I am currently at the Cortona Sessions, in Tuscany, which is partly about new music and partly about drinking red wine and eating incredible pasta and gelato. Basically, la vita è dolce. Everything is local, except the music (which, of course, is also incredible). I have had the opportunity to spend some time listening to the music of Forrest Pierce, and have fallen deeply for it--Forrest's music is, to put it simply, deep. It reaches for a spiritual core in the simplest and most sincere way possible. I don't think my music will be the same after hearing it.
Two weeks ago I had another life-changing musical experience, at the New Music On The Point Festival in Vermont. The JACK Quartet, artists-in-residence, performed almost every night--a rare chance to hear one of the best quartets in the world play tons and tons of new music. The highlight, by far, was their performance of Iannis Xenakis' "Tetras", perhaps the most viscerally, head-banging-ly gripping piece of music I've ever heard. It's the kind of piece that, when it's done, all you can say is "wow, what the hell just happened to me." Go listen to it here.
Tomorrow is a day trip to Florence! I can't wait to see the glorious city of the Medicis and eat bistecca fiorentina.