Thursday, July 30, 2009

Peacefest Concerts @ Music Island July 31, Aug 1

FRIDAY JULY 31, 2009
10:00 am Naftali Torok
11:00 am Cindy Ecksol

12:00 pm SLT Benito Flores
2:00 pm SLT Enniv Zarf

For the second year in a row Music Island is delighted to host a number of concerts as part of SL Peacefest. With all the proceeds going to selected organizations working for global peace, this is a chance to feel good and do good at the same time.

On Friday the focus will be on world music with Naftali Torok's European folk fiddle at 10 am SLT, followed by Cindy Ecksol's American folk roots music at 11 am.

Saturday the mood turns classical with Italian pianist Benito Flores at 12 noon SLT and composer/pianist Enniv Zarf at 2 pm.

Check the Peace Fest blog for the full weekend schedule

Charlie Navarathna films Jaworower concert

It's hard to convey the experience of a virtual concert to those who are not active within Second Life. Thank you Charlie for filming Izabel's concert and sharing it with the world.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Enniv Zarf, piano August 1 @ 2 pm

Have you missed Enniv?

I know I have! The seemingly irrepressible Second Life artist simply wore himself out with all his activities in two worlds. I don't know of anyone in SL that has been more active. Enniv composes, performs, hosted an SL television program, did machinama and was an important part of the SL Shakespeare company.... phew makes me tired just listing the things he has been involved with.

After a two month break Enniv's back and I am so pleased that--while he's determined to cut back for the sake of his own health and sanity-- he has agreed to perform on Music Island.

Everytime Enniv has brought a project to Music Island, it has been something new and exciting. The last time Enniv performed at Music Island, he wanted to be inspired by the audience. I found a collaborative online writing site SKRBL and we were able to project the collaborative writing onto the screen for Enniv to relate to musically.

Previously Enniv has worked with particle artists, sculptors and photographers to create events that push the limits far beyond what is possible in real life.

What is his plan for August 1? Join us and see.

Enniv Zarf/Paul Kwo has studied piano since he was five and he has received a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano and a Master of Music in Composition from the University of Southern California.

He has studied composition with Frank Ticheli, Tamar Diesendruck and David Fick; piano, with Norman Krieger, Lucinda Carver, Francois Regnat and Charles Fierro; Jazz voice, with Matt Falker; Jazz piano, with Russ Ferrante. He has also had the opportunity to work with Bernard Rands, Steven Hartke, Menachem Wiesenberg, David Tcimpidis and Chen Yi. Paul has also studied acting with Joseph Hacker, Jack Rowe, Michael Keenan, Palmer Fuller and Jan Hennigan, and playwriting with Velina Houston.

As a composer, his piece Nanking 1937- recieved the Jimmy McHugh Composition Prize, Endowed by Lucille Meyers at USC. The piece also was placed among the top seven by the New York Youth Symphony's 2006 First Music Competition receiving a special recognition. Also in 2005 Paul's Ancient Sacrament for the Organic Machine was placed among the top seven by NYYS's 2005 First Music competition. The piece led him to be a finalist in the 2004 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Awards . Furthermore, ERM Media's has awarded his Ancient Sacrament for the Organic Machine to be included in their 'Masterworks of the New Era' Volume Ten, recorded with the Kiev Philharmonic to be released in 2007. Even while he was a senior in Gabrielino High School , Paul was given the opportunity to provide the arrangement of the Alma Mater for the Band. His symphonic poem Maganddore was accepted by USC's New Music for Orchestra concert in 2006. His music was also performed at the Society of Composer Inc. Region VI Conference at Rice University Syzygy Concert (New Music at Rice) 2006, and his solo piano work Surge has been performed by Chenny Gan at Wintergreen Performing Arts on February 25, 2006 at Wintergreen, Virginia, and has been recorded and released on her 2006 Solo Piano Album.

His career as a pianist has allowed him to perform several of his own compositions at various venues. In addition, he has performed under the batons of Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Larry Livingston, Robert Reynolds, Carl St. Clair, Shelly Berg, Don Crockett and Timothy Su, and alongside Yo-Yo Ma and Chinese singer Wei Wei. He is also very active as a pianist and teacher in Southern California.

He is currently working in Los Angeles as an Actor/Filmmaker/Musician/Educator along with being inside the virtual world of Second Life as the above along as an Entrepreneur and Visual Artist.

