Hello, Austin Lifestyle Magazine!

5/6/2010 Thursday 10:54 pm

OK!  My new favorite magazine in the whole world is Austin Lifestyle Magazine.

If you look at the newest issue you might think that this is because of the large feature article on me and our upcoming festival on Page 18 (use the online viewer to scroll to p. 18). Or if you go to the Austin Lifestyle website you might think its because they have a special feature on our festival, right next to the complete text of the extensive interview we did.  You might think that, but that fact is that its, well, because of all of those things combined! …and that its one heck of a great new Austin Magazine!  So check it out!

The new issue is called: Destination Austin.  Their departments are “New & Noteworthy”, “Fashion & Beauty”, “Philanthropy”, “Home”, and “Food”.  And we couldn’t miss the p. 35 wrap of Zach Theatre’s “Red, Hot & Soul” gala with a terrific shot of Austin Asset Management Company Founder, News 8 Austin “Finance Guy”, and dynamic ACGS Board vice-president John Henry McDonald and his lovely (and super-stylish) wife Louise Epstein, on the lower right-hand corner!

For those of you interested in seeing some shows at our giant international fest this summer, Austin Lifestyle Magazine will be giving away free tickets to concerts on their website in the very near future!  So you might want to visit their website and see what that’s all about!

LCRA, Alamo’s Dionysium…

5/6/2010 Thursday 10:47 pm

Whew!  Today around 12:30PM I played my final notes of my fifth of five concerts in six days!  I was at the Lower Colorado River Authority office complex (for those of you in Austin, that’s on Lake Austin Boulevard across from Hula Hut!) in their lovely board room (I’ve been there once before – story below*).  I played a 45 minute show today for around 45 people (of the 650 or so employed at LCRA in that location), who chose to spend their lunch hour listening to classical guitar music.  As with all of the performances I’ve had this week, I was also given the opportunity to talk about ACGS and our giant upcoming festival and also take a number a terrific questions.  I had a wonderful time and I’d like to thank David Marchman and Gina Jerram, in HR at LCRA, for setting this up.

Last night I played for the first time at an Alamo Drafthouse!  Glenda and I went to the south Austin location on South Lamar to the 72nd edition of Dionysium – an every-first-Wednesday-night-of-the-month event at the Alamo which is like an academically-oriented variety show.  Last night’s began with a lecture from “Perfesser” Kurt Hildebrand on Grammar, then we heard a story about adult laser-tag by Austin author Stoddard Smith, then there was a debate between, again, “Perfesser” Hildebrand and a combatant Mike Daross, about whether or not the REAL ID act of 2005 should be repealed (turns out it should!)… then I took the stage and played Sunburst (Andrew York) and Tango en Skai (Roland Dyens) and talked about ACGS and the fest (of course), then we saw the second runner-up animation submission to SXSW presented by one of the SXSW judges, and animator, Lance “Fever” Meyers – with commentary.  It was awesome – called “One Rat Short” by the guy who did the “You might think” Cars video way back in the early-mid eighties, and that was it!  Oh, the entire thing was MC’d brilliantly by Buzz Moran and LB Deyo, Chairman and President of the Dionysium (respectively) – – and the Debate was moderated by the moderatrix Dawn Youngs.  And, perhaps best of all, brilliant Austin composer and pianist Graham Reynolds (from the Godlen Hornet Project) played organ all night as a sort of incidental music live sound track – I have NO IDEA how he does it, but its extremely cool.  (BTW Graham is the composer we commissioned to write the piece that the kids are going to premiere at the youthfest finale of our giant festival – small world!)  See what I mean?  An academically-oriented variety show.  Afterwards, all the players, and some fans too, went next door to the glorious High Ball lounge for drinks.  The High Ball is fabulous – extremely classy, and you absolutely must go if you’re in Austin and you have not yet been!  (the High Ball is also owned by Alamo owners Tim and Karrie League, by the way, its their newest (?) project.)  BTW again… Glenda has been wanting to go to High Ball for her birthday – she wants to do Karaoke there!  Plus – while on the subject of Glenda/High Ball – Glenda was particularly fashionable last night, leading our friend Graham (Reynolds) to comment about Glenda, over his deliciously complex scotch: “I’m diggin’ that crazy outfit with that hat” (which I interpret as high praise!).

