Four releases on elsewhere (Gil Sansón / Lance Austin Olsen, Melaine Dalibert, Reinier van Houdt / Bruno Duplant, and Shira Legmann / Michael Pisaro) in 2019, all of which I am extremely happy with. Starting the new 'elsewhere piano series' has opened up an exciting direction for my label.
Besides elsewhere, I greatly enjoyed the two epic 5 CD box set productions for Erstwhile Records and Gravity Wave: Toshiya Tsunoda 'Extract From Field Recording Archive' (ErstPast 001-5) and Michael Pisaro 'Nature Denatured and Found Again' (GW016-020).
Also, I finally completed the English translation of Ami Yoshida's 2007 autobiographical novel 'Summer Spring', which will be published in February 2020 (thanks to Matthew Revert!). It has been a long-term personal project of mine, and I am so glad that it is finally coming to the world.
Due to my busy work with these consuming projects throughout the year, I had to skip many of the live concerts that I had planned to attend (VPO, NYP, BSO, Mitsuko Uchida’s Schubert Sonatas, etc.), but I have no regret since all the above-mentioned productions were extremely satisfying and fulfilling to me on a creative level. (Also for the same reason, I did not have a chance to listen to many of the new releases on other labels, so I made no year end list this year.)
As for some of the few live concerts I was able to attend, the Mahler 5th Symphony by The Cleveland Orchestra under Franz Welser-Möst at Carnegie Hall in October was my favorite. It was a sublime performance of the 5th Symphony.
Another memorable concert was Ivan Ilic performing new and recent works by Melaine Dalibert among the works of Debussy, Satie, and two other contemporary composers at Bargemusic in Brooklyn in October. Ivan Ilić's 2019 album of the piano transcriptions of Haydn's symphonies (Chandos Records) and his albums 'Reicha Rediscovered, Vol. 1' (2017) and vol. 2 (2018) were also an eye-opening discovery of the great music by the composer Antoine Reicha (1770-1836) who I have never heard before.
Shira Legmann's new self-released CD 'J.S. Bach - Partitas 1, 3, 4' was a refreshing new interpretation of Bach Partitas, which I enjoyed a lot also.
My current great interest is Jürg Frey 'Elemental Realities' for orchestra (2019) and 'Grounds of Memory' (2019), both of which were world premiered in Europe this autumn. I am very much interested in having a chance to listen to these recent orchestral and opera works of Frey.
What I am personally listening to most frequently these days is Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left (1969) and Pink Moon (1972), which I came to know just recently but am deeply immersed in now.
I am also working on five new release projects on elsewhere for 2020, which I am excited about:
The Giving Shapes (Vancouver-based piano/harp duo of Robyn Jacob / Elisa Thorn) - Earth Leaps Up (elsewhere 010)
Melaine Dalibert - Anastassis Philippakopoulos: piano works (elsewhere 011)
Melaine Dalibert - Infinite Ascent (elsewhere 012)
Shira Legmann - Giacinto Scelsi: Suite No.9 / Quattro illustrazioni / Un Adieu (elsewhere 013)
Jürg Frey - l'air, l'instant - deux pianos (elsewhere 014)
Thanks to Jon Abbey for his generous support to let me focus on my label and my works throughout the year, and to David Sylvian for his continued, warm support for my label as an invaluable adviser, and all the wonderful musicians who shared great music with me to enrich my life and elsewhere.
Happy New Year 2020 to you all!