Benito Flores, piano Sat Aug 1 @ 12 pm

The rising star of the Italian piano keyboard returns to the Music Island stage in support of the Peace Festival (additional Peace Festival events will be happening at Music Island, throughout the Cedar Island region and across Second Life)

About the Artist:

ALESSANDRO MARANGONI pianoforte (Benito Flores in Second Life)

Alessandro Marangoni was born in Italy, in 1979. He studied piano with Marco Vincenzi, obtaining a diploma with honours (summa cum laude) and he studied with Maria Tipo and Pietro De Maria at Scuola di Musica di Fiesole.

He is graduated with honours in Philosophy at Università di Pavia , with a thesis about the philosophy of music by Fernando Liuzzi, as a merit scholar of Almo Collegio Borromeo, one of the most ancient and important italian colleges.

After several national and international awards, he has appeared in many recitals, chamber music concerts and concerts with orchestra in different important musical centres and associations throughout Italy, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland and Great Britain: recently he played with Orchestra Filarmonica of Turin, Associazione Musicale Lucchese, Fondazione Walton in Ischia, Cittadella in Assisi, Engadiner Internationale Kammermusik-Festspiele, Sagra Musicale Umbra, Italian Cultural Institute in London, Teatro Dal Verme in Milan, Saint John’s College in Cambridge etc. achieving both critical and popular success.

He has always dedicated substantial time to chamber music: with the cellist Vittorio Ceccanti, with Nuovo Quartetto Italiano, with the flutists Mario Ancillotti and Stefano Parrino, with the singers Daria Masiero and Carlo Zardo. He played Mozart’s Concertos K 449 & K 271 on tour with Amadeus Kammerorchester Salzburg (Mozarteum), conducted by Simone Fontanelli.

He playedwith great critical acclaim in Spain with Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra and in Bratislava with Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by the great Italian conductor Aldo Ceccato. He has recently started an artistic cooperation with the actress Valentina Cortese for future projects.

Since 2006 Alessandro has been the pianist of Trio Albatros Ensemble who perform the works of many Italian composers such as Bettinelli, Chailly, Mosca, Gaslini, Solbiati, Festa etc. who have also written some original works for this ensemble. Alessandro has recorded all the "Peches de vieillesse" by Rossini (on Naxos) and previously released a CD of the piano works by Victor de Sabata (La Bottega Discantica), for the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his death.

Izabela Jawororer, violin July 25 @ 12 pm

Izabela has been performing one movement of the Four Seasons each season throughout the past year, beginning with "Winter" in December '08. Here in high summer, she brings us the third movement, with complementary repertoire for a hot weekend at Music Island.


Izabela Spiewak (Izabela Jawororer in SL) started her career as a winner of the Wieniawski/Lipinski Competition at the age of 17, in Poland. She is a graduate of the State Music School for gifted children which she joined at the age of 8 and attended for 12 years on full scholarship. Subsequently she earned a Performing Artists' Degree with honors from the acclaimed Warsaw Conservatory. Ms. Spiewak recorded for Polish Radio and TV and was part of the Polish Radio and TV Orchestra.

Ms. Spiewak was offered a full scholarship to the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute under the direction of Leonard Bernstein and Michael Tilson Thomas. She studied and performed with distinguished masters such as Menachem Pressler, Martha Argerich, Lynn Harrell and Pinchas Zuckerman. She recorded with Leonard Bernstein, Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, YoYo Ma and Yehudi Menuhin. She was privileged to play for Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton, and the Pope John Paul II. She is an active recitalist and a leader of the Arcangelo Piano Quartet (since 1997). In addition to her busy performing career, she keeps a prominent teaching studio where she shares her expertise with talented young violinists.

To attend events in Second Life it is necessary to download the free software available @ and establish an account.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cindy Ecksol, Roots of American Music Sunday July 19 @ 12 pm SLT

Cindy Ecksol has been making and teaching music with voice, autoharp, fiddle and a variety of other instruments for as long as she can remember. She is particular interested in traditional music of many varieties, and her repertoire includes everything from Irish tunes and Israeli dance music played on autoharp to dark Appalachian fiddle tunes from the mountains of West Virginia. But her playful side can't resist amusing modern songs about real life, which somehow co-exist with folk songs from long ago.

