Hey there, reader/listener/new friend!

Thanks for stopping in! All of us here at Loop38 firmly believe that it’s much easier to enjoy a concert when you have some background in what you’re about to hear and why it’s incredible! SO, leading up our concerts this year, I will be posting these short little tidbits about our featured composers. Hoping that this will feel like you’re chilling with a friend, getting psyched about great music! Feel free to take a peak, have a listen, and get a taste for what’s to come!

Our upcoming concert BEHIND THE SCENES, BEHIND THE SOUNDS, on November 14 features performances of electro acoustic works by Maja Ratkje, Ashley Fure, and Lewis Nielson.


Today we’re going to be getting to know the final featured composer on our November 14th program: Lewis Nielson! We were lucky enough to have Lewis come and visit us this past weekend to offer valuable insight on his piece USW.

When he isn’t coming to Houston to ~hang~ Nielson is busy doing all sorts of not-so-low-key incredible things. He was the chair of the composition department at Oberlin College, had received numerous awards, and has had his works recorded and performed by symphonies and groups across the United States and the world. His music is infused with the picturesque and the political, his work that we will be performing on Wednesday is no different.

Since we had Nielson captive for a couple days, I was lucky enough to have him answer some relevant (and maybe not so relevant) questions

Which composers have inspired your work?

Not many composers, really.  If anyone, Helmut Lachenmann and his ability to do what is necessary, not what others would do regarding the present day.  I love the music of my friend Reiko Füting in NYC--he's one of the few I listen to these days. Mostly, I spend my time listening to Renaissance polyphony (Ockeghem and Dufay mainly), some Bach, some Beethoven and Chopin piano music.  The present is too present. The past helps me hear without being influenced by the actual materials.

What is your favourite piece of music theatre/opera/performance art etc?

In history, [Mozart’s] “Die Zauberflöte” for sure; in present  “Das Mädchen mit dem Schwefelhölzern”, although I've seen two productions and the staging didn't do justice to the music

Favourite food?

India India India!!!

Favourite city?

Amsterdam......although there's also Berlin.

How did you find Houston on your little visit!!

Wetter and colder than I had thought it would be!  I live in Vermont now and I was expecting some heat..

Nielson’s work that we will be performing on Wednesday is USW, a multimedia chamber opera based on the life of revolutionary Rosa Luxembourg. Nielson himself combined fragmentary passages in several languages from Luxemburg, Karl Marx, German poet Georg Trakl and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The overall work is striking in it’s beauty as well as it’s affect. If that hasn’t peaked your interest, our bassist Austin will also be singing in the work! You do not want to miss this, he sounds fantastic.

So, all in all, if you like well-written, beautiful, and arresting political music, you NEED to know the works of Neilson. Luckily for you, you can come get to know them with us! So, you know the drill:

Hope to see you there tomorrow (!!!)

Xx ally xx