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cellos, Cellos, CELLOS! There’s about to be hella cellos up in here.

That’s right, Celloscape Collective is playing its first show Friday May 28th. Celloscape Collective is a new endeavor spearheaded by Mosa Tsay that fosters collaboration between local cellists and contemporary composers. Cellists rarely get to play together unless they are in an orchestra section, but when they do, the sound is a rich palette of sonic colors like nothing else. Most of the music featured in this concert is unrecorded and can only be experienced live, including a Cello Quartet that I just finished writing yesterday. That’s new! Thanks to Nicole Boguslaw, Crystal Pascucci, and Kane Suga, for playing it with me.

Bruce Beasley’s Sculpture Studio

323 Lewis St. Oakland, CA,

Doors at 7pm
$25 general / $35 VIP (includes glass of wine)
Student: $10 at the door
More info at celloscape.orgCelloscapeposter

January ’16 shows

The New Year brings fruition to projects new and old.

My old band, Whiskerman, has a big show on Friday the 8th at the Great American Musical Hall in SF. I’ll be joining on cello. Have you heard their new album, Nomad? It’s sick. I play all the cellos.

Jazzy indiepop behemeth La Dee Da is back! We’re playing in Oakland at Badgerclaw on the 9th. A message from La Dee Da:

I am writing to inform you that after a very long and fruit🍓ful break from planet Earth, the band La Dee Da has returned to our beloved home turf to continue feverish explorations of worldly pursuits including but not limited to a house party at Oakland’s own Badgerclaw Manor. 🏡 For more information about our travels, read below. For a Happy New Year 🎉, hang with your buds at a lovely home in the Piedmont area and get serenaded by some awesome local and not-so-local bands.

SATURDAY JANUARY 9, 2016………..8pm
house party at 204 Ridgeway, Oakland AKA Badgerclaw Manor
Interesting, gargeous jams by out-of-towners featuring a choir, stringed instruments and beat boxing combined into a delicious acoustic casserole with flavors you woudn’t expect. Plus a few local favorites… ‘Twill be a veritable Celebration!
La Dee Da
Harm (Alaska)
Lake Mary (Colorado)
Mark E. Deutsch (Oakland)

Town Quartet has been exploring different depths of string music. If you saw us recently at our residency at The Musical Offering Cafe in Berkeley (1pm on Sundays) you probably heard some string trios by Abel, Pleyel, Hummel, Boccherini, and Beethoven, amongst others. The Beethovens are great masterpieces, but these other composers have some respectable work in the string trio genre and aren’t played or heard nearly as often. We also played the 3 String Quartets by Benjamin Godard, a late romantic French violinist and underrated composer.

Our next performance at The Musical Offering Cafe at 1pm this Sunday, the 10th of ’16, will have all Town Quartet members together after a holiday season of busy schedules and traveling. We will play Beethoven String Quartet in E minor Op. 59 No. 2, Schumann String Quartet No. 3 in A Major, and Patzner Short Quartets 1-4. Our esteemed colleague, David Shalen, will present a pre-concert lecture on the Beethoven Razumovsky Quartets at 12:30.

The local classical music society, Concerto Club, of which I am a member, is hosting the Concerto Club Symposium IV Friday the 15th at the Red Poppy Arthouse in SF, at 7:30. We are playing music by composers including, Vivaldi, Zelter, Franchomme, and a Handel impersonator. In this concert you will hear members of our vibrant chamber music community alternating between performing as soloists and as part of the accompanying ensemble. The Red Poppy Page has some nice info.

I was wondering if I was ever going to get made by the Jazz Mafia, but I recently found out they don’t really do that… They’re not that kind of mafia. I do have the pleasure of performing with the Jazz Mafia from time to time, and will again on Wednesday the 19th at the Hall in SF. This will be the Trombone and Strings project, fronted by Adam Theis.

Jazz Mafia is currently raising funds to release 30 tracks, at least of few of which contain my cello playing. They have a Gofundme page that has some info and the link to donate.