Note: To attend a virtual concert in Second Life you must download the free SL viewer and set up your free Second Life avatar account. If you are new in SL and want to be added to the Music Island group or want help getting to the concert, just search on Kate Miranda in the Second Life Search Engine and send me a message. The Slurl for Music Island is:

Interested in Performing on Music Island?

So you want to play a concert on Music Island? That's great! We need more musicians, more music, more art in Second Life. It is not possible to have too much and there's a place that fits everyone to showcase their art. But is Music Island the right venue for you and your music?

Here's a few FAQ's?

What kind of music do you present at Music Island?
Music Island is a venue for classical music, art music, experimental music, world music and multi-media art.

What is the format of concerts at Music Island?
The venue resembles a summer music festival environment. The atmosphere is relaxed but audience members are seated and listen to the music. Performers usually introduce their works and provide some informative commentary on composers, period, technique, or their own thoughts on the music between selections.

Is there any type of music that you would not present at Music Island?
Music Island does not compete with commercial clubs and dance venues in Second Life. There are tons of clubs with dance balls and flashing lights. They are great, but they are not us.

How do you choose the artists that perform at Music Island?
Mostly through word-of-mouth from our regular performers and audience members. You can send me a link to your music online or an invite to one of your Second Life concerts. If you have a project or a collaboration you'd like to discuss, I'd love to hear about it. I'd much more prefer to speak directly to musicians than SL artist managers.

I'm a new musician in Second Life. What do I need to know?
You need to learn how to stream reliably to a Shoutcast server. There is information in this blog and also a notecard available at Music Island.

What does Music Island provide to artists performing there?
  1. 1000 listener reliable stream from the Stream Team (one of SL most respected stream providers)
  2. promotion: Online listings, several music groups inworld including our own group, Twitter & other social media, signage, CD table with links to your site for record sales, promotional T-shirts
  3. good audiences--we have attracted a community of friendly, enthusiastic people
  4. event coordination, greeting, traffic control, ejection of troublemakers and griefers, stream re-set if required
  5. Artists keep all their tips
What does Music Island not provide?
We do not have any funding or commercial activity to enable us to pay any artistic fees. Music Island was originally founded along the principles of an artist collective, a showcase for artists with content determined by artists.

Are all your performers professional musicians?
Most of our performers are professionals. Some are semi-professional and a very few are experienced amateurs or advanced music students.

Are all concerts live?
All concerts have a live component. The realities and economics of SL concerts mean that musicians frequently use pre-recorded accompaniments. Sometimes we have presented "composer chats" in which all or some of the works are recorded and presented by the composer in dialogue with the audience.

I can stream music but I don't have any (instrument, animations, set up) for my avatar. Is this okay?
No. There are many makers of instruments in SL. It is possible to find scripted instruments at a very reasonable cost. Having your avatar onstage helps the audience engage with you and feel "present" at the concert. When avatars appear to be standing onstage doing nothing or sound is disembodied, SL audiences assume something is wrong and this is distracting.

How far ahead do you book concerts?
A month to two months in advance.

Can I book a time now and cancel later if I get busy in RL?
Emergencies happen to all of us, but you should approach an SL concert as a firm commitment and try your best to be there for your concert. Real hours of work go into booking, scheduling and promoting concerts. Cancellations hurt everyone.

Do you ever have an "open mic night"?
Not yet, but I'd like to.

Can I get help with a soundcheck, access stream for a sound check?
Yes. I really don't like to go into a concert without a pre-concert soundcheck, preferably on the day of the concert.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Do you need an artist manager in SL?

Probably not.

I have to make a disclaimer upfront that so far my experience with SL's brand of artist-manager has been abysmal. So much so that I have sometimes thought of following a strict, "we don't deal with artist managers" policy.

In RL, I quite like most people in the arts management business. Contrary to the Hollywood image of the abrasive artist manager insulting and strong-arming booking agents, most managers are essentially sales people/marketers and to market something you have to be polite and charming. All effective managers are both.

Quite a few years ago I was first hired into a position where I would be responsible for administration (and later negotiation) for all guest artist contracts for a major symphony orchestra in the USA, with an artistic season of about 150 concerts per year in a 39 week annual season. I worried that I would not be up to the task of what I expected to be hard, confrontational contract negotiations. My boss and mentor gave me a perspective that I've never forgotten: Artist agents and producers share the same goals--they want the artist to work in the shortterm and they want the orchestra to be here next year so the artist can perform again! Starting from this point of shared interest, the negotiations are all about finding the middle-ground that will work for both the presenter and the artist.

