East Bank Music is a curated music series offered by the Church of the Ascension in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
The Church of the Ascension strives to be a place of engagement for the arts and all else that nurtures life, vibrancy, and justness. Under the Church’s generous auspices, East Bank Music aims to enrich the wider community of Greenpoint by representing the musical genres thriving in the neighborhood while offering a performance and rehearsal space for independent musical artists. The hope is to bring together members of the Church, Greenpoint residents, and audiences from across the city.
Weeknight concerts focus on experimental genres and new sounds from the contemporary folk, jazz, and classical worlds while Sunday afternoon community concerts highlight mainstays of the classical repertoire. A dedication to original composition and interpretation unites the wide array of performers presented as part of the series.
East Bank Music and the Church of the Ascension support local businesses, and all are welcome. All shows are $10 suggested donation. Concerts are curated by Julia Den Boer and Jude Webre, for submissions and information email music at ascension.org
*** The church is currently in a deal for a full renovation. The fact that we are unclear about the start and finish dates of work has made it impossible to plan a new series at this point. The East Bank series will continue once our renovations are initiated and concluded. Below you will see our offerings over the last year.
Friday February 28th 8pm + Two Dark Birds/Slowness
Two Dark Birds features the songs and lyrics of Steve Koester, who has made music over the past decade and a half as a solo artist and with the bands Punchdrunk and Maplewood. His songs have also appeared in movies (most notably Sidney Lumet’s Before the Devil Knows Your Dead and SherryBaby). Part folk, part soul, part indie, part Americana, part psychedelic rock, Two Dark Birds’ sound holds you in a warm embrace. Songs for the New, their second album and “little mountain magnum opus,” draws on a wide palette (including horns & strings), a broad scope (from ballads to burners), and big themes (nature, relationships, family). It evokes the Catskill Mountains from whence it came and stands in the grand tradition of folk-rock from that area (The Band, Karen Dalton, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison) while doing something new with the form. Two Dark Birds is Steve Koester (vocals, guitar), Jason Mills (drums), Don Piper (lap steel, vocal harmonies ), Jude Webre (bass ), and Matt Trowbridge (piano).
Slowness is a drone pop band from San Francisco, formed by Julie Lynn and Geoffrey Scott in 2008. The group’s first EP, Hopeless but Otherwise, was produced by Monte Vallier (Weekend, The Soft Moon, Tommy Guerrero) and mastered by Kramer (Low, Galaxie 500, Bongwater). After touring America, Slowness began working on their debut LP, For Those Who Wish to See the Glass Half Full, released on vinyl in March, 2013 with Blue Aurora Audio. The eight-song LP is reminiscent of IRS-era REM, early Stereolab and mid-period Cure. The group is currently working on their sophomore effort to be released in April 2014.
Friday March 14th 8pm + Jay Sorce
Jay Sorce is a classical guitarist noted for his “unique blend of refinement, intensity, and virtuosic technique”. An accomplished soloist and ensemble musician specializing in contemporary music, Jay has been featured in concerts and festivals in the US, Canada, and Europe. Jay is currently completing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Stony Brook University, with Jerry Willard. He earned his MM from the University of Arizona, in Tucson, where he studied with Tom Patterson, and BM from the Manhattan School of Music where he studied with Oren Fader and David Starobin. Jay is currently a faculty member of SUNY Suffolk. Jay Sorce will perform works by Bach, Britten, Antonio and Davidovsky.
Friday April 4th 8pm + Ghost Ensemble
Founded in 2012, Ghost Ensemble explores experimental and experiential music. The ensemble approaches the musical event as a holistic experience, drawing from experimental practices, theoretical ideas, and ancient traditions to create a synthesis in which the unity of the sensory experience is paramount. With this guiding principle, Ghost Ensemble’s music is united by the essence of its effect.
Ghost Ensemble is Martha Cargo (flute), Sky Macklay (oboe), Hannah Levinson (viola), Joshua Morris (contrabass), Ben Richter (accordion), Somna M Bulist (harp), Joe Tucker (percussion), and Damon Loren Baker (percussion). The ensemble will be joined for this performance by cellist Meaghan Burke.
Ghost Ensemble will present works by Somna M Bulist, Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe, Matthew Sargent, John Cage, Giacinto Scelsi and Ben Richter.
Friday April 25th 8pm + Kinga Augustyn and Eugene Muneyoshi Takahashi
Award winning Polish-born and New York City-based violinist Kinga Augustyn has been described as “an adventurous performer valuable to New York’s scene” (NY Concert Review), “a violinist for whom nothing seems too difficult” (Nowy Dziennik Polish Daily News), “stylish and vibrant” (The Strad Magazine), and “beyond amazing, one hell of a violinist!” (The Fanfare Magazine). In addition to her many orchestra appearances, she maintains a busy concert schedule as a recitalist and chamber musician with appearances at Carnegie Hall (in both the Stern Auditorium and the Weill Recital Hall), Alice Tully Hall, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Merkin Hall, The Kosciuszko Foundation, Bargemusic, The Aspen Music Festival, The Polish Embassy in Washington, DC, and the Preston Bradley Hall at Chicago’s Cultural Center (Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts Series), among others. She has also performed as a featured artist at music festivals such as the Paderewski Festival, the Sevenars Music Festival, the Chopin & Friends Festival, and the Emerson Quartet International Chamber Music Festival. Committed to increasing awareness of music by Polish composers, as well as promoting contemporary music, she has premiered and recorded Michael White’s works composed especially for her: his Sonata for Violin and Piano (2009), Trio Sonata (2008), and the Quartet for Piano and Strings. Ms. Augustyn’s new album of Polish Violin Music was released in June of 2013 on Naxos, and her new contemporary music CD will come out in 2014.
