by Mike Breen 03.28.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Music Video, Local Music at 08:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Music Tonight: MusicNOW Begins

Seventh annual music fest organized by The National's Bryce Dessner kicks off with a freebie

The seventh annual MusicNOW festival begins tonight, but not at the fest's usual headquarters. And you don't need a ticket for tonight's opening festivities. For last year’s MusicNOW, the festival ventured outside of its usual home, Memorial Hall, but not very far — organizer Bryce Dessner’s band The National played Music Hall, right next door. This year’s opening MusicNOW concert is a tad further away, at Christ Church Cathedral (318 E. Fourth Street), but the setting is perfect for the night’s programming. And it’s a rare free event for MusicNOW. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.).Performing is James McVinnie, the Assistant Organist at Westminster Abbey in London (where he performed last year for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton; read his account here). Besides his work at the grand cathedral, McVinnie also teaches, performs throughout the U.K and beyond and has had pieces composed for him by Graham Ross, Robert Walker and Mr. MusicNOW 2012, Nico Muhly. The setting was no doubt chosen because of the Cathedral's vintage organs and acoustics. Read more about the instruments here. Joined by in demand violist Nadia Sirota (a founding member of MusicNOW regulars yMusic), McVinnie will work his organ magic on new compositions by Richard Reed Parry (a member of Arcade Fire and also a MusicNOW vet) and David Lang, a member of MusicNOW alumni Bang on a Can and winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for music for his “The Little Match Girl Passion” piece. McVinnie’s performance will also include pieces by Muhly, the other Mr. MusicNOW 2012, Philip Glass, Bach and Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. Also on the bill is Sam Amidon, an Avant Indie Chamber Folk singer/songwriter who drew acclaim for his performance at the Contemporary Arts Center last year. Amidon takes deep American roots music and doesn’t so much cover it as remix and mold it into something more modern and totally unique. Read more of our MusicNOW preview coverage, including interviews with Muhly, Dessner and eighth blackbird, in this week's CityBeat. Tickets for Friday's performance are sold out; for tickets for tomorrow's performance by 8bb, Philip Glass and Sandro Perri (the MusicNOW site says there are only limited tickets left, so hurry), click here.

eighth blackbird Honors Philip Glass at MusicNOW

0 Comments · Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Composer Philip Glass turned 75 on Jan. 31. The party continues this weekend in Cincinnati, starting with the wildly innovative, Grammy Award-winning sextet eighth blackbird’s appearance at MusicNOW on Thursday. Glass himself will join 8bb during the first half of the performance.   

MusicNOW (Day 2)

May 14 • Memorial Hall

0 Comments · Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Though less thematic than Friday’s MusicNOW roster, Saturday’s lineup features an equally fascinating collection of artists covering even more musical ground. Owen Pallett is a Canadian musician better known as — yet another “one-person-band”! — Final Fantasy, the name he used for his first three solo albums. The classically-trained violinist’s music earned him a solid following, particularly in his homeland, and has drawn comparisons to Andrew Bird, Scott Walker and The Divine Comedy.  

MusicNOW (Day 1)

May 13 • Memorial Hall

0 Comments · Tuesday, May 10, 2011
The MusicNOW festival has earned a reputation for being a fest unlike the rest thanks to The National guitarist Bryce Dessner’s ability to lure kindred artistic spirits to his annual hometown showcase of progressive Indie music. MusicNOW participants have been explorers of the avant-garde edge of Neo Chamber, Experimental, Indie music and many points prior, between and beyond, ranging from esoteric underground artists to niche specialists to some of the more popular names in the Indie universe.  

The National Come Home for MusicNOW

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 9, 2011
In 2006, Cincinnati native Bryce Dessner of The National launched the MusicNOW festival, bringing unique and creative artists and Indie music heavyweights to his hometown for a unique and subsequently much-anticipated springtime event. With a global profile as high as it's ever been, The National will headline MusicNOW 2011's final night May 15.  

Return to NOW

Bryce Dessner brings unique MusicNOW fest back for fifth year

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Cincinnati native Bryce Dessner's MusicNOW brainchild has evolved into one of the singular musical events in the Midwest, a multi-day festival featuring a like-minded collection of creatively adventurous musicians who relish the opportunity to partake in its laid-back, artist-friendly atmosphere. Dessner talks about his approach to MusicNOW, why Memorial Hall is the right venue and the upcoming album from his band, The National.  

Vinnie Vidi Vici

Annie Clark of St. Vincent is inspired by everything from Disney to Suicide

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 24, 2010
St. Vincent can be deceiving. First there's the name, which brings to mind a chanting religious dude in white robes (it's actually a reference to the hospital where poet Dylan Thomas spent his final hours). Then there's the physical appearance of the person behind the moniker, Annie Clark, a demure woman with a mop of curly, jet-black hair and a face that looks as innocent as Bambi's. She headlines the second night of MusicNOW.  

Strung Out

Kronos Quartet comes to Cincinnati to headline the annual MusicNOW festival

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 4, 2009
David Harrington, founder and leader of the world-famous (and world-traveled) Kronos Quartet, finds it hard to believe the group hasn't played Cincinnati since 1987. Kronos will be the headliner for both nights of the MusicNOW festival March 11-12 at Memorial Hall in Over-the-Rhine.