By Sarah Bob
I am not a visual artist. I am a visual person. This can be confusing when I then reveal that I am a musician, someone who deals with/manipulates/invites sound in all of my waking hours, especially the sounds of today.
But I am visual. No, nothing as profound or impressive as having synesthesia or being able to take a particularly good photograph. I thrive on colors, physical space, shapes. Impressions, contrasts, images of stories or moments, note spellings, these all come undone in my head as I am surrounded in my music, in OUR music.
So be it, pretty much exactly fifteen years ago, I was asked by fellow teacher and performer, the wonderful saxophonist Kenneth Radnofsky, if I wanted to start a series at the school we both worked for. Our conversation was quick, no beats skipped.
What would it be?
New music and new visual art, of course.
Here was my opportunity to be surrounded by VISUAL, visual of today, no less, and still give myself and my musician colleagues opportunities of our own. What is new? What does new mean to you? To me? Fifteen seasons later and the New Gallery Concert Series is still committed to outstanding, talented, friendly, passionate and ALIVE. With works that span the spectrum from classical-contemporary, improvisation, electronic music, jazz, folk, art song, opera and the avant-garde to sculpture, painting, indoor installations, photography, graphic and children’s book illustrations, visual music, video art and film, NGCS’s programs are cohesive, diverse, exciting and intimate.
“…It’s a tribute to this spunky, vital presenter that the program offered music of remarkable contrast and, in several instances, profound depth and strength….””
—New Music Connoisseur
No one needs to be visual. No one needs to be musical. It is about celebrating the now (which, boo!, you are!) and experiencing our modern language. Our context is limitless; I can guarantee there is something (everything) for everyone.
“… I don’t know how you pull it off the way you do, with so much to think about. Arranging fascinating and inventive programs, managing artists and performers and composers and audience…. Last night’s [New Gallery] concert was one of the biggest highs I’ve ever experienced. Every one of your concerts is something that reminds everyone what music is supposed to be about….I’ll admit about Joe that he was skeptical [about new music] before coming, but he was totally taken up and quite impressed with the pieces and the performances. We keep coming back and are never let down.”
–NGCS patron since the first season
I love music. I love visual art. I love that one does not need the other but oh, how they can resound in so many unexpected ways when side by side! I love sharing and, ya know, as hokey as it sounds, I love people. We have found something so wonderful in the now. Let’s relish in the vast and full artistic range around us, enjoy how we all fit in and how we can still have these moments of “aha!” together. I love together!
“Awesome programming and playing on the New Gallery concert this past week! Amazing how fresh music can be when the concert situation is re-imagined and reinforced by the visual component especially. Also amazing how rarely anyone puts forth the effort and imagination to actually bring about this freshness. So your New Gallery effort is really appreciated and desperately needed…”