Our first stop. Finally, we arrived after missing our connection flight in London and waiting in many lines to get rebooked, do the security check again and at last queuing in an endless line at immigrations. Getting off the subway and breathing the air of New York again after six years, immediately took me back. This smell you just get in NY, this smell is NY. It is really hot, the city is loud, noisy, and expensive and in every dimension overwhelming. Our jetlag isn’t helping. The people on the other hand are kind and helpful. It seems that they got used to the idea of having unbearable noise around them all the time. They duck and don’t listen, shutting their senses to stay sane and to save energy. We do that, too. The little one is using earplugs when riding the oldest subway on earth.
My first concert is taking place at the Austrian Cultural Forum New York. We concepted it as a gallery walk through. After some issues with the sound system, the sound engineer, working on his first day, found a solution and I get to premiere a new piece written by myself.
As I feel deeply connected to Austrian folk music, I wanted to take a little bit of it with me, so I would be able to play it wherever I am. Some people might take books or their most beloved stuff with them, but I take music to stay connected to my roots. So I dared to include an Austrian Jodler in a piece of new music. Back home, I recorded the sound of the river Erlauf. These sound samples imitate a plain bass line and allow me to play the two upper voices simultaneously with the use of multiphonics.
Directly after I finished my concert, an elderly man from the audience walks towards me and confronts me: „Do you think this music will last the next 100 years? Why do you play such music? What do the composers think when they write something like that?“
Feeling attacked, I replied that in my opinion music is here to create emotions and that my intention as a performer is to let the audience feel something. And all feelings are valuable. ( It doesn’t have to be just happy pink fluffy rabbits.) He conters: „And what if it is disgust?“ Well, if it’s disgust then there you have your emotion! Back when Stravinsky and Schönberg premiered their pieces audiences ended up fighting in riots against each other. And I would be happy if that ever happened after a concert of mine.