Food Will Win the War EP release shows: Boston tomorrow, Adirondacks Saturday, NYC November 21; Sara Banleigh at LIC Bar

This month I return for my first shows with Food Will Win the War since February, and for the release of our brand new EP. They’ll also most likely be my last shows with the band, as I and most of my former bandmates are moving on to other things. We’ll be in Boston tomorrow, in the Adirondacks on Saturday, but the biggest show will be the official release in New York on Saturday, November 21. I hope to see you there, to celebrate the end of six years of music-making together. I’m also playing one folk music show this month with Sara Banleigh on November 19. Read on for more.

At _TORUS_PORTA last month after performing The Princess and the Fungus. Photo by Mitchell Murdock.

At _TORUS_PORTA last month after performing The Princess and the Fungus. Photo by Mitchell Murdock.

In Boston tomorrow, Food Will Win the War will play a loft show in Jamaica Plain with fellow NYC band Silverteeth and Bostonite Moody Judy. There’s no cover, just come by, buy our new album, and throw a few bucks in the jar. Or $100, your choice. The following day is a college gig at Paul Smith’s College, our second performance there. It’s a pretty campus, if you happen to be around, come check it out!

My only non-Food-Will-Win-the-War show this month is with Sara Banleigh, who incidentally sang with Food Will Win the War for a brief stint. That show will be a cozy fireside performance at LIC Bar in Long Island City, with a full band playing traditional folk music and Sara’s folk inspired originals. Besides her haunting voice, Sara is also known for her energetic onstage banter – please, please come heckle her and see what happens, it would totally make my night.

Finally, on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, stop by the new Elvis Guesthouse in the East Village for Food Will Win the War’s EP release. The bar is a tribute to the myth that Elvis, rather than dying, actually moved to Kathmandu and opened a small bar there under an assumed name; this bar attempts to recreate that one. We’ll be joined on the bill by shyly sensuous synthpop diva Ellen O of Gold Bolus fame, who’s sure to get you dancing or whatever that non-dancing thing is you hipsters do. Come celebrate our album release in style!

Looking ahead, highlights on the horizon include a “Home for the Holidays” show the day after Christmas with The World/Inferno Friendship Society opening for The Bouncing Souls at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, and a trip to Phoenix in January with Paul Pinto, where we’ll spend six days in a workshop with the fine folks at Orange Theatre and perform our “Patriots” experimental duo opera on the third annual Oh My Ears Marathon. We’ll also make a few other stops around the area, most likely including stops in southern California and my first performances in Mexico!

Oh, and I thought you should know – I just lost The Game.

Experimental Song Fest tonight, country music at The Living Room, _Torus_Porta, World/Inferno’s Hallowmas!

Thanks so much to all who came to the premiere of thingNY‘s This Takes Place Close By in NYC, and for those who live elsewhere, we hope to bring the piece to you soon! You can read a review of it here. This month brings a wide range of shows, all in Brooklyn, including two solo experimental performances with different material, a gig with a sweet country band at The Living Room, and my first performance in Hallowmas, The World/Inferno Friendship Society‘s biggest show of the year, on Halloween! Details below.

At the dress rehearsal for thingNY's This Takes Place Close By, which premiered last month at the Knockdown Center. Photo by Michael Yu.

At the dress rehearsal for thingNY’s This Takes Place Close By, which premiered last month at the Knockdown Center. Photo by Michael Yu.

It all starts tonight with my performance at Panoply Performance Laboratory of Paul Pinto‘s intense mini_005 and my own bawdy, comedic vocal/electronic/prop-heavy performance art piece, The Princess and the Fungus, at Naked Roots Conducive‘s Brooklyn Experimental Song Carnival. Jeff, you might ask, while your speaking performances are fun, are they really song? To which I could say, in this crazy carnival, perhaps your question is itself the song?!?! Anyway, your melody-craving ears are in good hands for the remainder of the evening with the lilting voices of Ellen O, Anaïs Maviel, and Valerie Kuehne + Natalia Steinbach of Naked Roots Conducive.

Sunday I’m playing for the first time with local country rockers Goldenchild for their album release at the new Brooklyn location of The Living Room, after its relocation from the Lower East Side. I was brought into the project by thingNY bassist and rock star Andrew Livingston, who’ll also be playing. It’s sweet music, come cheer us on!

The following Sunday I’ll be trying out brand new solo experimental material at the mysterious underground lair _TORUS_PORTA, home of the truly wild Wild Torus performance art duo. It’ll be a marathon night of weirdness, spearheaded by “grindcore violinist” Joey Molinaro, one of the fiercest road warriors I know. (My month in Europe was cool, but he was there touring solo for three months this summer!) Stomp on over to Bushwick and expect the unexpected.