I remember once running into an abrasive manager in RL. A famous conductor had asked for a particular (little known) singer that he had heard on his travels. From beginning to end the singer's agent was a difficulty. He took administrative time away from more important issues for the concert as he haggled and complained about inconsequential details for his singer client. He was rude and arrogant. The singer was talented and a rather nice young man. After the concerts were concluded, I decided to tell the singer that while I'd enjoyed his performance, his agent was difficult. He laughed and said, "That's what agents are for?"

I replied, "Are you sure that your interests are served by an agent who has guaranteed you will never be hired here again and when my colleagues call to ask me how it was to work with you I'll have to say that it was extremely difficult?"

He said, "oh that's not how the business works!"

He was wrong. That's exactly how the business works. When you are not well-known, presenters call the places you were last booked at, and the people who make the decisions about contracts do not need the hassle of your "agent from hell". That agent/manager nearly sank the young man's career before he wised up.

What do agents do in RL? They provide a website and promotional material for artists, advertise their roster in trade publications. They proactively promote the artist locally, nationally or internationally, as situations warrant. They negotiate sometimes complicated contractual arrangements. They assure that travel, itinerary and accommodation is taken care of, taking some responsibility for the artist's schedule. They liase with the presenter before and during the rehearsal period. For these services, they are paid an average of a 10% fee.

In SL artists fees or tips are a token that really only serve to defray the artist's inworld costs. There is no margin to pay a manager. There are no complicated contracts, no travel, no hotel. It is no mystery how to get in touch with presenters... you simply IM them. With no IATSE stagehands to worry about, schedules for soundchecks and concerts are flexible and adhoc arrangements are possible.

I believe the first time I ran into an artist manager in SL, it was a guy who had never worked in the music biz in RL in his life and hadn't been in SL for long but was sure smitten with the young lady he was "representing" so his motivation for volunteering his services as manager. To prove his love he was going to slay many dragons for his lady in the form of SL concert presenters, it seemed. Music Island does more promotion of artists that perform on our series than almost anyone in SL--many do none, leaving that up to the artist. Yet I was harrangued to do more, including some promotion that was too early and in the wrong format to reach most SL concertgoers. Much of the recommendations were counter-productive. For example he wanted a stage set-up that would have increased lag for audience members. SL is very last minute, while events need to be scheduled 1 to 2 months in advance, promotion needs to be focused in the last week before the concert. This new manager wanted early "press releases" sent out more than a month before the concert. Most attendance at concerts come from inworld group announcements, not SL or RL press mention. (and recently Twitter has become a large vector of concert promotion).

Another memorable time, I ran into an artist manager who seemed most interested in self promotion. He wanted to control all aspects of the performance and expected me to post a notice for the concert that advertised it not as a concert on our series but a concert on his series. He gave me a pre-fabricated poster with his organization's logo on it. Apart from the fact that the logo stupidly obscured one of the performer's faces (!!!) the size and style didn't fit the Music Island lightboxes. While I am happy to use a preferred artist photo, I unify the posters of all artists in the display by using a limited pallette of fonts, text box fill colours and text colours. Trying to make the best of this strange poster I had been given, I edited it to our size and style and decided I could live with the concert being billed as a "co-production"... even though this had never been discussed... and I sent the edited poster back to the agent/manager. He pulled the concert without further discussion. I seldom see announcements of concerts for any of the artists he represents. Perhaps I'm not looking in the correct places, or perhaps others found him as strange a duck as I did.

Finally, and perhaps most tragically, I ran across an SL artist manager that was in the business of feeding the ego of a rather talentless young man, exposing him to ridicule throughout SL.

