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July 24, 2018

‘Thirsty Ears,’ Chicago’s Only Classical Music Street Fest is August 11 and 12

I’m thrilled to be producing the third annual Thirsty Ears Festival on August 11 and 12.  Thirsty Ears features two days of stellar classical music performances, craft beer from Empirical Brewing, food trucks, vendor booths and kid-friendly activities.

Thirsty Ears takes place on Wilson Ave. between Hermitage and Ravenswood, not coincidentally in front of the ACM School of Music. We’re also doing a special Sound of Silent Film Festival on the street at sundown on Saturday night.

There is a $10 suggested donation, any proceeds benefit the ACM School of Music.

Complete schedule here!

July 22, 2018

Concept Lab At Cornelia Street Cafe

Concept Lab returns to Manhattan’s Cornelia Street Cafe for a program of new works by myself, several composers from the ICEBURG collective performed by superstar pianist Jenny Lin, Stanislav Fridman and Gene Pritsker.  All are world premiere performances!


June 7, 2018

Grant Park Music Festival Lectures

I’ll be giving the pre-concert lecture at the Grant Park Music Festival on June 13, 15, 16, 20, 22 and 23.  The talks are a half hour long, and they happen an hour before the concert in the amazingly huge white tent just west of Pritzker Pavilion.  Come say hi!



May 8, 2018

‘Machine Language’ Concert on May 14

632148d9-274a-4c10-ad47-ceb28750371bACM’s final concert of our current Chicago season happens on May 14 at 7:00 at the Davis Theater and features music inspired by machines, gears, mechanisms and toys.  I had a blast programming this concert and it’s going to be fantastic.

We’ll give the World Premiere of Mechanical Bird Museum by David Smooke, a piece we commissioned for our Composer Alive project.

We’ll perform Cranks and Cactus Needles by Annie Gosfield, a piece inspired by the earliest record players that used cactus needles and had to be hand-cranked.  The concert also features Dan Trueman’s Machine Language, a piece inspired by the concept of computer algorithms designed to act like humans.

Then we have Nicole Lizée’s piece Sculptress inspired by outmoded technology and we’ll close it all down with Elisha Denburg’s Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Fun Table for ensemble, toy piano and, yeah a certain Fisher Price toy from the old days.

May 7, 2018

Concept Lab Volume III

Concept LabIt’s time for the next Concept Lab!  This will be volume 3 and will happen in our new home, Cornelia Street Café at 6:00 on May 13.

Concept Lab is a place for composers to branch out, try something different, experiment and get inspired by each other.  Featured composers are myself playing my Jungian piece The Numinous, Will Rowe, Jeff Hudgins, Gilbert Galindo, Drake Andersen and Ellen Mandel.

It’s $10 and the price includes a free drink so, considering this is New York, it’s basically a free concert.  See you there!

May 1, 2018

Playing the ‘Art of Sound’ Festival in NYC on May 6

9291af17-b06f-4cbf-a001-8598ab7dc422That handsome devil was the subject of a photo by the great Diane Arbus.  I attended an exhibit of her works a couple of years ago and was inspired to write music to four of the photos I saw including this one, Patriotic Young Man With Flag.

I’ll be playing it live at DROM NYC on May 6 as part of Composers Concordance’s Art of Sound festival. The evening features works by twenty-seven composers, all performing their own music.

DROM NYC is at 85 Avenue A and it starts at 6:00 PM.  Word.

April 2, 2018

Sound of Silent Film is April 14!

660e1dae-434e-40bf-8407-0541200fe8ddTickets are going fast for the Sound of Silent Film Festival with more than a hundred sold already for each show.

I have not one but two scores on this year and I’ll be performing them both. The first is the first film I ever scored: Manos de la Muerte, or the Hands of Death.  It’s gruesome but in like a fun way.

The second is a wild little ride called Frollein Frappe and I went with a kind of gothic tango meets melancholy waltz meets minor key boogie-woogie sound for it. Which was really the only way to go.

There are still tickets so come on out!

February 12, 2018

Concept Lab is Sunday, February 18 in Manhattan

My new series Concept Lab is a home for experimentation, works in progress and the destruction of boundaries.  The first one will be this Sunday, the 18th at Cornelia Street Cafe in Manhattan.  It’s a great program, details below!

Concept Lab is an exciting new music series featuring finished works, works in progress, improvised works and collaborative and multi-disciplinary projects in all stages of completion.

Run as a collective, Concept Lab is a showcase of the newest of the new and an exciting sneak preview of mainstays on the upcoming New York performance scene.

