Festival artists, summer 2024

I’m pleased to announce our roster of artists for this summer. There are too many to introduce individually, and, since musicians talk obsessively about food, I opted to ask each of them their favorite dish instead. You can tell a lot about a person from what they eat.

Gimchijjigae jom juseyo
Soo Bae, cello: Kimchie Jiggae (Kimchie stew). I grew up eating Kimchie stew and never tire of eating this spicy hot juicy dish.”

Elizabeth Brown, therimen and composer: This is difficult, as I have way too many favorite foods! But I’ll pick guacamole, because I’m known for it and would probably have no social life without it, as in: ‘We’d like to invite you to (lunch/dinner/party/picnic/etc.) and could you please bring your guacamole?’ “

Patrick Castillo, Composer-in-Residence: I'm going to say that my favorite food is this killer crispy tofu recipe that, while I've tried to make it myself and failed, my wife, Karen, has absolutely perfected. We have it with brown rice and roasted vegetables and I slather it with this Momofuku Chili Crunch sauce that they sell at Whole Foods that I'm pretty sure is laced with crack cocaine, it's so addictive. I could eat this dish all day. But more than that, it's an emotional comfort food because every time I'm eating it, I'm eating it for dinner with my family and we're catching up about our days.”

Remember “Buffy” the buffalo at Tendercrop?

Alfred Nicol, Poet-in-Residence: “It must be at least three years ago that my wife Gina’s daughter Ashley challenged us to go vegan for one month. “No way!” we told her, but we did consent to abstain from eating red meat till we turned the calendar page. Believe it or not, we stuck it out. What’s more, we haven’t eaten pork or beef since!  That means I will never tire of the lunch I love best: a BLT made with oven-roasted tomatoes and English toasting bread, and, of course, bacon from Tendercrop Farm. That perfect simple sandwich grows ever more delicious in memory. I could hope for St. Peter to surprise me with one at heaven’s gate, but that’s unlikely; he wrestled with his own dietary restrictions.”

Un perro caliente, por favor

Jane Niebling, Artist-in-Residence: A hot dog. Specifically: grilled, both dog and bun. Mustard and relish. None of the ingredients need be “good”. Outside. At a beach. I am nine. Or…above is the hotdog I ate yesterday at this food cart in Tucson, AZ:  'El Sinaolense' Sonoran-style dog.”

Je voudrais un croissant s'il vous plait

Solenne Païdassi, violinist: My favorite food? Probably the croissants from one very specific bakery in Paris, very close to where I used to live next to Place de la République. After veeeeery intensive testing, I decided those were really some of the best croissants in Paris. The problem was that, in typical French fashion, that bakery was never open on weekends, and only at very specific and random times during the week. It was almost impossible to ever get my hands on one, and I think in the five years I lived there, I only managed to eat four croissants there. Any time I go to Paris, I try though! The bakery is called “Du pain et des idées” in case anyone reading this is feeling lucky.”

Bougatsa from Giannis Bakery

Ilya Polataev, piano: "In Thessaloniki, Greece, there is a special little bakery, called Giannis, that serves bougatsa, a Greek pastry with different fillings. It's world-famous, but it's tiny and it's open all night, from 8 pm until 3 pm the following day. There is nothing tastier and more appealing that the fresh bougatsa that they make every evening. My 8-year old son, whom I recently took on a concert tour to Greece, wants to board the plane every morning just to go back to Thessaloniki so that we can be there by 8 pm, when it reopens...Frankly, I understand him all too well..."

Stephanie Zyzack, violin: My favorite food is a really good burger - preferably Shake Shack or a good pub burger! I love trying to find the best burger joint in each place I visit.”

Linda Gureasko and John Yang

David Yang, viola and Artistic Director: Lastly, for me, being a mutt (and, not-coincidentally, author of this post), I am allowing myself to choose two dishes. As the scion of a Chinese man and Jewish woman, I’d be hard-pressed to choose between either xiao-long-bao, also known as “soup dumplings,” from Joe’s Shanghai, or a pastrami on rye from Katz’s Deli, both in my home town of New York.

I probably won’t be invited to family dinners
with Alfred Nicol anytime soon
The preferred method of consumption for a soup dumpling
is to bite off a corner, drip the broth into the spoon,
slurp it up as loudly as possible, then eat the rest.

Speaking of dumplings, here is a video my daughter, Alessandra (who did last week's post), prepared containing two of her favorite things – Shostakovich and making dumplings.

Dumplings + Shostakovich: what's not to like?
NCMF Summer 2024 festival artists

Solenne Païdassi, violin
Stephanie Zyzak, violin  
David Yang, viola
Soo Bae, cello
Ilya Polataev, piano
Elizabeth Brown, theremin & composer
Patrick Castillo, Composer-in-Residence
Alfred Nicol, Poet-in-Residence
Jane Niebling, Artist-in-Residence

The dates for the summer are Monday, July 29th to Sunday, August 11th with music by Brahms, Haydn, Schnittke, Schumann, Liszt, Ligeti, Kurtág, Bach/Gounod, Elizabeth Brown, Patrick Castillo, Janáček, and Saint-Saens. A detailed calendar goes up later this spring.  

David Yang, Artistic Director

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