* So the last time I was in the LCRA board room I was also performing… the short version of the story is: by tennis partner Mike Blumenthal invited me to do a lecture and concert for the Austin Translators and Interpreters Association.  At the time I was very excited about “poetic-musical synthesis” in art song through the ages.  That is, the discussion of how composers “interpret” texts with music through song.  So I prepped a lecture-recital with songs from renaissance England, 19th-century Spain and Italy, 12th-century Germany, and modern America and sang/played them and then offered commentary about it.  In the audience was a young woman from the Russian speakers association of Austin.  She asked if I would consider doing the same lecture for them at their meeting in a few months.  I said sure, but that I didn’t know any Russian songs and it seemed odd for me to do a lecture and recital in four languages for Russians speakers – without doing anything in Russian.  SHe assured me, however, that it would be taken well.  So a few weeks passed (we had set a date), and I decided I just HAD to do something in Russian.  So I called my contact, and asked if she would coach me for a month on Russian, so I could passably sing two songs in Russian.  When the time came for me to present my lecture-recital, I went to the LCRA board room, where they met, and did my recital more or less as I had before, and then ended with my two Russian songs.  The Russian speakers became extremely enthusiastic at the point that I attempted singing in Russian, but nothing could prepare me for the warmth and generosity that flowed during the reception following my presentation.  They had prepared an abundant feast with great variety of delicious items and we traded stories for quite some time.  A wonderful evening indeed.

Matt’s Interview on News 8 Austin – 5/4/2010

5/5/2010 Wednesday 8:45 am

Here’s a link to my TV interview yesterday – talking about the festival, of course!

We did the interview early in the morning.  The day flew by and ended up downtown with a little talk and play presentation at Leadership Austin.  The location was the culinary center at the magnificent Whole Foods flagship store here in Austin!

Tonight I’ll play a brief set at the south Lamar Alamo Drafthouse, and then one more lunchtime show tomorrow at LCRA.  It feels great to play a bit.

I hope you enjoy the interview – we’re just one day under 7 weeks away from the start of the fest!

What a weekend!

5/3/2010 Monday 9:53 am

Highlights of this weekend were two concerts.  One Saturday night at Tim and Karrie League’s home (Alamo Drafthouse Founders and Owners) and one Sunday afternoon at Bill and Marilyn Hartman’s home.

It feels just great to be playing the guitar for people – all this writing, teaching, and administrating really cuts into your practice schedule!  But with a few concerts scheduled, it was enough for me to make the time last week to get into playing shape.

I had a wonderful time both nights.  I got wonderful comments on the playing.  In both cases there were just over 20 people or so, so an intimate gathering.  Both nights the hosts asked if I would say a few words about ACGS and our giant upcoming festival.  And both nights I had fun talking about the composers and the music while also taking a multitude of great questions and getting the audience involved.  And, now that I think about it, both nights involved lengthy post-concert socializing!  So it was just tons of fun.

I play tomorrow night (Tuesday) for Leadership Austin.  One of my favorite organizations.  I’ve been doing talk-n-play presentations twice a year for them for several years now. Wednesday night I’ll actually play at the Alamo Drafthouse South at 7PM for their Dionysium, which is an event where they have a debate, intellectual discussions, presentations, art, music and beer.  Then Thursday I play a noon concert at the Lower Colorado River Authority… we’ve been interested in getting in front of large area employers to spread the word about the festival – and LCRA, with 600+ employees – certainly qualifies!

Last night, Glenda went to the Alamo downtown to see a new program they have called cinema club where they get professorial types to discuss older movies following the screening.  She brought home the Alamo’s May-June guide and I was thrilled to see our fest listed in the guide!  This is because the Alamo’s Master Pancake Theater and Rolling Roadshow has a role in our fest (Wednesday, June 23rd at 10:30PM) but the listing said some awesome things about the fest as well.  So exciting, that is really terrific PR for us!