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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

About Last Night: Next Wave Festival Kickoff Party

by Allison Kadin

Philip Glass, Nico Muhly, David Cossin, Timo Andres, and Steve Reich perform Four Organs. Photo: Stephanie Berger

The lobby was abuzz hours before the first notes of the first of three Philip Glass and Steve Reich reunion concerts. The all-ages audience waited anxiously at the Opera House doors, bedecked with Nonesuch musicians, for an historic opening evening of the 2014 Next Wave Festival as well as Nonesuch Records at BAM, a celebration of the label’s 50 years in the industry.  Brad Mehldau inaugurated the Harvey Theater across the street with exhilarating improvisations and interpretations of Stone Temple Pilots, Sufjan Stevens, and more.

After rousing encores, guests found their way to the Lepercq Space (aka BAMcafé) to celebrate the evening, Nonesuch and Next Wave.

BAM President Karen Brooks Hopkins, Philip Glass, Nonesuch President Bob Hurwitz,
Steve Reich, BAM Executive Producer Joseph V Melillo. Photo: Elena Olivo

•    The stars of the evening: Philip Glass, Steve Reich, and Brad Mehldau
•    Nonesuch Records execs: President Bob Hurwitz, Vice President David Bither, Vice President of Marketing Peter Clancey, and Director of Publicity Melissa Cusick
•    BAMmies: Board Chair Alan Fishman, Executive Producer Joe Mellilo, President Karen Brooks Hopkins.
•    More than 18 Musicians: Nico Muhly, Timo Andres, Reggie Watts, Tristan Perich, and so many more from the Philip Glass Ensemble and Steve Reich’s Musicians.

Timo Andres, Steve Reich, Brad Mehldau. Photo: Elena Olivo
Philip Glass and Steve Reich. Photo: Elena Olivo
Nonesuch Vice President David Bither, Brad Mehldau, and Nonesuch President Bob Hurwitz. Photo: Elena Olivo
Joe Melillo and Nico Muhly. Photo: Elena Olivo

President of Nonesuch Records, Bob Hurwitz, made the rounds with the many Nonesuch musicians he calls “family,” Nico Muhly reveled late into the night, and a number of guests paid homage to their modern music hero, Steve Reich, by wearing his signature baseball cap.

Alan Fishman opened the evening with remarks honoring Philip Glass and Steve Reich, each of whom played a large part in his love of the arts. Joe Melillo reflected on their long history at BAM, mentioning that Glass opened the first Next Wave Festival in 1983 and Reich played “Drumming” in 1971 in the BAM Playhouse (now the BAM Rose Cinemas). Bob Hurwitz spoke of the deep relationship between BAM and Nonesuch and thanked Warner Music, the party's sponsors, for being so supportive throughout the years. In closing, Phil and Steve provided anecdotes about their time at BAM: Glass calls BAM his “first home” and Steve “owes a great debt of gratitude” to his loyal friend, Karen Brooks Hopkins.

FUN FACTS:  Both David Bither and Melissa Cusick of Nonesuch held positions at BAM before moving onto Nonesuch.

OVERHEARD: “The dessert game tonight is impeccable,” one satiated guest mentioned on his way out of the party. Guests noshed on small bites from the countries of Next Wave visiting companies, including pork belly on Chinese scallion pancakes and duck confit à la française. Others commented on the floral designs aptly incorporating old records into the intricate, massive works by Fleurs Bella.


Our friends at Magic Hat provided a sampling of the evening’s libation, #9. Photo: Elena Olivo

ON THE DECK: Warner Music Group put together a playlist of Nonesuch Records tracks for the evening. You can listen along here:

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