I close out the month with a performance I’m very excited about, my first time performing on The World/Inferno Friendship Society’s biggest concert of the year: Hallowmas! Every Halloween, the WIFS and their fans gather to witness the rising of the great pumpkin and worship en masse among the devil’s devotees! Plus we all have a great time, with moshing and stage diving for all. Seriously, it’s a great and supportive place to try stage diving for the first time. I speak from experience.

And finally, I’m pleased to announce my new job as a content manager for LUCERNE FESTIVAL ALUMNI, a new organization for alumni of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY! Check out our Facebook page here and like us!

thingNY’s opera premieres this week at Knockdown Center!

Let me tell you, I had an extraordinary European tour this summer. With The World/Inferno Friendship Society, I played 23 cities in 24 days in Germany, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, England, and Scotland, and then I played four solo shows in Poland and Germany. You can get a taste of my adventures in these photos on Facebook. But this week, it’s THINGNY OPERA TIME!

Playing solo in June at Bushwick Open Studios in Brooklyn. Photo by Michael Yu.

Playing solo in June at Bushwick Open Studios in Brooklyn. Photo by Michael Yu.

After nearly three years of work it’s finally here: the premiere of This Takes Place Close By this Thursday through Sunday, September 24-27, in the gorgeous 50,000 feet of the Knockdown Center, the largest production thingNY has ever done! Following some initial planning, we started workshopping our newest experimental opera in a fall 2013 residency at Incubator Arts, performed a work-in-progress version in Canada at New Music Edmonton, and workshopped it more at a residency at Standard ToyKraft. Now, a team of stellar designers led by director Ashley Tata have joined us to make this a really special piece. Grab tickets now, here!

You can listen to some of the piece and meet the design team here:

So what is this opera?

Through stories, songs and scenes, our new work explores the reactions of isolated individuals in the wake of a devastating storm that affects them in drastically different ways. A woman crushed under a building, a bureaucrat from FEMA experiencing victimhood for the first time, a musician channeling his energy into a relief concert, and a shop owner insisting on rebuilding storm after storm…in short vignettes, the opera captures ordinary people thrown out of their “comfort zone,” while addressing issues such as the voyeurism of storms, the anxiety of privilege, and the emotional distance humans tend to keep between themselves and disasters.

I really hope you’ll come and tell your friends. And – stay tuned next month for solo performances I’m doing at the Brooklyn Experimental Song Carnival organized by Naked Roots Conducive (Valerie Kuehne and Natalia Steinbach), and at a show at _TORUS_PORTA organized by Joey Molinaro!

Snow leopard cubs,

thingNY at JACK on Saturday, solo & curating at Bushwick Open Studios, Europe with The World/Inferno Friendship Society, and more!

It’s been more than a month since I got back from my solo tour of the western US, but I’m still very excited by all the great new friends I made, sights I saw, and shows I played! Solo recordings are forthcoming, but for now please enjoy this video of a free improv set I played in Sacramento with Suki O’Kane and Edward Schocker. Back home, things keep moving. This Saturday in Brooklyn, my group thingNY is performing newly revised excerpts from our forthcoming experimental opera This Takes Place Close By at JACK, and the following Saturday an awesome lineup of five acts I curated will play outdoors at a block party during the huge art event Bushwick Open Studios – including myself, performing a couple of pieces from my tour. Then in less than a month, I fly to Europe for a month touring with The World/Inferno Friendship Society! Read on below.


Impromptu performance of Luciano Berio’s Sequenza for solo violin in Joshua Tree National Park on last month’s solo tour

Please save the week of September 20-27 for the official premiere run of thingNY‘s This Takes Place Close By at the amazing Knockdown Center in Queens, but for those who want to see how our work has been progressing, come by this Saturday to JACK. We’ll perform 40 minutes or so of material from the piece, much of it extensively revised from previous versions we’ve presented. It’s part of three days of theatrically driven contemporary music curated by percussionist/composer Dennis Sullivan, who shares the night with us in a duo with fellow badass percussionist Levy Lorenzo. If you’re a fan of badassery, be there!

