refreshing and fascinating. I think there may be something really interesting to explore at the nexus of traditional bluegrass and new music…. Hmmmm….

Dean Osborne generously arranged to put us up at Mary Breckinridge’s house, Wendover, which was the site of the Frontier Nursing Service she founded in the late 20s, and which is still operating today. (I had only learned about this program a few weeks earlier, when I met Mary’s cousin Kristin, a cheese-maker, at the Craftsbury Farmer’s Market up in Vermont, who had participated in the program in the late 80s.) Mary Breckinridge was this amazing person. A privileged woman, she lost both her own children at an early age, so she decided to come to deeply impoverished Leslie County and start a nursing service for mothers and children. In the years that she ran this service, both maternal and infant health improved from perhaps the worst in the nation to better than the country as a whole, and all this work was done by a combination of professional nurses on horseback traveling up and around the hollows, and by young women volunteers, who came out to join the adventure. It’s a case of those much-maligned “ladies bountiful”  doing something really meaningful and transformative with their time and talent and energy. Dean estimates that something like a hundred thousand people today owe their existence to Mary Breckinridge and the Frontier Nursing Service.

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Archives of Exile

If you happen to be in Yorkshire in July, definitely check this out, should be very fun!