Friday, February 19, 2010
When I heard that the brilliant young cellist Boris Andiranov was coming to town last December with news of his next Cello Circus (i.e., Moscow International Cello Festival 2010), I knew he would eventually wind up playing in Torrance at Alexey Steele's. Whether you're in from Moscow or traveling with the Vienna Philharmonic, if you want to find late night, apres concert, classical music pleasures in LA you're bound to show up at Alexey Steele's monthly crave, classical music's version of a rave.
Boris is a 30-something, slouching in jeans, sexy Russian dream who plays the great Romantic concertos, this season with the great Valerie Gergiev in Saint Petersburg. It was a fantastic evening. Women swooned when Boris played Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov. Everybody dropped what they were holding when Boris played two extended fantasies by the eccentric Italian genius Giovanni Sollima so dizzingly difficult and magnificently dramatic and fast that there was near frenzy after each. He followed with a performance of Paganini's glorious Moses Variations that made the audience laugh and cry.
MORE ABOUT THE FESTIVAL Featuring Mischa Maisky, Yuri Bashmet, David Geringas and Julian Rachlin, 3 world premieres by rock-opera legend Alexey Rybnikov, the first-ever CelloBACH concert and Roger Moore narrating Carnival of the Animals. Bi-annual Festival follows on success of 2008 Festival devoted to Rostropovich.
There's info about the Festival on Alexey's site as well as a link to my article about Classical Underground for Gramophone magazine. Here's a brief excerpt from my article:
"By day, a 7,500-foot studio in a middle-of-nowhere industrial park 22 miles southeast of Walt Disney Concert Hall and the fashionable artists' lofts of downtown Los Angeles is Alexey Steele's place of work, hung with sensuous nudes and enormous landscapes.
"Once a month Steele shoots out, rave-like, a last-minute e-mail invitation to his friends. He tells them who the players and the composers will be. He reminds them to bring chairs and food. He warns them that this time the music will start on time, although it never does.
"The bright, shining crowd of as many as 400 actors, painters, scientists, musicians, writers and models, most of them young and beautiful, were clearly enjoying their classical music evening out on the town. Eager listeners surrounded the musicians every side, hangers-on moved around the periphery for different views, and smokers who went outside to enjoy their sinful pleasures could still hear strains of the glorious music floating through the night air."
In order to get on Alexey's e-mail list, visit classicalunderground.com. You never know who's going to show up!
February 22, 2010
Where ARTS meet series
J.S. Bach. Brandenburg Concerto No. 3
Yuliya Barsky - piano
Sam McElroy - baritone
P. Vladigerov. Chant
Bulgarian Rhapsody Vardar
Moni Simeonov -violin
R. Schumann - From Symphonic Etudes op.13
The Five posthumous Variations
Inaugurating CU Poetry Showcase
John Tottenham reading from The Inertia Variations
M. Ravel / M. Oganesyan - La Valse
Mikael Oganesyan - piano
P. Schoenfield - Cafe Music
i. Allegro con fuoco
ii. Andante moderato
Yana Reznik - piano
Indira Rachmatulla - cello
Nigel Armstrong - violin
CLASSICAL UNDERGROUND SHOWCASE
focusing on a classical art form of serious contemporary representational art
CU Painters: Jeremy Lipking, Tony Pro, Ignat Ignatov, Christopher Pugliese (finding refuge with us from the freeze of New York), Joseph Todorovitch (his debut with CU) and myself - will paint live one of our favorite CU musicians, Yana Reznik. The final stretch of this live session will overlap by about an hour with the time of your arrival till the beginning of the program, so you will have a rare glimpse at how painting is being done and how each one of us will catch our sense of Yana.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
As we travel together on the journey which is Classical Underground, there is one central thing that we believe makes it such a unique sensation - a rare intimate connection between different forms of classical expression. As each over-compartmentalized field of ART is going through some major transformation recently, together in a deeply interconnected state, the ARTS are truly the heart and soul of our times that pack some indispensable power. With this in mind, we think our next event will open a new territory in this enchanted land.
The fierce contingent of CU painters – Jeremy Lipking, Tony Pro, Christopher Pugliese (finding refuge with us from the freeze of New York), Joseph Todorovitch (his debut with CU) and myself - will paint live one of our favorite CU musicians, Yana Reznik. The final stretch of this live session will overlap by about an hour with the time of your arrival till the beginning of the program, so you will have a rare glimpse at how painting is being done and how each one of us will catch our sense of Yana.
If that was not enough, we are finally adding a dimension to CU we long hoped for – in a spirit of comrades- in-arms we are joining cultural forces with our great new friends at Forth Magazine to inaugurate our first poetic showcase! We are honored and pleased to have John Tottenham as part of our program, just wait till you hear his reading!
Of course, the mother lode of musical talent awaits us with Nigel Armstrong, Yuliya Barsky, Eduardo Delgado, Sam McElroy, Mikael Oganesyan, Pepi Pilibossian, Indira Rachmatulla, Yana Reznik, Moni Simeonov performing. Celebrate with us as always the undying, indestructible and unsuppressible spirit of ART!
As always to RSVP please use the Paypal button below - chairs are first-come first-served - and please do not forget about the potluck! The doors open at 7 p.m. to catch the live painting session before the music starts at 8 p.m.
We are sold out.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
We are in January / February issue of Forth Magazine
LA's progressive literary magazine puts Classical Underground in a spotlight
Didn't we always say that the ARTS should all stand for what they are together? Classical Underground is the place WHERE ARTS MEET. Click here to read and watch Alexey's interview about the concepts behind Classical Underground as well as what ART means for him personally.
Forth Magazine * jan feb 2010
Some experts from the article:
"...even though Classical Underground started as a deceptively casual affair, it is a serious part of Alexey's vision for the future of art..."
"It makes sense that Alexey has chosen giant canvases and huge ideas that refuse containment and control."
"At a CU performance, musicians are made to feel free to try new variations, new arrangements, even new compositions, and each month is a completely different experience..."
"Alexey is thrilled that his underground can offer people more than the joy of a finished product - the thrill of process and experiment...the audience is drawn by nothing other than the hunger for the experience."
"It is underground because we are not supposed to exist," he explains. "Things in our capitalist society have to have a commercial function, and we do not. We have no purpose to exist, and it's liberating."
"Alexey sees CU as a building block, a brick in a new artistic legacy being constructed out of the remnants of Modernism and post-Modernism."
"Since we've collectively deconstructed everything to the point that nothing exists, we can reassemble in any way we want, in any way we NEED really, not as a point of habit, but as a point of NEED. That's Classical Underground."
"...trying to contain a giant in three pages of words is a loosing battle, as futile as trying to do justice to that laugh..."
Classical Underground expresses its deep appreciation to Sofyia Goldshteyn for such an insightful and elegantly articulated piece.