LPR Lists

My Top Ten Shows at LPR – Ronen Givony, LPR Music Director



Broadcast at LPR - photo by Natasha Ryan

Broadcast at LPR – photo by Natasha Ryan for Stereogum

10. Signal performing Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians, Sept. 14-15, 2008.
We’ve presented most of Steve Reich’s major works at LPR by now — Drumming, Piano Phase, Different Trains, New York Counterpoint, Sextet, Double Sextet, You Are (Variations), WTC 9/11 — but this was the first time we experimented with putting a group in the round, and inviting the audience to sit or stand wherever they like. Moreover, it was the first time we were able to welcome Steve himself as a guest to the venue. (Here is Michael Azerrad’s account.)
9. Takács Quartet performing Dvořák and Bartók, Nov. 10, 2011.
LPR is privileged to have one of the best sound systems in New York; but sometimes, the most incredible concerts involve four people, four string instruments, and no microphones. That was the case when the Takács Quartet visited us to play string quartets by Dvořák and Bartók — and for an hour-plus, we were treated to ensemble playing at its finest. If chamber music can be thought of as an intelligent conversation among equals, this was like being invited to eavesdrop on four old and worldly friends.
8. Fucked Up performing “David Comes to Life” / Titus Andronicus / Calder Quartet, Nov. 14, 2011.
When people ask me, “Do you guys ever do opera?” I usually say: well, we have partnerships with Gotham Chamber Opera and the Met; we’ve done early music like Monteverdi and Cavalli, and had opera singers sing Mozart and Verdi; but best of all was when Fucked Up and the Calder Quartet played “David Comes to Life.”
7. Hélène Grimaud performing Mozart/Berg/Liszt/Bartók, January 31, 2011.
Even if she had come to LPR and never said a single word, this would have been one of the best recitals we ever hosted; but when Hélène Grimaud greeted the audience by talking about her fondness for New York and the Beastie Boys’ song “An Open Letter to N.Y.C.,” and then sat down to play Mozart’s sonata in A minor, it was almost too much.
6. Jolie Holland, June 17, 2008.
Anyone who works at a music venue can tell you: it’s rare for an artist you’ve never seen or heard to walk onstage and immediately blow you away from note one, with songs that are entirely new to you; but that’s exactly what Jolie Holland did, and during one of our very first nights open, and I’ve never forgotten it.
5. Flying Lotus and friends, June 21, 2011.
We’ve been fortunate to host Flying Lotus many times at LPR, dating back to his first NYC headlining show in September 2008, which opened with a set by So Percussion; but this night, which was completely free, with special guests like Ravi Coltrane, Thundercat, and Austin Peralta (RIP), and announced on a few hours’ notice via Twitter as a thank-you to FlyLo’s fans, sticks out in my memory.
4. MONO with the Wordless Music Orchestra, May 9, 2009.
My guess is that if you ask the LPR staff who were at this show, most of them would single this out as one of their favorite shows we’ve done. Maybe it was the 700 people standing stone-still and silent for the New York premiere of an Arvo Pärt symphony; maybe it was the sublime and deafening MONO set that followed; whatever it was — this was one of the first nights that really showed us as a venue what we were capable of.
3. Angela Hewitt performing Bach’s Art of Fugue and Goldberg Variations, Oct. 28, 2012.
This was the weekend Hurricane Sandy came to town: and by the night of the recital, the subway was no longer running, and every single concert in town seemed to be canceled. We asked Angela Hewitt what she wanted to do, and she said she was already in town, so we might as well go ahead with the show; and for the hundred-plus people who still turned out, despite the authorities’ request for us to stay off the streets, it’s hard to imagine how the concert could have been one iota more memorable. Any pianist would have been (understandably) exhausted by playing either the Art of Fugue or the Goldberg Variations in one night, to say nothing of doing so with a Category 5 hurricane heading in our direction — but Angela Hewitt played both, and so beautifully, and barely broke a sweat, and had a wonderful sense of humor about the whole experience as well. She is a Jedi master.
2. The People’s Bailout, Nov. 15, 2012.
We thought it couldn’t get any better than in May 2010, when Yo La Tengo, Kyp Malone, The Clean, Sharon Van Etten, and Jeff Mangum (among many others) raised $40,000 for the New Zealand musician Chris Knox — but it did. Last year, on November 15, a coalition of community, religious, and activist leaders by the name of Strike Debt hosted The People’s Bailout: a five-hour telethon/teach-in that ultimately helped to wipe out $9 million in medical debt for working-class people across the country — and I only wish that Strike Debt would ask us to organize a dozen more.
1. Broadcast / Atlas Sound, Oct. 20, 2009.
The only thing better than getting to see your heroes in concert is getting to meet them and learning how absolutely lovely and thoughtful and kind they can be. I will never forget the time pre- and post-concert I got to spend briefly meeting and welcoming James Cargill and Trish Keenan from Broadcast when they visited LPR; will never forget their performance that night, which opened with 30 minutes of unforgiving Throbbing Gristle-type squall, and closed with an unreleased song that might have been the best thing the band ever did (and which I still listen to). Nor will I ever forget the feeling of surprise and delight upon receiving an e-mail from Trish several months later, saying she had picked up a used copy of a book I had recommended to her — it was A. Scott Berg’s “Maxwell Perkins: Editor of Genius,” which is partly about two of her favorite writers, Hemingway and Fitzgerald — and was enjoying it very much. Several months later, she was gone; and all I could think about was how fortunate I had been to tell her and James both — on behalf of all the fellow Broadcast obsessives in the world — just a bit of what their music had meant to me, and continues to mean to me now.
Honorable mentions (listed chronologically):
Dean Wareham sings Galaxie 500, July 20, 2012
The Clean / Times New Viking, June 5, 2012
Julia Holter / Sarah Cahill, March 6, 2012
Plaid / Gamelan Dharma Swara, Nov. 11, 2011
James Blake, May 12, 2011
Lightning Bolt / Pterodactyl, April 28, 2011
Florence and the Machine, April 8, 2010
Jeff Mills & Kathleen Supove perform Debussy, Feb. 20, 2010
Four Tet / Nathan Fake, Feb. 17, 2010
Hilary Hahn’s Bach Party, January 12, 2010
No Age / Woods, Oct. 14, 2009
Why? / Owen Weaver / Flexible Music, Sept. 26, 2009
Deerhoof / Wildbirds & Peacedrums, Sept. 15, 2009
The Fiery Furnaces / Newspeak, June 11, 2009
Toumani Diabate / Jenny Lin, April 18, 2009
Juana Molina / Lukas Ligeti, Feb. 27, 2009
Andrew WK / Calder Quartet, Nov. 15, 2008
Brad Mehldau/Chris Thile, Oct. 10, 2008
text by Ronen Givony