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Gil Selinger: News

Gil Selinger Video - October 2, 2008

Duende CD Released soon - April 11, 2007

Hi Friends,

Well, If you are here reading this, then you either have some extra time or are really interested or both! Thanks for checking things out here. I am pleased to announce that the Duende CD will be out soon, and I have just recieved some preview copies today. The CD is on MSR Classics, and I will provide a link to it when it is offically released so anyone who wants to pick one up can. The Duende trio is Jeffrey Agrell, Gil Selinger, and Evan Mazunik on Horn, Cello and Piano. We reinterpret early music on this cd - and when I say early I am talking between the 11th and 16th century. We take an improvisational approach to the music and the result is a blend of modern jazz, free improvisation and early music. More news coming soon but for now here is the cd cover...

Orléans France - February 19, 2007

I am here in orleans, where last night I did some solo playing and some group improvisations on the radio. Before that we did an hour long special on strings and improvisation, where i tried to speak french on the air between songs and played a bunch of stuff from my ipod. Including selections from the soundpainting string quartet cd and my duo cd with Evan, both of which are not yet out.

teaching; playing, recording - January 26, 2007

This morning was another good rehearsal of the orchestra amalgammes with Walter and Christophe in preparation for the St.Saéns concerto concert on the 5th coming up soon. On Sunday I will be playing solo invited by Youen Cadiou the excellent bass player who is organizing a nice evening of improvisational music.
The afternoon was an excellent workshop for people new to soundpainting, where I was teaching. It was my first paid teaching gig (soundpainting) in Paris, and it went very well. Rafael Arditti, who organized the event, was giving me a ride home when we got rear ended by some jerk who wasn't paying attention to his driving. It turned out to be very funny to me, but obviously not for her. She was shook up and I ended up driving her home and parking her car after a long time searching for a parking spot.
I also want to announce that I will be doing a radio broadcast in Orléans in febuary. It will be an hour long program about strings and improvisation with a focus on my stuff, including a live performance. Hopefully I will bring the tape home and make it available on here for people to listen to, even if you don't understand french, you could still check out the music.
The whirlwind continues with a rehearsal tomorrow of the spoumj orchestra (françois jenneau) and then the solo concert on sunday. More updates coming soon...

A quick breath before the storm - January 24, 2007

Greetings from Paris, where yesterday after the first rehearsal of Amalgammes for the St Saens concerto concert coming up on the fifth I quickly rushed over to the banlieu (suburbs) of Paris to teach a soundpainting workshop. These are the same suburbs where cars were being blown up not too long ago. It sort of reminded me of morgan ave brooklyn in the early nineties. A bit rough around the edges. The st saens seems to be going well, and should be even better at the next rehearsal. I really can't say more than that yet.
Orléans, the small easy, proved to live up to its name. a cute, sleepy city it reminded me more of switzerland than any of the very few towns in France that I've ever visited. I think a little house in this sweet little city would make a good change and ranks high among my short list of relocation points.
A busy week in front of me includes more rehearsals and concerts, both in Paris and again in Orléans. More news to come so stay tuned...

Villamblain, France - January 18, 2007

I did an excellent recording session today with Yann and Simon. There was really some nice communication going on. Tomorrow we will heqd into Orléans to take a look at the "big" city - or the small easy as I like to call it. We continue to record on Saturday.

SoundPainting Think Thank 2006 - July 11, 2006

The City of Hoganas in Sweeden is hosting this year's SoundPainting Thinktank. A large list of participants coming from around the world will converge on this small city for a week of SoundPainting workshops and concerts. If you live in Sweeden or are visiting, and can make it to any of the performances please come by, if not, I will be taking photos and recordings during the week and will have an update from the thinktank later in August.
This should be a very exciting event.

