Young Arts Foundation Presents Conrad Tao
Gifted Listener Tao at Home
By: Susan Hall - May 09, 2020
Conrad Tao at Home
Young Arts Foundation
May 7, 2020
YoungArts brings us artist’s self-designed concerts from home. In the interior soundscape of his home, Conrad Tao presents his own compositions and Arnold Schoenberg’s among others. His electronic composition, sometimes mixed with the piano and at others alone, provides an extension into other sound universes. The outside world is omni-present through a window which extends the room into trees and skies. When Tao takes a break, we are offered interludes in a home-made video from HighBridge Park.
One of the pleasures that this ‘pause’ period has offered the music audience is a visit to an artist’s home. We are in tight on Tao. His special approach to the classics is on intimate display. Tao has a gift for re-hearing music with which we’re familiar. The heart of his approach is in the ear. He listens and responds. Although one never feels that the tempi he chooses are too slow, we are asked to listen harder and to fall into Tao’s rhythms. We hear the classics with a fresh sense of composers.
Tao mixes instruments like the piano and violin with what may be strange sounds from his various electronic instruments. Instead of relaxing into sound, we are on a pleasureful high alert.
The Works in Process program of the Guggenheim Museum funded two videos that Tao has prepared. One features a plastic bag whose crackling provides a score. Another is.a towel, ubiquitous in this time of hand-washing. Tao also offers a brief sequence of handwashing.
Tao is an artist who you can find in every nook and cranny of the performance space world. He is at The Kitchen and Roulette. He is also at David Geffen Hall and Carnegie. He moves to share his insights and also to have fun. He enjoys the company of different artists and the personnel of different venues.
This program is offered by YoungArts, a Miami-based Foundation that supports promising young artists in music, visual and dance arts. Tao was a 2011 winner of Winner in Classical Music & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts. He was to return to their TED venue when the virus tamped down travel.
This was a one-night-only event explored and expanded livestreaming as a medium through the experimental use of equipment, acoustic and electroacoustic elements. Gripping improvisations add to music by Todd Moellenberg, Dan Thorpe, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Federico Mompou and Brahms, among others.
Youngarts presents Jennifer Koh playing Andrew Norman’s music on May 15. Koh has said, “Our musical community has given me a sense of hope and light during these difficult times. Alone Together celebrates and supports our community creatively. We will look back at this time and be proud that we used this time to help other artists. And we can give ourselves and others solace by sharing creative space and giving artistic voice to our collective, universal experience during COVID-19.”