Eugene Muneyoshi Takahashi has been enjoying a versatile career both in the US and abroad. Born in Kanagawa, Japan, he started his violin study at age three. Prior to relocating to the US, he actively free-lanced in Tokyo playing with major orchestras and also working in the recording industry. He has played for over 600 recordings for movies, TV shows, commercials and pop artists. Now he is based in New York and continues his adventure in music and life. He plays at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Merkin Hall and Symphony Space. He is member of the Albany Symphony Orchestra and Iris String Quartet. The 2012-13 season was highlighted by a Carnegie Hall concert with the Albany Symphony Orchestra; the Bahama Tour with Ensemble du Monde; five performances in Scotland with violinist Tatsuya Yamauchi; and a performance with the GPR Festival String Quartet covered by NY 1 and the New York Times. His foreign engagements in 2014 include a performance in Tokyo, Japan and a concert with Iris String Quartet in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Friday May 2nd 8pm + Ben von Wildenhaus/Leyna Marika Papach
Benjamin von Wildenhaus. His name sounds like a turn-of-the-century Prussian duke or peddler of curios, snakeoil and ersatz jewelry. Maybe not such a bad set of images to start by thinking about, rather than all his influences or whatever. Ben Wildenhaus is a guitar player, pianist and all-‘round musical dude, on par with modern guys like Alan Bishop and older ones like Sandy Bull. All three were drawn to the vast space, windblown grit and non-Western twang of desert guitar/oud music. All three instead took gracefully and intuitively to the music’s deeper structure—hazy or unmarked beginnings and endings, subtle dynamic rise and ebb, and unhurried play—and adapted it into their own idiom.Wildenhaus’s background includes some formal training and tours, beers and bands beyond number (notably, the blown-out fuzz of 2000s Northwest giants Federation X, or the country and western Quaalude County Country Band and Juanita Family and Friends). More recently, he has lent hands to established non-indie rock groups and artists like Bar Tabac, Two Dark Birds and Ozan Aksoy’s CUNY Middle Eastern Music Ensemble. His first album, Great Melodies From Around appeared as a cassette in 2010, and was released on Riot Bear in 2011.
Leyna Marika Papach is a composer, video artist and performer from Japan and the United States. She has made numerous soundtracks for video/film, theater and dance productions, and her video work as well as her musical theater pieces has been performed in both western and eastern Europe as well as the United States and Japan. As a violinist and improviser, she performs regularly both solo and in collaboration. She studied violin performance in the United States and the Czech Republic, and has a MA in theater from Das Arts, School of Advanced Theater Studies in Amsterdam, Holland. She recently completed a residency in Japan where she researched traditional shinto music and reconnected with her family, which for many generations has been the keeper of the Sarutahiko Shrine in Ise-Jingu, a holy area in Mie preficture where many Shinto shrines reside.
Friday May 9th 8pm + Plankton Wat/Gospel of Mars
Portland musician Dewey Mahood is one of the most versatile and prolific musicians in the modern psychedelic underground. As Plankton Wat, he has explored the outer reaches of folk and synthesized drift since the mid-aughts, and his dedication to improvisation above all else, his restless exploratory spirit, has earned him his place as a dark horse in the continuum of contemporary sonic explorers. His guitar style is as far reaching as ever on his recent Thrill Jockey release, Drifter’s Temple, which shows him seamlessly integrating his love of the Appalachian folk music of Dock Boggs and Roscoe Holcomb into the subtle Grateful Dead-isms, nods to ‘70s cosmic music, and overt Crazy Horse moves he has explored on recent releases.
Gospel of Mars is Aaron Moore on drums, Jef Brown on sax and guitar, the double bass of Bob Jones and most recently the soprano and alto sax of Marcus Cummins: “Our music is informed by the rich history of our lives and experience. Our music is post jazz.”
May 30th 8pm + Dorothea Hayley
Praised for her “very personal creative power” (Badener Zeitung), Canadian soprano Dorothea Hayley has been a soloist with the Vancouver Symphony, the Bourgas Symphony and Capriccio Basel, and has appeared in recital in Europe, Asia and North and South America. She has performed in festivals such as the Happening Festival, Gulangyu Piano Festival, Performer’s Voice Symposium, New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival and the Atempo Festival of Caracas, and with organizations like the SMCQ, Chants Libres, CIRMMT, Codes d’accès, Vancouver New Music, the NOW Orchestra and the Land’s End Ensemble. She is also the Co-Artistic Director of the Blueridge International Chamber Music Festival. Dorothea pursued vocal studies at McGill University, the University of British Columbia, and the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien, and has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Koerner Foundation, and the Conseil des arts et des letters du Québec. She holds a Doctor of Music degree from Université de Montréal. Mrs Hayley will present a program of solo vocal works by Berio, Rivas and Aperghis.