‘Attaching the Wings’

There’s a time in the life of every project, creative or otherwise, when it’s time to “roll it out of the hanger and push it off a cliff to see if it will fly”, or some similar expression. For this still new performing ensemble, that time has arrived (albeit on a somewhat smaller scale). The first step was to conceptualize a new work. As most of you might know, that’s the easy part. After my grant notification in early February and the funding secured for a free outdoor performance in June, it’s time to get down to “brass tacks” and begin the serious work of writing promotional materials, organizing rehearsals and additional activities, and actually composing the music.

I’m happy to report that everything is underway. Scored for 3 strings, 2 winds, percussion (2 players) and keyboards & electronics, the ground work for all 5 movements of “Convergence: Series A” has been laid down. To help generate interest, excitement and perhaps even raise a little money, I decided to hold 2 “preview” concerts, featuring some of the members and music drawn from our developing repertoire, as well as excerpt from the new work.

The first of these events is a private House Concert on the afternoon of Sunday March 22, at a stunningly beautiful home overlooking the Hudson, just south of Cold Spring NY. There is a suggested donation of $20 and advance tickets are available thru Brown Paper Tickets (linked here and elsewhere on this site and on nailmusic.com). The performance will also be live-streamed; links will be posted when available.

If you’re reading this then you’re already following us on this journey. Stay with us while we get the bird ready to fly… – Neil

20 20 24 Hours to Go…

We have arrived at “the night before”. In a few minutes I’ll be heading to the studio to load in my equipment, along with Angel Michael Lau (percussionist) and Todd Isler (drums and percussion). We’ll be setting up the ‘foundation’ of equipment – the pieces that need stands and wires – plus setting a few microphones and checking levels, all in the interest of expediting things “day-of-show”.

Rehearsals have gone very well considering there aren’t enough of them, and it’s only through the talent time and energies of the amazing musicians I have the good fortune to work with that the work will come off at all. i’m tremendously excited, but with an undertaking of this size (for me, that is) I’m also considerably nervous. (Some Dutch Courage might be in order, hmmm…)

And with that I’m out the door to the studio. See you “on stage” – in your homes – tomorrow evening. Cheers!

Solve for “X”

Greetings from the beautiful Hudson Valley, in not-quite-so upstate New York. There is much history here, and beyond the revolutionary war themed everything, there is a great history of Art here. The Hudson River School of painting started here; Washington Irving wrote his famous novels set in this area, and the Symphony for the New World of Dvorak sings of the grand vistas, lush green mountains and pristine waters.

Into this mix I humbly offer my voice. I have for many years created music here, in a tremendous variety of styles and purpose. But now at age 58 I wish to bring all the styles, sounds, textures and ideas that have thrilled me across my professional life under one “umbrella”, if you will. In a new, flexible context, one which will enable myself and other composers to reach for something a little different. And so I present to you, and to the world: The X Ensemble.?Using elements of Jazz, Ambient Music, Minimalism, Traditional Classical and much more, the X Ensemble finds new ways to bring commonalty to the diverse language of music.

Our premiere concert took place on October 16th 2016 in Newburgh NY, to a sold out crowd. The program featured original compositions in various styles, plus reworked music of Beethoven and Gershwin.