Bad or Worse? - February 11, 2006

The fact that a cartoon can cause such fury and outpouring of frustration is no surprise to me. In fact it makes a great deal of sense. The sheer magnitude of stupidity in the world, and its rise to heights of power in political strata globally is unequaled in the memory of the living. Ofcourse, no sane person can become outraged at a simple cartoon, drawn by an obviously second rate cartoonist (at best) and published in a previously unknown newspaper from a small country most in the world have never visited or even noticed before. The sane person who much to my personal dismay might be offended by such a cartoon might have perhaps 30 seconds to feel emotions such as anger, betrayal, etc. and then go back to productive things with his/her own life. So, what we are seeing now is a vast quantity of the earths population teetering beyond the edge of sanity. This is sheer madness. It is shocking, and it makes me sad. Perhaps the UN should seek to pass a resolution that no member country may continue to be governed by a leader or group of leaders who are not capable of passing a basic psychiatric test to prove their sanity. I certainly would like to see the results of such a test on the majority of leaders of countries.
I recently had the misfortune of working with a Danish guy whose music received thunderous if mystifying applause. It was the closest thing to un-music that I have ever played. There were many factors working against me on this performace. Things which came up to bite me in the ass - so to speak. But, the general feeling and emotional temperature of the room was so foreign to me, and caught me so off guard that I was nearly unable to play a part that was literally designed to be playable by a trained monkey. I was (together with a group of string players) playing along with a "soundtrack" being played back through pro-tools, and although the same thing could have been bounced down to 2 track and played from a cd player, it would not have looked nearly as cool. The highlight of the evening (for me) was the loss of power to the computer. Perhaps it revolted and just shut down. Whatever it was, I took it as a small victory. I was also fortunate enough to be buffered on either side by extremely sympathetic people who made the whole experience much more bearable. I have yet to be paid the meager sum which was promised and it is only for this reason that I withhold the names of those involved, since I still perhaps unreasonable hold out hope that by some miracle the contract will be fulfilled and remuneration will be forthcoming.
I mention these 2 seemingly disparate bits of news beside each other and look for the links between them. There is something dower brewing in middle earth. A shadow is falling over all the lands, and the possibility of laughter, light heartedness, silliness, these are all things which are so delicate, and seem to be slipping away from peoples consciousness. I felt a heavy cloud over me for the past 24 hours, as I am sure millions of others have felt over themselves, and feel over themselves at times, for inconsequential reasons. All reasons, all events are potentially meaningless. It is up to us what meaning and value we assign to the events of our lives. Passing through nastiness only reinforces in me my strong will, which I cannot allow to be broken, that I will not be joining the growing tide of insanity. I also need to ask many more questions if I do "gigs" with people whom I have not worked with before.

New Feature to the Website - December 28, 2005

If you notice in the Music section I have added a "brand new selection" at the beginning of the page. I will be regularly adding more music, and as it goes up, it will go there before it moves down into an appropriate category.

End of the Year - December 20, 2005

As the years end approaches, like most people I think of what I've done this year, and what is planned for next year. 2006 is already setting up to be a jam packed year. I have a full calendar in January in New York, and will be travelling through France, Germany, Sweeden and Denmark during Feburary through April. I would like to wish all the people who celebrate a happy holidays, and an excellent New Year.

Let's Play Something... - December 7, 2005

What shall we play?
I don't know lets improvise.
Ok. What?
well, lets pick a style.
A classical style?
Yes, ok.
Thats too broad.
Is it? Ok. Pick a composer.
like who?
Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, Schumann, Liszt, Meyerbeer, Schubert.
You mean just pick one?
Yes. Just pick one.
Which One?
Which one do you like?
I like them all.
That's too broad.
Yes, it is.
How about Ives?
Ok, then Ives.
Well, what is Ives's style?
I don't know.
How about Beethoven then.
What is Beethoven's style?
Well, I know it.
Yes we all do, don't we. But what is his style - and I don't want an answer from a textbook or a class, what is Beethoven's style to you?
I know it when I hear it.
That's not good enough.
He uses lots of scales.
Good, thats a start. What scales does he use.
Mostly major and minor.
Ok, lets say thats true. What else?
He has great melodies, he mostly uses quite simple rhythms at least to start off with.
Well, I don't know if I agree completely, but its a good place to start. Good as any. Can you play something that sound like Beethoven?
Why would I do that, I can play actual Beethoven.
Yes, but you can't play YOU now can you?
But, I'm not a composer.
No, But you did ask about being an improviser.
Yes, I did. I see, so I need to try to play something that sounds like Beethoven.
Or Brahms, Ives, Mozart, or even Richard Danielpour.
What will this do?
It will help you to improvise like YOU.
Copying these composers will help?
You're sort of digging around their music for help. Like a miner.
I see. How do I start?
With One note.
Don't be funny.
I'm not. Play one note and then string it together with another one. Make sure you have a dynamic (or not), a crescendo or Fp or not, choose a vibrato or not. etcetra.
So you mean be deliberate?
What if I want to be vague?
Then be deliberately vague.
I see.
Good, so go get started.
Yes, ok. Where do I start?
Try an open string.
You're making fun again!
(Laugh) well, yes and no. Its going to take some time.
But what if....
What if I find out I can't do it.
Well, it takes a long time. keep at it.
No, I mean what if I have nothing to say - what if I can't do it, what if it isn't any good?
You can always go back to reading notes and pretending that you are conveying some deep meaning in them.