The following week, I’m extremely excited to have curated the music acts at the Grattan Street Performance Block Party for the second year in a row! (Under thingNY’s name, but it was all me.) The music starts at 12:30pm with Oxygen Ensemble, a funk/free jazz project of Thomas Bell of Spread Art. I play solo at 1:30pm, performing Paul Pinto‘s virtuoso piece for speaking violinist mini_005 and my own dreamy violin/electronics piece Magical Kingdom of Dust. New Thread Quartet, an excellent new music sax quartet featuring fellow thingNY member Erin Rogers, plays at 2:30pm along with guitarist Luke Schwartz, then the intense duo Naked Roots Conducive (Valerie Kuehne and Natalia Steinbach) presents their particular weird brand of violin/cello-driven singer-songwriter performance art. The amazing futurist avant-jazz/rock trio Cacaw ends the lineup at 4:30pm. Between each music act will be performance art acts curated by Spread Art, plus installations and art trucks, cold beverages at event sponsor Pine Box Rock Shop, and ALL OF THE ART in the open studios next door!

Just before I head to Europe, I play a mysterious and sultry violin in the immersive theater production Serenade. I won’t say much about it, but if you seek a lavish night out on the town that includes dinner and drinks in the company of dark spirits, go to the website and explore.

Now for my big European tour in June and July, the longest I’ve ever been on and my first big tour in Europe: most of the cities are in Germany, but we’ll also make stops in Scotland, England, Denmark, the Czech Republic, and Austria. So many cities I’ve never been to before!!! I’m looking forward to practicing my German, and to being back on the road with the crazy punks in the World/Inferno Friendship Society. Seriously, if you’ve never been to a World/Inferno show, you’re missing out. The energy at the shows is incredible. It’s also a great place to try stage diving for the first time – I tell you from experience! Please tell all your friends in the European cities on the shows page that we’re going to invade their cities and blow their minds, and by the way – rent my room while I’m away!

I’m also pretty astonished to announce that a piece I recorded nine years ago as a student at Oberlin Conservatory is out this week on John Zorn’s Tzadik label! The CD is dedicated to the music of the formidable composer Jason Eckardt, and the piece is his piano concerto Trespass featuring the equally redoubtable pianist Marilyn Nonken, with the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble conducted by Tim Weiss and 21-year-old me on second violin. It sounds fricking awesome. You should buy a copy here.

And I recently added a page to my website for MY WALKING TOURS OF NYC! Please check it out. If you’re in town, I’d love to take you on a tour of the Lower East Side, Chinatown/Little Italy, or Southside and South Williamsburg…or more tours to be announced!

Finally, please enjoy my first ever review on Yelp, which is basically a novel about Di Fara Pizza. If you read this far, I love you.

Last night, Roulette, tomorrow, the world! Or rather CA, AZ, NM, CO, WY, UT, NV & DC!

This month, I’m performing 14 concerts in 8 states plus DC! It started last night at 8pm at Roulette in Brooklyn, when I joined thingNY on the Experiments in Opera series to perform the first real glimpse of Gelsey Bell’s new piece Rolodex. Then tonight I take off for my biggest solo tour to date, 12 shows including five in California, three in Arizona, and one each in New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada (see map below). I booked them all myself and I think I did a darn good job. And then I fly back and immediately drive to DC to play with Rachel Mason. Details follow!

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 12.28.43 PM

A map of my solo tour. Start in San Francisco and move down to follow! Click the map or here to view on Google Maps.

I’ll make this brief: at Roulette last night, we performed a 25-minute version of Gelsey’s piece, which is a work in progress. It’s a game piece with a fragmented score/story broken up among cards in a Rolodex that we can move between according to rules she’s devised. It’s cool, as were three other works of experimental opera by Roddy BottumJason Cady, and Aaron Siegel. Stay tuned for more Rolodex!

There’s so much I could say about my tour. What I’m playing: a quirky 30-minute selection of my own music for solo violin and live electronics under the heading Jeffrey Young’s Magical Kingdom of Dust, including in-your-face theatrics, comedy, unabashed shredding, and dreamy, oceanic soundscapes. I’ll also play Paul Pinto‘s mini_005, the short piece for speaking violinist and retuned violin he wrote for me, and on some concerts Luciano Berio’s intense Sequenza VIII for solo violin. Other than that, I’ll let the list on the shows page speak for itself. Please tell your friends to come to my shows in Berkeley, Los Angeles, Joshua Tree, Tucson, Phoenix, Flagstaff, Santa Fe, Greeley, Cheyenne, Provo, Reno, Sacramento, or San Francisco! If they ask what they might hear, send them this podcast I did with Doug Laustsen, where I delve deep into the Magical Kingdom of Dust:

Finally, I’ve been enjoying my performances with Rachel Mason and her film The Lives of Hamilton Fish. If you live in or near DC, please come out to see us perform at the Corcoran School on April 22. It’ll be my welcome-back-to-the-East-Coast party!