Sunday, February 18, 6:00 PM
Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street
$10 (includes a drink ticket)



Mei Trio
Fresh off of a sold-out performance at LPR, the Mei Trio comes to Concept Lab with a short set of works by Nino Rota, James Romig, Fernando Arruda and Seth Boustead inspired by nature, specifically trees, birdsong and fractals.

Saint Cecilia, or the Power of Music by Ryan Homsey and Joseph Cernatori
Collaborators Ryan Homsey (composer) and Joseph Cermatori (librettist) will workshop selected instrumental excerpts from their opera in development, currently titled Saint Cecilia, or the Power of Music, based off of the 1810 short story of the same name by Heinrich von Kleist.

A legend and a mystery set during the Protestant reformation, the story follows four brothers who lose their wits under obscure circumstances while attempting to deface a local cathedral. Homsey’s musical language draws influence from various forms of 16th-century polyphony and contemporary post-minimalism.

Together, he and Cermatori will discuss the project and present sketches of material from several significant moments of it in performance, to be performed by Concept’s Lab musical team.
Distress by Seth Boustead
Distress is part of a larger work called Fire and Fury which features musical accompaniments to the dramatic audio book reading of the infamous Trump administration tell-all.  This movement, Distress, is a provocative, hilarious look at Steve Bannon’s pre-Breitbart “career.”
Eric Tanguy’s Sonate pour violon & violoncelle
Irene Fitzgerald-Cherry and Talia Dicker will perform the second movement of this work originally written for and premiered by Renaud and Gauthier Capuçon in 2003. In this movement, marked Dolce, the violin and cello lines expand and contract from a base note, weaving around each other in almost palindromic fashion and sometimes stopping to meet on C.
Kumbhaka by Will Rowe
Kumbhaka is the space between inhale and exhale. This is the concept I sought to embody in this new piece for oboe and piano, written for Grant Luhmann. The teleology of the piece is very static, meant to encapsulate and expand a moment rather than take the listener to a destination. The warbly textures allow the sounds to hang in time and space until that moment has run its course, and that static tension can resolve in an exhale.

ergo by Grant Luhman
In this piece a new, strange, and sometimes- uncomfortable common ground is created between the piano and English horn by preparing the piano with fifteen strong magnets placed at specific points (harmonic nodes) along certain strings while the English horn utilizes a variety of unusual techniques that are designed to match the modified timbre of the piano.

Notes prepared with a magnet gain a transparent bell-like quality similar to a flute or violin harmonic and produce a different pitch than what is played on the keyboard.  The character of the movement is free and somewhat improvisatory, as if both players are learning this language together for the first time and discovering how to communicate with each other.

The mood is distant, quiet, and subdued throughout, perhaps like an elegy in a language nobody remembers.
Labyrinth by Stanislav Fridman
This solo piano work explores the idea of underground spaces through mysterious sonorities, sonic shadings representing the contrast between dark and light, and a frequent claustrophobic heaviness.

Hristina Blagoeva – flute
Talia Dicker – cello
Irene Fitzgerald-Cherry – violin
Joenne Dumitrascu – violin
Stanislav Fridman – piano
Grant Luhman – oboe and English horn
Miles Massicotte – piano

February 11, 2018

My New Cosmic Milk Show Features Fire, Fury and the Flaming Lips



I’ve been doing a periodic solo show called the Cosmic Milk With Seth Boustead that primarily features performances of my music but is also a place for me to show off some different parts of my personality, including my sense of humor and, in this case at least, my ability to play pop music on the piano.

Here’s the official description. See you there!


Composer, pianist and radio host Seth Boustead performs a new installment in his Cosmic Milk series featuring an ambitious piano arrangement of the entire iconic Flaming Lips album Yoshimi Battles Pink Robots.

The evening also includes music by Boustead inspired by Barcelona architecture, a certain audio book by Michael Wolff and – why not? – a water nymph.

“Boustead crafts music that is at once lyrical and whimsical,” said someone from the New York Times once.

“Boustead has a penchant for crafting dark, angsty scores,” said the Onions A/V club a while back.

“I don’t know where the sun beams end and the starlight begins, it’s all a mystery,” said Wayne Coyne in 2002.

Saturday, February 17 7:30 PM
Chopin Theater
1543 W. Division St.

February 1, 2018

ACM’s ‘In Stereo’ Concert is Monday Night

In Stereo posterACM’s new series in Chicago, Live at the Davis, continues with a concert of electro-acoustic music performed in a movie theater in surround sound.  I worked hard to find an eclectic mix of electronic music that would be experimental but also fun, in some cases even funny but always groundbreaking.

The show features music by Angelica Negrón, Steven Snowden, Kyong Mee Choi, Kaija Saariaho and the U.S. premiere of a stunning work by Tansy Davies.

More info here!

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