We will continue the series of Classical Music at the Starry Plough Sunday 1/24 at 4pm with the debut of a new project called Les Ameriquains, Band of Fiddlers, Strummers, Singers, Tooters, and Drummers, for Parties and Other Occasions. We play Baroque dance music. Our goal is to make this stuff as fun as possible, which we are discovering is pretty frickin fun! We wrote this blurb for the SF Classical Voice page:

Les Ameriqains is excited to present a concert of early European dance music. Recent musicological developments of the Information Age have allowed us access to old publications and manuscripts which previously were only available in select locations. In the Medieval and Renaissance periods, most string band music was passed down through aural tradition, and these are collections of some of the first notated secular music. Much of this music was written for the court, but some of it originates from traditional music of different regions throughout Europe and popular tunes and songs of the day. With backgrounds in folk and jazz, as well as classical, our musicians are able to recreate an historically accurate performance, using modern instruments, of music rarely played in the US. The bulk of our repertoire has French origins because dance was such an important part of French culture. We also draw from Italian, English, and German sources. We play music by composers such as Lully, Praetorius, Charpentier, Campra, Purcell, Locke, Monteverdi, and Anonymous. We’re expanding our ensemble for this show to include additional strings, singers, wind players, basso continuo, and percussion. Let’s have a fun afternoon of music and dancing at one of the oldest pubs in Berkeley!

Friday 1/30 at 8ish I’m playing a solo cello set at Neck of the Woods in SF, opening for the Ignition Guitar Duo.


Friday 1/8 Whiskerman at Great American Music Hall

Saturday 1/9 La Dee Da at Badgerclaw Manor

Sunday 1/10 Town Quartet at the Musical Offering Cafe

Friday 1/15 Concerto Club at Red Poppy

Wednesday 1/19 Jazz Mafia Trombone and Strings at The Hall

Sunday 1/24 Les Ameriquains at the Starry Plough Pub

Friday 1/30 Solo at Neck of the Woods

New Music @ Omni Commons

Happy August!

Life is good and full of music making. I’m trying to write more music these days, and though most of my pieces are unfinished, I did manage to complete Short Quartets 3 and 4. The Town Quartet is performing these, along with Short Quartets 1 and 2, at the Omni Commons in Oakland this Friday at 8pm. We are also playing new string quartet pieces by Kevin Boursiquot and Mateo Lugo, two fine, local, composers. It has been a real pleasure working on their music, and the whole process has helped inspire me to write more! Here is a more official description:

The Town Quartet is excited to present a program of all new music for string quartet by Oakland composers at the Omni Commons, Friday, August 14th. They will feature the music of Kevin Boursiquot, a recent transplant from SF, Venezuelan born Mills College grad, Mateo Lugo, and Oakland native and Town Quartet cellist, Lewis Patzner. The Omni Commons is a “space that fosters an ethic of radical collaboration across disciplines and between individual collectives, creating a living model for future radical spaces.” 8PM, $10-$20. 4799 Shattuck Ave, Oakland.

I also want to say thanks to all of the generous patrons of the arts who donated to the Musical Art Quintet Kickstarter campaign. We met our goal! It’s awesome to know that people actually care about what we’re doing. Recording has been fun and productive, and I can’t wait to finish and share it you, the world. We have some upcoming shows, so check out our website at Thank you Thank you Thank you!


The Classical Crossover Spectrum

Just had an inspiring talk with a friend and decided I need to update this thing. The next few weeks are very exciting!

Wednesday 4/29 I’m playing some original music by Adam Theis for trombone and string quartet at Doc’s Lab in SF. Adam is one of my favorite local composers on the jazzy side of things, and its always fun and rewarding to play with him. Show is at 8pm. Check out this page for more info.

Saturday 5/2 Musical Art Quintet is playing at Piedmont Pianos with virtuoso pianist, Lara Downes. We’ll play some Duke Ellington and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, arranged for piano and string quintet by our own Sascha Jacobsen. Show is at 8pm. Check out this page for more info.

