February 3, 2023

The Line-up: Concerts at the Draylen Mason Music Studio


It’s pretty phenomenal that Austin’s independent public classical radio station KMFA 89.5 opened its purpose-built new facility in the midst of the pandemic.

Beyond a massive upgrade to its core function as a 21st-century radio station, the new 20,000-square-foot building on the shores of Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin is poised to be the hub for local classical musicians and composers, especially its centerpiece, the Draylen Mason Music Studio.

The 135-seat acoustically perfect venue is designed to be used for live performance and for recording. It’s named for the 17-year-old musician who was a victim of the Austin package bombings in 2018. A talented bassist, Mason performed with Austin Soundwaves, Austin Youth Orchestra, Austin Chamber Music Center, and had been admitted to several top notch university music programs at the time of his death.

Live concerts in the music studio have just begun with numerous local ensembles and music groups beginning to fill the calendar. Health safety protocols are in place.

Here’s some highlights:

“The Pandemic is a Portal,” Density512 and Less Than 10
Oct. 10
A hybrid in-person and virtual event featuring live music and videos created for online streaming, that ponders the idea that “nothing could be worse than a return to normality.” Through works by Austin composers Matthew Lyons, James Tabata, and Nicholas Perry Clark; works by acclaimed composers Fanny Hensel and George Lewis; and words by Arundhati Roy, Matthew Lyons, and Gwendolyn Brooks, this concert bridges a return and reconciles with the past, present, and future of the pandemic.

“Good Country,” a chamber opera
Oct. 17
LOLA (Local Opera Local Artists), in collaboration with composer Keith Allegretti and librettist Celcelia Raker, to offer a workshop performance of the new chamber opera “Good Country.” The opera is about Charley Parkhurst, a transgender man who was a stagecoach driver during the California Gold Rush era beginning in 1849.

The Alex Coke and Carl Michel Sextet
Oct. 20
CD release concert of “The Emissary.” Saxophonist-flutist Coke and guitarist Michel bring together a group that includes Austin Symphony principal harpist Elaine Barber, pedal steel player Bob Hoffnar (Liminal Sound Series), double bassist James Suter, and percussionist Carolyn Trowbridge on vibes.

Carpe Diem String Quartet: American Favorites
Nov. 12-13, Live and virtual tickets available
new and classic American works Amy Beach, Korine Fujiwara, Jonathan Bingham and Antonín Dvorák ‘American’ String Quartet No. 12. Presented by Austin Chamber Music Center.

Nov. 21
Percussionist, audio engineer, collective member, and Density512 collective member Jordan Walsh performs the newest iteration of his Electronic Integration Project (EIP), an ongoing  effort to expand the reach of electronic music in classical settings. “BATTERY_CRITICAL” will be presented with no audio engineer and no lifeline, just a performer and his laptop.

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