the good the bad and the tinga

the enigma that is James David Stoker Johnsen Young captured in an appropriate pseudosilhouette (still life with chicken tinga)

the enigma that is James David Stoker Johnsen Young captured in an appropriate pseudosilhouette (still life with chicken tinga)

oftentimes it takes creative company to remember the good and great among the predictable unfortunate

such was the case today

yesterday the president/CEO of the baltimore symphony orchestra announced they had canceled the summer season including but not limited to the new music festival that was to feature women composers

artistic director and conductor marin alsop has taken the robert shaw vigilance regarding new music to a new level and this festival was to be a great showcase of her passion for the music of living composers and especially those historically underrepresented

to put it mildly this was a shock but in hindsight it was not unforeseeable considering that leadership of the orchestra has been in the hands of people who yearn for days of yore and assume that programming likewise will increase its listener base

it might be said that they believe programming the work of dead white men will make the orchestra great again

spoiler alert

the orchestra is as great now as it has ever been and arguably more so

and also

they’re morons

this cancelation was also a blatant shot against the musicians’ union but i’ll leave thorough analysis of orchestral union-busting to those with more knowledge of its repeated failures

so when one of my best friends and favorite composers asked me if i wanted to hang out and chat about this i naturally responded yes and asked him where to meet

and he suggested with what is i’m sure a wink and a nudge an happy hour at a place that serves tacos among lots of other things

chicken tinga making its first and i am sure not last appearance on this blog

chicken tinga making its first and i am sure not last appearance on this blog

we went to a restobar a block from my house renowned for its gluten-free cupcakes and vegan specialties named Sweet 27

and i feasted upon a #goodtaco or three while chatting about various tactics to ensure the future health of new music in our community

it is not ironic to point out that this place is not particularly know for its tacos in the same way that baltimore is not particularly known for its new music scene

but to be sure each should be in its own way

these tacos were more full of stuff than i usually prefer being a street-taco man

there were three salsas and black beans and there was curry in the chicken which was although a little weird not unpleasant

rhough it is difficult to call myself a purist in the concert experience i will admit to having been challenged and rewarded by james’s programming choices with his new music ensemble Mind On Fire which feature on every program choices ranging from traditional concert music to structured improvisation to hip-hop bands among much much more

so as we briefly mused in anger and lamentation the loss of the orchestra’s new music festival he reminded me about all the amazing new music there is to be had in baltimore and remarked extensively on how this announcement has galvanized the community to make sure that there is to be a great plethora of new music to slake our thirst for it

more so than even had been before the announcement

and that’s saying something considering that all the active grassroots ensembles in the city have in their mission statements a commitment to performing the works of living composers

all of them

to name a few

Mind On Fire

Occasional Symphony

Symphony Number One

and every chamber ensemble i can think of including my own Third Practice




and i feel much better now about the state of things

and quite full also of delicious tacos

but i continue my endeavor to publicly shame the leadership of the baltimore symphony orchestra and i encourage you to do so as well

the president/CEO of the ensemble is named peter kjome and can be found on twitter

the board chair is named barbara bozzuto and can be reached by her email

so take a second and revel in your ire

call them out for their folly

but don’t forget that we the new music community are here for you

and if you want to talk to us about the way forward i can guarantee you that we’re down for a conversation

and for tacos

Joshua Bornfield