Buy my espresso maker,

thingNY on the Ecstatic Music Series and in Boston and much more!

Hi in 2015! So far the new lustrum is much the same as old. But new this quinquennium are amazing shows in New York and Boston: thingNY is collaborating with indie-pop-en-español singer/songwriter Helado Negro on the Ecstatic Music Festival at Merkin Hall this Wednesday, then Friday at the Advent Library Music Series in Boston. The Ecstatic Music Festival is a pretty big deal in both the avant-garde/experimental classical and the indie rock scenes, which, ya know, is where I live. So please please come out and support!

Playing with World/Inferno Friendship Society in Dallas in November

Playing with World/Inferno Friendship Society in Dallas in November

For our collaboration, Helado Negro (Roberto Carlos Lange) is leading a type of performance he’s dubbed The Brain Finger, in which he interprets his songs using yarn tied between his hands and live musicians’ bodies; with a flick of the finger, he can summon any of us to play or stop via this uniquely physical kind of conducting. It’s a really cool way to get into his music, which he usually performs live with backing tracks. We’ll also perform our own set, including music by Paul and Erin and from our opera This Takes Place Close By, and Roberto will give a taste of his more typical style of solo performance.

I’ll just give a quick summary of what’s coming up in the weeks ahead: First, I’m back performing with folk rocker Bill Steely in Westchester the last Wednesday of the month, and look out for a rebroadcast of a live radio show he and I taped as a duo a few weeks ago, February 24th at 2pm on WVOX New Rochelle. I’m very excited to be joining the dynamic ensemble Ne(x)tworks and their incredible, influential singer Joan La Barbara to perform a new opera-in-progress by Paul Pinto called Thomas Paine in Violence at HERE on March 6 and 7. I’ve been joining Rachel Mason the past few weeks to accompany her in performance along with her really cool new film The Lives of Hamilton Fish, and I’m looking forward to doing that again in Hudson, NY and at the Queens World Film Festival. And finally in March and April thingNY has more very exciting shows coming up – our first performance at the New Music Bake Sale, and the first look at Gelsey’s new Rolodex Opera on the excellent Experiments in Opera series.

Also, I ate my first hamburger ever and turned 30 last month. It’s ALL happening!

Big premiere at New York Live Arts Oct 8-11 and tour with World/Inferno Friendship Society! and more…

This week, Wednesday through Saturday, is the premiere at New York Live Arts of g-h-o-s-t c-r-o-w-n (working title), the dance piece for which I’ve been creating a score since December! The piece is the biggest commission in my life so far. I’m very grateful to choreographer RoseAnne Spradlin for bringing me into the process, and to Hannah LevinsonMara Mayer, and Lisa Dowling for joining me in playing the music. Please check it out and buy tickets here. You can read more about it below, along with two other events in October: a CD release show by Duke Guillaume‘s Metropolitan Gospel Big Band and improv with Jill BurtonRobert DickAndrew Drury and Shoko Nagai. And I’m extremely excited to announce that I’ll be joining World/Inferno Friendship Society on a tour from New Orleans to California in November! More info below…

A snapshot from tech week of g-h-o-s-t c-r-o-w-n (working title)

g-h-o-s-t c-r-o-w-n (working title) during tech week

g-h-o-s-t c-r-o-w-n (working title) is a dance work of just over an hour. I’ve created original music to accompany the majority of it, with myself on violin and live electronics, and with the musicians listed above on viola, bass clarinet, and upright bass, respectively – all filtered through my electronics. The Huffington Post says it’s a must-see. But mostly, you should come see it because I’ve been working so hard on it! A warning to those who might be offended: there is full nudity in the piece.

To summarize the rest of the month: Duke Guillaume’s Metropolitan Gospel Big Band should be pure fun. The compositions are religiously inspired, but they’re instrumental, and one doesn’t need to be religious to enjoy them. And do please let me know if you’d like to come to the awesome night of improv on October 20! I’ll be playing with some amazing musicians – check out the lineup on the right.

Finally, you should also check out the shows on the right I’ll be playing with World/Inferno next month! They’ve been around since the ’90s playing an extremely high energy music I might call cabaret punk (think Gogol Bordello meets the Pogues), but I first saw them play a few years ago at Music Hall of Williamsburg and was blown away by their live show. So I’m super excited to now be playing in the band on tour! If you have any friends on the route, please let them know.