How do you do that? - November 25, 2005

Want to know more about "classical improvisation"? So do I. I will share my thoughts on the subject here, and hope it may provoke some responses.
I saw German Bassist Peter Kowald play for half an hour solo at the CBGB basement improvisation series one evening I was playing with Assif Tsahar's NY Underground Orchestra. Peter had a rare ability to create a unity in his improvisation whereby from the very first note to the very last there was an overall form and structure. As I remember it, his form that night was ABCBA with A and B being contrasting themes with small developments, The C section was a merger of the A and B themes together, and he ended the work with a return to the original A theme in a pure form that began the work. This kind of cohesion is essential to a satisfying work of music in my estimation.
I am always trying to see the big picture. There is no "filler" - no music you play to get to the "good stuff"- it must all be mined from the very first note. Each note, each articulation must work in the context of the whole piece.

Doors Of Amsterdam - November 10, 2005

On a recent trip to Amsterdam, I took a bunch of photos of doors. The best ones are posted in the photo's section with a link at the bottom. Click there to see my photo collection of the Doors Of Amsterdam.

A thought on Democracy - October 1, 2005

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average of the world's greatest civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage.
- Alexander Tyler, 1778

Upcoming Recital News - September 21, 2005

After a fantastic rehersal today with Pianist Evan Mazunik which I happened to get down on tape - (well, it was recorded straight to hard drive in pro-tools, but you know what I mean) I have decided to post a piece from the rehersal so people can get an idea about what this duo sounds like. It will be up very soon, so look for it in the music section of the website. Although the audio quality isn't superb (there's an air conditioner running in the room which you can unfortunately hear, and that piano wasn't exactly in perfect tune) the music is really happening. It's so good, I hope you will overlook the imperfections and hear the possibilites. Our upcoming concert at Weiler Hall will be on a great piano in fantastic tune.

Deconstructing Haydn on Radio France - September 15, 2005

As part of an hour long radio show on SoundPainting, excerpts from Deconstructing Haydn were played and the project discussed by the host and Walter Thompson during an interview which featured fellow SoundPainters Francois Jenneau and Vincent Le-Quang. The broadcast went out nationally in France. radio france archive

Website Update - September 14, 2005

Hi everyone. New Updates to the site. The Bio has been expanded and pictures added. New MP3's posted - espically "Improvisation #1" featuring Diana Wayburn on Piano and Flute and Eric Eigner on Percussion. The Music section now has sub categories for each album/project that is represented. CD cover art added in the on-line store. And, the Duo Concert date with Evan Mazunik has been set for Renee Weiler Concert Hall. If you can only make it to 1 of my concerts this year, this will be the one to get to.

New Stuff on the Site - September 10, 2005

Added Clips for Music for Cello, Bass Clarinet and Percussion today. These pieces were composed for a film by Gil's sister Liv called While Ending Silence. Also Added some new links and a new updated bio.

A note about the music on this site - September 9, 2005

In the music section of this site, there are free mp3 files for you to listen to. Unfortunately the album descriptions are not located together with these clips or full tracks, so if you want more information about what you are listening to, you will have to click around on the site a bit. In the Store, (click on the BUY button) there are descriptions of the albums that are for sale, and links to even more detailed descriptions. In the Links section you can find out more about SoundPainting, and many other things. If you can't find information you are looking for, or it is not detailed enough, you can ofcourse send me an email at and I will be happy to try and explain it to you.

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