By now those who have been following me should know how bad I am with staying engaged on social media. It’s not that I don’t like Facebook, Instagram and their likes, or that I chose to be a web hermit, don’t get me wrong. What repels me is the way these networks are designed to work; their algorithms, the deities of our days. I’m bothered by the way you must commit to their working parameters or be left at the margins and get little traction when you eventually share something important. It seems to me that such a system promotes an environment where everybody must constantly yelp for attention, and I’m not comfortable with being part of that. That said, maybe in the times to come I will have a lot of exciting stuff that I’ll want to post, my idiosyncrasies will loosen their grip on me and I’ll become an avid user of social networks. You never know.
In the meantime I do have some news to share here in my own website.
After about a decade I made a complete revamp of the site. There were technical features that were outdated and others that needed to be upgraded in order to meet new security standards, so I took care of that and decided to redesign the graphics as well. I also removed all the old blog posts and merged all relevant information they contained in whatever pages it fit in.
Perhaps the main update to the site is actually in the blog. There’s a number of posts I’ve made for NY Ensemble Classes that I decided to publish here as well. Those posts received positive feedback and were also published on Roma in Jazz and Jazzitalia. Since they are the fruit of my work I figured “why not”?
In other news, I’ve been away from New York City for quite a chunk of time. I went back home to take care of some personal stuff and to renew my visa and by the time I was ready to go back Covid hit the world and I got “stuck” back home in Macerata. Despite my frustration this break wasn’t useless, though, as it made me think a lot about today’s perspectives for a working musician, the importance of a music scene, and where I would like to be in the spectrum of all things of life. Also, and perhaps most notably, all that thinking sparked my creativity and evolved into two separate projects.
The first is the script I wrote for a twelve part series of videos on improvisation that is supposed to be in between of witty and insightful. The funny part is that I don’t feel ready to record it, though. I want to do it right, and at the moment I feel like some of the material requires a level of mindfulness that I haven’t reached yet. In these series I pushed my limits with certain concepts and I put myself in a position where I own the material conceptually but I’m not yet able to use it in practice the way I wish. Hopefully it’s a matter of time and I’ll start recording these episodes soon. I’m taking my time with it, though, as I don’t feel like it’s a priority.
…and Networked Music Performances
The second big project that evolved during my break from New York has been quite a trip…
The Covid pandemic crushed the world of live music. Meeting in groups was prohibited, let alone performing or rehearsing. All of a sudden desperate musicians from all over the place turned onto the web to find solutions, and I saw that unfold with anxiety because one of the many projects I had been working on – coincidentally – was actually networked music performances. I have a background in information technology and I had been doing research for several months on the subject before the pandemic began. When all hell broke loose I felt like I needed to make a move or someone else would have stepped ahead of me. I reached out to the Polytechnic Institute in Turin and broadly shared the cornerstones of my project. A thing led to the next and before you knew it I was the CEO of a soon to be founded company that was formed by faculty from Turin and faculty from Stanford University in California. Exciting times!
At one point I was even invited as a guest to participate via zoom to a class at Stanford and illustrate the mechanics and goals of NMPs (Networked Music Performances). That was an amazing experience, and an encouraging one too, because once I explained all things from the right angle, and the students understood the product we planned on building, they all showed great enthusiasm for it.
We worked on that project for about a year then we put together all the data we had gained. At that point we realized that some of the technologies needed for the project aren’t yet fully available to the public. We also came to the conclusion that in the current state of things certain features wouldn’t be cost effective, so we decided to stop the pursuit, at least for the time being. In fact, while some of the members of our team have definitely decided to step out, others (especially on the American end) remain on hold to see if something new comes along. So at the moment this project is not running, but if you are
- A) a programmer
- B) a telecommunications expert
- C) an expert in audio electronics
and have an entrepreneurial spirit, do get in touch with me because this project may restart at any time! (contact me)
That’s all for this update, stay safe and – as always – if you see me play somewhere come over and say “hi!”