ListN Up: Grace Parisi (December 16, 2022)

ListN Up is a series of artist-curated playlists that offer an intimate sonic portrait of contemporary artists by showcasing the diverse and stylistically varied music that influences their creative practice. 

Originally from Veracruz, Mexico, Grace Parisi is a creative arts executive who has led initiatives to diversify offerings of top-level classical music institutions. Most recently, Parisi stewarded the Look + Listen Festival, as executive director, into its highly acclaimed 20th-anniversary final year, and launched the visual art career of MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant winner Cécile McLorin Salvant. Parisi’s previous roles have been with Jazz at Lincoln Center, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and Trinity Wall Street Music.

Hello! My name is Grace Parisi and I am the executive director for the Look + Listen Festival. For the last 20 years, we have presented dozens of concerts featuring incredible musicians in some really cool art spaces. Like all good things, everything must come to an end. However, we can keep the festivals spirit alive by listening to recordings made by those artists that have been a part of our 20-year journey. I hope you enjoy this playlist which showcases the artistry of some of our absolute favorites.

“Dam mwen yo” by Nathalie Joachim, performed by Seth Parker Woods (2019 L+L Festival)

Dam mwen yo in Haitian Creole simply translates to “my ladies.” This piece is an ode to the women that shaped and influenced composer Nathalie Joachim. This piece is a beautiful poem and Seth’s playing is dreamy.

“Merienda” by Susie Ibarra, performed by Susie Ibarra, Claire Chase, Alex Peh, Fumi Tanakadate, Karou Watanabe, and Alicia Hall Moran (2018 L+L Festival)

This version of Merienda is quite special because it features Karou Watanabe, Fumi Tanakadate, and Alicia Hall Moran. The piece was originally meant to be performed by Susie Ibarra, Claire Chase and Alex Peh; however, during sound check Susie and Karou had the brilliant idea of playing together. It was a huge surprise for the audience. Everyone loved it.

“Springs” by Paul Lansky, performed by Sō Percussion (2017 L+L Festival)

My first time attending a Look and Listen Festival was this show at BRIC House in 2017. Sō Percussion commissioned Springs, and this was the NY premiere. Springs is a rollercoaster of sounds and dynamics, a “harmonious cacophony” as described by Lansky.

“Inscriptions” by Shulamit Ran, performed by Miranda Cuckson (2015 L+L Festival)

This piece consists of three short movements for solo violin. This is a very technically-challenging, lyrical, expressive, and dramatic piece; you must dominate your instrument to play it. Miranda does it effortlessly and with such finesse.

“Mobius” by Phyllis Chen and Robert Dietz, performed by ICE members (2014 L+L Festival)

Phyllis Chen was the festival’s first Artistic Director. Before Phyllis, there was a collective of composers that curated the festival. I had the great pleasure of working with Phyllis in the 2018 festival. She is one of the most grounded and humble artists I know.

“Frayed” by Hannah Lash, performed by JACK Quartet (2010 L+L Festival)

JACK Quartet is one of our favorite groups and we always had fun presenting them. In the 2010 L+L Festival, they performed the world premiere of Frayed. I included a studio recording of this piece from JACK’s album Filigree which is a collection of music by composer Hannah Lash. Go check it out!

“Vermont Rules” by Joan Jeanrenaud (2005 L+L Festival)

If I could go back in time to April 14, 2005, I would love to have been at this concert: solo music by Joan Jeanrenaud, selections of Meredith Monk’s film Book of Days (performed by Monk herself) and music by Nancarrow and Feldman interpreted by the amazing Daedalus Quartet. Oh, and the host for the evening was Steven Mackey.

“Black Angels” by George Crumb, performed by Daedalus Quartet (2003 L+L Festival)

The quartet performed Black Angels in front of the maestro himself back in the 2003 Look + Listen Festival. Can you imagine playing this beast of a piece in front of Crumb? At that point, Black Angels had been around (it was written in 1970). It must have been a very special evening. Sadly, we don’t have any recordings but I found this awesome version.

“Book of Days” by Meredith Monk (2005 L+L Festival)

Meredith Monk performed selections from her film Book of Days in the 2005 Look + Listen Festival. Enjoy the trailer.


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