The last story I can think of was concerning an SL promotional agency scam. An artist asked me if I thought it would be worthwhile him signing with a particular agency to attract new and more lucrative gigs. The monthly fee he would have to pay them amounted to his fee for a big concert... so about 1/4 of his SL income in a month. They offered a clickable poster connected to his website and schedule and the use of their performance space for one concert a month. In assessing how much this might be worth it was essential to look at the site traffic. How many people were passing through who might click on the poster? How many people attended concerts at the venue. Turned out that the traffic was about 1/40th of the traffic at Music Island in the past month. In a single concert, the artist would reach more audience members than a month of exposure through this promotional agency scam. For the same fee as the agency was charging the artist could have got a premium account from Linden Labs, bought a starter plot in a heavily trafficed part of the mainland and put up his own advertising display--and had a little office space on top!

It would seem to me that with friends like these, you don't need enemies! Legitimate reasons to find help with your SL music activities could include language barriers, unfamiliarity with SL, or extreme busyness in RL. If you do decide to have a paid representative in SL, ensure that they know the SL and RL music scene and are prepared to work with venues and series to enable the smoothest scheduling, promotion and presentation of your concerts.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Naftali gets them up and dancing

Usually on Music Island, we sit, listen to the Music and maybe exchange a few thoughts, appreciative comments or q & a's by text during the concerts. Yesterday's rousing concert of European folk music was different. Holland based fiddler, Naftali Torok was hard to resist. Bavid led the way, first getting up and dancing and inviting others to join his HUD. Then kate got in the mix. By the end of the concert very few were left sitting in the stands.

It was a great touch that Naftali had brought along some slides of her RL band in performance and she "introduced" us to the all of the members of the band before the concert concluded.

Even the Lindens must have approved the event as the concert concluded with a notice of a rolling re-start.... conveniently timed for a few minutes AFTER the encore piece. Such luck rarely happens in SL. The gods of the grid were clearly with Naftali and the Music Island audience.

The History of Second Life Television

A great and informative piece on SLCN (now Treet)

And I hope they come and do a show at Music Island soon :-)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

July 11 @ 1 pm Naftali Torok: Roots of European Music

July 11 @ 1 pm Naftali Torok Roots of European Music, is a complementary concert to the following weeks program. Composers drew on the inspiration of the gypsy fiddle, klezmer music and other folk traditions to inspire, enliven and paint the landscapes in their classical works. Experience the original sources of this rich musical literature

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Exciting Summer on Music Island


While more activity is being added daily, here are some dates you won't want to miss!

July 11 @ 1 pm Naftali Torok Roots of European Music, is a complementary concert to the following weeks program. Composers drew on the inspiration of the gypsy fiddle, klezmer music and other folk traditions to inspire, enliven and paint the landscapes in their classical works. Experience the original sources of this rich musical literature

July 19 @ 12 pm SLT American Roots, is a concert in the lighter vein with Cindy Ecksol. Cindy plays authentic American folk music of the sort that has been an inspiration to American classical composers in the same way that gypsy fiddlers inspired Dvorak.

July 25 @ 12 pm Vivaldi's Summer, a concert with violinist Izabela Jaworower. Izabela has been performing one movement of the work each season through the year, beginning with "Winter" in December '08. Here in high summer, she brings us the third movement, with complementary repertoire for a hot weekend at Music Island.

August 1 @ 12 pm Benito Flores Peace Festival Concert. The rising star of the Italian piano keyboard returns to the Music Island stage in support of the Peace Festival (additional Peace Festival events will be happening at Music Island, throughout the Cedar Island region and across Second Life) See the video here.

August 1 @ 2 pm Enniv Zarf, piano Peace Festival Concert. The busy and multi-talented Enniv has been away from Second Life for some months. His prodigious contributions to the Second Life arts have sure been missed. We're all glad he's back at Music Island for this concert during the SL-wide Peace Festival.


August 9-14 From Falling Stars to Meteors. Informative Display on Music Island.

August 11 @ 4 pm International Year of Astronomy--Lecture and Tour, Ourania Fizgig. Begins in the Lodge on Sea Turtle Island

August 12 @ 4 pm Storytelling Campfire and Community Drumming. Drum, Talk share under the night sky on the evening of the biggest lightshow of the summer.

August 12 @ 6:30 pm AldoManutio Abruzzo, composer/musician WITH Desdemona Enfield and Douglas Story, artists. Multimedia extravaganza concert.

August 15 @ 1 pm Duo Appassionato Anniversary Concert. One year of great music in Second Life-- to be streamed live into Second Life Community Conference in San Francisco.

August 29 @ 12 pm Young Zeid, violin. Young brings down the curtain on summer with a show-stopping concert.