August: Food Will Win the War residency, Valerie Kuehne returns, “thingNYamajigs”

This month Food Will Win the War is in residence at Pete’s Candy Store every Wednesday night. Tomorrow, I join Valerie Kuehne for her first New York performance in nine months. At the end of the month, thingNY is joined by our Bay Area counterparts Thingamajigs for a week of music- and instrument-making. Details below!

Freaking out with thingNY at The Firehouse Space in June.

Freaking out with thingNY at The Firehouse Space in June.

Every Wednesday night in August at 10pm, Food Will Win the War is in residence at Pete’s Candy Store in Williamsburg, our favorite neighborhood bar – it’s around the corner from our rehearsal studio – and the place I played my first show with the band. We started the residency with a tribute to Elliott Smith, then the following week played an all-acoustic show. The final two weeks feature full band sets of mostly originals. No cover!

Tomorrow, Saturday the 16th, cellist and professional madwoman Valerie Kuehne is back in town for the first time in months! I’ll be joining her alongside two other intrepid improvising violinists, Storm Garner and Natalia Jenkins. Mayhem will ensue. Also on the bill: Jonathan Wood Vincent and Public Speaking.

The month ends with a week-long exploration of instrument building, alternate tuning systems, long-form improvisation, and all things thing, when Bay Area group Thingamajigs joins thingNY to develop new work, partly at the Knockdown Center, an incredible space in Maspeth, Queens, and partly at an abandoned Citibank in Midtown (organized for us by chashama). Our final presentation on August 29 will be invite-only, but if this really excites you and you let me know you’d like an invitation, I’ll see what I can do.

Finally, please keep on your radar the premiere week of a new dance piece by RoseAnne Spradlin with original score by me: the second week in October at New York Live Arts! It’s my biggest project right now and will be for the next couple months. Tickets go on sale on Monday – more info here.

Peace in the Middle East,

Firehouse, Queens Museum, a movie, and Anti-Socialites.

It’s thingNY week! Tonight, Thursday at 8pm, it’s music from our own Andrew Livingston’s Piad Guyvessant project (recently released on CD by fellow thingNY member Dave Ruder’s Gold Bolus label), opened up as frameworks for improvisation. Joining us on the bill is Justin Sharp, a pianist/electronic musician visiting from Mississippi. Sunday‘s concert I’ve been excited about for a long time: a composition/performance collaboration between thingNY and youth new music ensemble Face the Music to be performed at the Queens Museum’s Panorama, the scale model of New York City created for the 1964 World’s Fair! Both ensembles will also perform separately throughout the museum.

Playing with Minnie Dee last Friday at The Bitter End

Playing with Minnie Dee last Friday at The Bitter End

Monday night at 9:30pm, I’m not playing live, but you can hear my solo violin on the soundtrack of Thou Wast Mild and Lovely, an eerie, acclaimed new film by Josephine Decker screening at BAM once only! Tickets are hereThe following Sunday, June 29, I’m playing a new movement for string quartet by James Barry at Anti-Social Music’s Works-in-Progress-Free-For-All-Potluck-BBQ. Bring food, and eat-listen-chill with us!

Visions of July: a free outdoor show in Westchester with folk-rocker Bill Steely; a trip with thingNY to Staten Island’s greatest cultural center, Snug Harbor; a dose of piano-driven pop with Scott Stein’s Well-Groomed Orchestra.

Stay cool,

New website, Rockwood, Home Audio, Jerome Kitzke, and more!

Hi! Check out my new website, developed by Brian McCorkle of Panoply Performance LaboratoryLet me know what you think about it. Then…get out of your apartment – it’s springtime! – and come down to Rockwood Music Hall. Food Will Win the War takes the stage at 11pm tonight, and there’s no cover! On Thursday night, get into my apartment. I’m not playing, but I’m hosting a great night of music and dance as part of Mara Mayer’s Home Audio series (more info on facebook here, email me for my address). This Friday night, go to church – I will literally be stomping, clapping, yelling, and banging rocks together in a new piece by composer Jerome Kitzke, at a historic church in Brooklyn Heights.


Visiting Banff after shows with thingNY in Calgary and Edmonton!

Next Tuesday, I’ll be playing music by Bach and by 20th-century Russian composer Alfred Schnittke at a church in Williamsburg. On Friday, May 30, it’s my second show in NYC with Westchester-based folk rocker Bill Steely. Mark your calendar for June 7, when Food Will Win the War returns to Mercury Lounge as part of Dream Day NYC (our drummer, Dan, is endorsed by Dream Cymbals and Gongs). And look ahead for more music in June with Minnie Dee and thingNY, including a really exciting collaboration between thingNY and youth new music ensemble Face the Music!