Monday 5/11 is Concerto Club Symposium III at The Revolution Cafe in SF. I will play the Cello Concerto in A Major by C.P.E. Bach. We’ll also have music by Telemann, and Vivaldi, plus TBD. We start at 8:30pm

Friday 5/15 The Town Quartet is playing at the Starry Plough in Berkeley. We’re playing some amazing music by Shostakovich, Vaughan Williams, and Mozart, along with some other stuff including some new music by yours truly. So far I’m confident we will perform my 2 Short Quartets. Really excited for this show. Music starts at 8:30. Check out this page for more info.

Saturday 5/16 Ensemble MiknaWooj is playing at Freight and Salvage. If you want to check out some classical/hip hop fusion, this is the show to come to. Show is at 8pm. Check out this page for more info.

Saturday 5/23 The Compound Quartet is playing at the International Arts Festival at Fort Mason, performing modern chamber music by Kevin Boursiquot and Kevin Nolans. Show is at 5pm Check out this page for more info.

Thanks to Ariel Wang for the awesome poster!Classical Music at the Plough Flyer-1

Water Into Blood

Happy 2015! One my projects, Water Into Blood, recently released a full length album. You can check it out here. WIB is the brainchild of Brandon McCubbin, longtime Judgement Day crew member and walking metal encyclopedia. Jon Bush from Judgement Day plays drums, and I play cello on about half the tracks. We’re playing a free album release show at the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma, Friday the 13th(!) of February. fb has the info.

On the classical front, my dear friend, Yuri Kye, and I are resurrecting on old project called the Chabot Chamber Society, and our first concert of the year is this Friday the 9th at the St. Joseph of Arimathea church in Berkeley (you know, across from the Durant Top Dog). The program is all Baroque and will include the lovely Joyce Yin singing the Wedding Cantata by J.S. Bach and le Depit Genereux, a cantata by Monteclair. We’re also playing the Schmelzer Lamento Sopra La Morte Di Ferdinando III, the Handel Trio Sonata op. 2 no 4, and the Bach c minor Violin Sonata. Rounding out the ensemble is Mia Bella D’Augelli on violin, Ivo Bokulic on viola, and Eugene Petrushansky on harpsichord. We would love to see you there! more fb info.


Tour Expenses

Yesterday at rehearsal for the Michelle Schmidt Meals on Wheels benefit concert on Thursday, my brother, Anton, told me about Jack Conte’s article about how his band, Pomplamoose, lost money on tour. Before I continue, I should admit that I’m biased. Jack and Nataly have hired Anton and me numerous times to record for Pomplamoose, their solo albums, and their friends’ albums, and they recently hired us to perform with them at Stanford, their alma mater. I’ve always admired how they go about their business, and this article did not stifle that at all. What I have learned from my experiences with Jack and Nataly is that they are super smart, creatively resourceful, and talented musicians. From what I read in that article, they don’t seem to be worried, and neither am I.

It was interesting to read an article by Santos Montano on Pitchfork called “You Can Make Money Touring (But Not If You’re Pomplamoose)” who was not down with the way Pomplamoose toured. There’s a lot to his article I agree with, like “You Can Make Money Touring,” and a lot that I don’t, like “But Not If You’re Pomplamoose.” Like I said, they are smart. This tour is just a piece of the mosaic that is their careers and If it was about making money they would have done just that.

