Pics from August’s “Summer Night”

8 09 2009

Before the next Gardner After Hours is upon us in just one short week- we wanted to give a little shout out to everyone who came in August and there are pics too! Thanks for coming!

Check it here online at Stuff Magazine – all photos by the talented Erica Magliaro, Stuff Magazine


Niko Hafkenscheid performing in the musuem's courtyard. Photo by Erica Magliaro.

Gardner After Hours-ites. Photo by Erica

Gardner After Hours-ites. Photo by Erica Magliaro.

Cheers, cheers and see you soon!

Avant Gardner, say what?

1 09 2009

We  gearing up for this month’s GAH (that’s Gardner After Hours, thank you very much!) on September 17.  So put it in your calendars, people! We’re thinking lots about our theme of “Global Muse,” and making final plans for what’s going to be a really fun event.

This is also the kick-off of our new concert series, AVANT GARDNER. We’ve teamed up with Boston’s own Callithumpian Consort to bring you three cutting edge classical concerts throughout the year from some very cool and very modern composers. This season will even include world premieres of three new pieces!

The Callithumpian Consort

The Callithumpian Consort

The evening’s program, entitled NEW JAPAN, will feature innovative works from 20th and 21st century Japanese composers including Kondo’s Aquarelle (1990), and Standing (1973), Hosokawa’s Vertical Time Study I (1992) and Takemitsu’s Toward the Sea (1981). Composer Jo Kondo will be in attendance too if you want to brush shoulders with brilliance!

There’s been a lot of buzz about the series this past week – and who doesn’t like a little buzz? Read more from Art Daily and from The Boston Globe.

Getting After Hours tickets:

Box Office: 617 278 5156
You can also purchase tickets online through the Gardner Museum website.

Tickets on sale at the door, subject to availability.

The circus comes to the Gardner

6 02 2009

Peter Bufano, far right, with members of Cirkestra

Peter Bufano, far right, with members of Cirkestra

Venice is our inspiration for Gardner After Hours this month and it’s time to celebrate Carnevale di Venezia! In that spirit, we’re bringing you a performance by CIRKESTRA, an ensemble made up of the best circus musicians in America that plays an eclectic mix of gypsy, jazz, tango, klezmer, and the ultimately creepy circus waltz.

The Gardner’s Brittany Duncan sat down with Peter Bufano, former circus clown/bandleader/accordionist, to talk about Cirkestra, circus music, and more!

Brittany Duncan: A lot of kids dream of running away to join the circus, but you actually did. How did you get started in the circus?

Peter Bufano: I was born in Bridgeport, CT, the home of P.T. Barnum and the Barnum Museum. My parents took me to the Ringling Brothers circus each year, but they were not circus people or performers of any sort.

My parents really just thought of me as another one of those kids who dreamed about running away with the circus. For my part, no one ever told me that I had to face reality at some point and find something “realistic” to do.

In 1986 I was accepted to Clown College. I was 17 years old.

BD: When and why did you decide to form Cirkestra?

PB: After a performance with the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus in late 2004, Jeff Jenkins, a classmate from Clown College, asked me, “Do you want to do a score for a small European Style bigtop tour this summer?”

That’s when I formed Cirkestra. I told my girlfriend at the time that I wanted to name the band something that could convey a “Circus Orchestra.” She said: “Cirkestra.”

BD: What do you think it is about circus music that people respond to?

PB: In the circus the emotion comes from the music. It works on the audience subconsciously. A circus bandleader is like OZ: “Pay no mind to the man behind the screen.”

BD: How do you think audiences experience your music differently without the visual element of the circus performance?

PB: When started presenting our circus music without the circus, I thought, “This will be cool, because we’ll be able to showcase what we do without being upstaged by the giraffes and acrobats.” Ironically people always come up to me after the show and say, “I can see the giraffes and acrobats in my imagination.”

BD: How do you go about writing a piece of music for a particular circus act?

PB: I watch the act during rehearsal and try to imagine what my music can add to it that’s not already there. I try to get the character or the performer in there so that the music will sound like the person who is performing.

BD: Do you still perform with circuses?

PB: This spring we’re working with Bindlestiff Family Cirkus. Dobson, the drummer, is playing with The Big Apple Circus this. I don’t know when the next time I’ll go out on the road for a few years at a time, if ever, but I guess people will always call me a circus musician.

BD: Tell me a little more about the other four performers who will be joining you for the concert on the 19th.

PB: Käthe Hostetter is the violinist. I have a note I wrote to myself about 4 years ago of “5 year goals” and number one was “play as good as Käthe”. Two years ago, we were on tour with Circus Smirkus, and Käthe found a barber chair in the trash and dragged it from town to town for the rest of the tour. In each town, in the back lot, near the trailers, you could see this out-of-place barber chair out in the field, sometimes with her sitting in it reading a book.

Mike Dobson is the drummer. The thing that really sets him apart is how sensitive he is to melody and phrasing. He is the antithesis of a drum machine. He joined us on Circus Smirkus in 2005. He turned me on to Kanye West.

Sammy Lett (Saxophone, clarinet, flute) was introduced to me by his wife who used to play saxophone in the band. He’s very creative at improvising. Sammy never runs out of ideas, I’m trying to learn how he does it.

Mike Milnarik is a tuba player who just started with Cirkestra. We found him on the internet and he’s never played with a circus, but he’s going to this spring for the first time.

BD: What Cirkestra is up to next?

