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Stumbling Into a New Architecture of Music

Convergence is where you find it, scheduled or not
Wayne Alan Brenner, 1:05pm, Wed. Aug. 8, 2012
Always new directions.
In any city with a live music scene, it's always retreaded: The line about how it's impossible to turn around without tripping over a bass player.

Muy fucking droll, right?

And maybe in other cities you can go to see a pair of visual arts exhibitions without running athwart a new-music vocal ensemble rehearsing for a performance that will feature instruments created specifically for parts of that performance … but you can't, or at least I couldn't, do that in Austin.

Note: There are two art shows currently at the Mexican American Cultural Center. Their power and beauty has already been covered right here. And it was while going to see those shows that I stumbled upon a convergence.

Actually: Convergence.

They're a group of vocalists working along the borders of the classical tradition, the early-music tradition, but with a thoroughly modern and sonically exploring sensibility. It seemed as if – I thought, watching & listening to them rehearse a few pieces – Conspirare had collided with the Church of the Friendly Ghost.

Convergence's executive director Beth Beauchamp, who'd welcomed me into the auditorium after she noticed me lurking about after perusing Matthew Bonifacio Rodriguez's "Scruffy Kitty" show in the MACC's Community Gallery, laughed in partial agreement. And told me how, in fact, many of the singers performed regularly with Conspirare – as well as with acclaimed vocal groups around the world.

And so Convergence is a sort of splinter group, or maybe a supergroup, of these professional vocalists and instrumentalists – and they've recently converged in the ATX and are planning on several events in the near future.

And it was a pity – seriously: Because the music sounded eerie and lovely, the voices superb, the instruments (among them a set of just-designed objects called skiffs, and a percussive thing known as the Owl) as beautiful as they were intriguing – it was a pity that I was already scheduled to attend two other shows. And so had to miss the Convergence show Vessel at the MACC that night.

Luckily, O interested reader, NewMusicBox's Andrew Sigler has reviewed Vessel – and his thoughtful consideration can be reached by clicking these words.

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