Rogovoy Report 4/28/17

Apr 28, 2017

The cultural highlights in our region this weekend include two Grammy nominated folk-rock singer-songwriters; Bach, Beethoven, and Haydn; music of the drone; cutting-edge art exploring the surveillance society; and a whole lot more.

Works by Bach, Clarke, Purcell, and others will be performed in the Berkshire Bach series at First United Methodist Church in Pittsfield, Mass., on Saturday at 5pm. The concert showcases works that pair Baroque organ with brass. Organist Brink Bush will be joined by Eric Berlin and Richard Watson on trumpets.

Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Jesse Harris – best known for penning Norah Jones’s breakthrough hit, “Don’t Know Why,” as well as several other songs on her smash debut album, “Come Away with Me,” performs with his band at the Egremont Barn in South Egremont, Mass,. on Saturday at 8pm.

Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Greg Brown brings his roots-oriented original songs to Club Helsinki Hudson tonight at 9pm. Brown is one of the titans of the new-folk movement of the early to mid 1980s, a mostly acoustic, back-to-the-roots scene that rebelled against the slick folk-rock of the previous decade, while anticipating the explosion of the Americana music scene of the 21st century.

For those who aren’t aware, “Drone” is more than just a single, monotonous tone. The drone is at the heart of music and sound as varied as Gregorian chant; primitive blues; Irish folk; proto rock ‘n’ roll; modal jazz; Indian raga as exemplified by Ravi Shankar and adopted by the Beatles for songs including “Tomorrow Never Knows”; classical Minimalism (Steve Reich, Philip Glass); the experiments of LaMonte Young that found expression in the music of the Velvet Underground; Brian Eno’s ambient music; David Bowie’s electronic experiments; the downtown rock of Glenn Branca that influenced Sonic Youth; and more.

A 24-hour festival devoted to the drone takes place this weekend in Hudson, N.Y. 24-Hour Drone: Experiments in Sound and Music, the annual immersive music and art festival celebrating the beauty and community of the drone, returns to Basilica Hudson this weekend, from noon Saturday to noon Sunday. This year’s festival includes performances by guitarist Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth; experimental vocalist and violinist Iva Bittova; guitarist- composer  Phil Kline, a fixture of New York’s downtown scene; singer and harmonium player Shilpa Ray; and dozens of other regional, American, and international artists.

The Hudson Valley Philharmonic concludes its 57th season with a program entitled “The Ninth,” conducted by longtime Music Director Randall Craig Fleischer, at the Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC) in Kingston, N.Y., on Saturday at 8pm. The performances include Cappella Festiva directed by Christine Howlett, and soloists Rachael Rosales, Joshua Blue, Philip Cutlip and Helen Karloski. The program will also include a rendition of Haydn’s Symphony 100, G major.

And over at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, “WE’RE WATCHING,” the first major survey of performances by contemporary American artists exploring surveillance and its impact on our identities, takes place at the Fisher Center at Bard College this weekend, today through Sunday. Artists include Big Art Group; Annie Dorsen; Hasan Elahi; Michelle Ellsworth; Claudia Rankine; John Lucas; Will Rawls; and Samuel Miller among others.

Traversing an array of 21st-century phenomena such as police body cameras, Reddit comments, facial recognition software, Google Street View, and inscrutable digital interfaces, the seven works in WE’RE WATCHING chronicle current and speculative surveillance technologies and their transformative effect on security, privacy, civil liberties, the ways we form relationships and communities, and our sense of ourselves as citizens. Yes, in case you haven’t heard, Big Brother Is Watching.

Seth Rogovoy is editor of Berkishire Daily and the Rogovoy Report, available online at