My main take away from both articles is that Pomplamoose’s tour was really expensive because they weren’t set up for it. Most bands that play 1000 cap venues are set up for some stage production and a crew. The’ve built their touring infrastructure over years of touring. I remembered a log I took of my own expenses during a 2 week tour with my band, Judgement Day, in July of 2011. In contrast to Pomplamoose, we were very set up for this tour. We were finally out of debt. We owned a van, had a bunch of merch (cd’s and shirts) stocked up, and even had a mobile kitchen. Most importantly, we had wits and experience with touring. Also in contrast to Pomplasmoose, we were not selling out the Fillmore. Like most tours, some shows were good, some were bad, and most were in between. We played a bunch of small towns in Norcal and the northwest like Redding, Eureka, and Bend, OR. In Portland, where we normally do well, our show was a dud. We had a fun show at a pizza place called Luigi’s in Sacramento. Our Eugene show was memorable because Rushad from Tornado Rider, our tour buddies, jumped from table to table out in the crowd while taking a cello solo, not because of the crowd itself. We cut corners as much as possible and basically never stayed in hotels. Friends, fans, promoters, and bands put us up. I would rather sleep in the van than on a floor, so I became the “Van Dweller.” I agree with Montano that “What’s hard about being a successful musician is getting people to come to the shows.” The more I think about how to be a successful musician, the more I see the importance of having a draw. Judgement Day is an experimental instrumental metal band. I have listened to people say that having a singer would make us 10 times more successful since 2002. Our draw was modest, but it was a still a draw, and by being extremely frugal I made money on that tour. Check it out:

jd tour log

Let me repeat, we were set up for this tour. Our instruments, gear, and personal items were tour-ready, and we traveled alone as a 3 piece, all original members. I think we did 0 rehearsals for that tour, because we were in a groove of playing all the time. I also had some cooking staples like rice, olive oil, salt and pepper, etc. Pomplamoose makes it happen by having an awesome internet presence, and they have done comparatively very little live performing. They now own nice touring gear and have musicians that know their music. They gained experience, which is invaluable. In his article, Montano talks about a tour he did with his band, Old Man Gloom, where they rented a van and gear to tour the west coast. Still, this is a band that was mostly set up to tour, having logged many months on the road. Do you think they paid top dollar for what they rented from their friends, or even market rate? In the rock world, especially the metal world, people are cool. They hook you up. I don’t mean to speculate and I apologize if I’m making false assumptions, and I’m not calling Santos Montano a phony or anything like that. I bet I would like him and his band, though I admit I don’t know their music. Let’s just be real. Pomplamoose wanted nice road cases for their nice instruments and it’s not like they could ask their buddies in Judgement Day for a good deal. We don’t have that stuff. They do their own thing, which I hope all artists respect, but because of the nature of their thing, they’re not tapped into a huge network of supportive rockers.

I agree with Montano that we should not take any amount of success for granted. It’s possible that these shows will be Pomplamoose’s biggest ever, but like I said, they’re super smart. I can guarantee that they didn’t plan their tour to be expensive so they could write an article about it later and pull some publicity stunt. They planned it that way because they have high standards for what they do, and they’re not afraid to take risks. I also agree that fancy lights are not necessary for a good show, but some people care about production value, musicians and fans alike. I mostly agree with Montano’s ideals, like “You should rely on your music to be good,” but to only rely on your music is very idealistic, and more to the point, not who Pomplamoose is. They’ve always incorporated visual aspects in their craft, and it is a huge part of their success. They filmed every recording session I did for them, and now I’m in some of their videos. I also think asking your bandmates to go in on a cut of the profits is idealistic and in this case, not responsible. THEY ARE SMART! They knew there was a risk of losing money on the tour, and it wouldn’t be right to ask musicians who have no stake in the band to take a deal like that. As a professional musician, I salute Jack and Nataly for paying their musicians and crew fairly.

A lot of the backlash from Jack’s article comes from the current sentiment of disdain surrounding the tech industry. I see many close friends struggling to find affordable housing in the Bay Area, and I can understand why people see tech as the bad guys, but not all tech is bad. Do you know what Patreon is? Prolific content creators make profiles and give their content to people who want it and pay for it. Is it lame to pay for music? Is it lame to support artists you care about? My other brother, Graham, an incredibly and uniquely talented singer/songwriter, has a Patreon page, and it helps him support his new family. Check it out and support the arts! Being a musician and being around musicians all the time, we think and talk about the future of the music industry constantly. I don’t know how we, the creative class, will specifically survive, but I do know that the we will have to be creative about finding solutions. Patreon is one such solution.

My favorite part of Montano’s article is when he says “They’re probably super embarrassed.” Very Pitchforky. Surprised? Definitely. Concerned? Probably. Embarrassed? I doubt it.