PB: Keep an eye out for the documentary “Circus Dreams.” We created the soundtrack and we’re releasing it on CD as soon as the movie is released on cable TV.

Cirkestra plays at 7PM on Thursday, February 19th in the Gardner’s Tapestry Room. Intrigued? Buy tickets here! <link to:;

Groove out to your own Wanderlust on September 18!

10 09 2008

Sigh, wanderlust, it’s the best word isn’t it? It conjures up a longing for travel a la On the Road or The Sun Also Rises (hmm…I think my own summer reading is influencing this post!). But seriously, what better way to kick off a new year of After Hours than exploring the idea of travel as a means for soul searching exploration? Of course you can always just come, grab a drink with a friend, check out the galleries and skip the soul searching bit!

Gardner herself was inveterate traveler, heading to Asia for several months during the late 1880s. Who knew that over 130 years later those incredible travels would inspire another person? For those of you haven’t seen artist Luisa Rabbia’s video project Travels with Isabella, the September 18 After Hours is your chance!

Here, Rabbia has created a moving video of images from Gardner’s own travel scrapbooks from her Asia voyage, fused with drawings by Rabbia. Both old and new, this piece is such a great example of the residency program at the museum and how bringing living artists to the museum infuses the Gardner with new ideas and ways of looking.

Dr. Magpie

Also not to miss is our first After Hours PLUS concert by Dr. Magpie, a fantastic string jazz group fresh out of Berklee College of Music.

Named for a bird that chatters and improvises, Dr. Magpie is composed of six of Berklee’s finest string instrument players, who’ve come together to create a sound that draws equally from Appalachia, New York (both uptown AND downtown), and the freewheeling Left Bank of prewar Paris. It includes two fiddles, two guitars, mandolin, and bass!
Julie Crites is Director of Program Planning for the Gardner Museum and the grand pooh-bah of After Hours. An avid food-lover, gallery-goer and jewelry-maker, Julie is the brains behind at least a couple of the sake-tinis you’ll enjoy over the months at After Hours, so raise a glass to her the next time you’re in the courtyard. You can reach her at jcrites at isgm dot org

More on Magnus

15 01 2008

Considering coming to our “Composer Portraits” concert Thursday night? Find out more about Magnus Lindberg, the composer we’ll be profiling, in this article in Sunday’s Boston Globe.

This 49-year-old Finnish composer is a major voice in European music, but one that is heard all too rarely in this country…He wields a technical arsenal of enormous sophistication but his music never comes across as arid or brainy. Saturated with color and textural detail and brimming with a remarkable density of sound, his best works address themselves to a broad audience without descending into a pallid or pandering neo-Romanticism. He is a master of concluding strokes that unlock the mystery of what has just transpired, and few composers can so artfully wed moments of surprise with a forward-rushing sense of destination. And finally, as his various concertos testify, he has created some of the most strikingly virtuosic music for orchestra and solo instruments of the last 20 years.

Read on for more, including thoughts on Lindberg’s early experiences with punk rock and what the northeast corridor has in common with the Silk Road.

Musicians talk about Hemphill

15 10 2007

For Duke Ellington, the pinnacle of praise was to describe a musician as “beyond category.” The late Texas-born saxophonist and composer Julius Hemphill, who came up through the worlds of R&B and jazz, merits the full measure of that Ellingtonian encomium. Read more.

For an article in yesterday’s Globe, jazz correspondent Kevin Lowenthal interviewed a number of the musicians performing this Thursday at After Hours about saxophonist Julius Hemphill’s legacy and impact. Click the link above to read more about what pianist Ursula Oppens and saxophonist Marty Ehrlich, both playing in the 7pm concert “Music of Julius Hemphill,” had to say. You’ll also get another perspective from saxophonist Russ Gershon, who will be playing live in the courtyard from 5-7pm.

Tickets to the 7pm concert are going fast, so act soon if you’re interested in hearing some of Hemphill’s music. The courtyard performance is included with After Hours admission.

Who is Hemphill?

3 10 2007

“Much was made of a four-horn group [Julius Hemphill’s World Saxophone Quartet] working the turf of jazz without a rhythm section. Hemphill insightfully replied that he did not know what all the fuss was about. Nobody pointed to a string quartet to marvel at how well they got along with no rhythm section.”

On October 18, the Gardner will kick off this season’s Composer Portraits series with a concert of music by Julius Hemphill. If you’re a jazz fan, you may know him from the St. Louis-based Black Artists Group, or the revolutionary World Saxophone Quartet. But you may not know that he wrote classical music, too, for string quartet and piano. We’ll be playing it all in the concert at the next After Hours, but until then, a few words about his music from program annotator Ben Young:

Julius HemphillHemphill’s impact and legacy offer different things to different audiences. His identity as a fiery, constructive-minded alto saxophonist powered a substantial part of his recorded output, on which he appears as an improviser but not composer or arranger… Hemphill’s long-form writing for ensemble, with or without his participation as a player, is maybe the hardest subset of his writing to grasp..But the enduring benchmark of Hemphill’s identity as a music-maker is his craftsmanship and style as a jazz composer–arranger, the last giant in the 20th century to make an unmistakably new contribution to the field. This dimension of music making was neglected in the oeuvre that Hemphill entered when he moved to New York in 1973. Only the early work of Butch Morris suggested that there was anyone on the scene paying as much attention to the modernist precepts of beauty, ballad, close harmony, and tight execution.
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