The Stone, an influential experimental music space, is making its new home at The New School, starting in March 2018. For some students, the question is: Will they get a gig?
Jazz student Hassani Cummings said he was “stoked” about the relocation. “It’s definitely a step in the right direction,” he said, adding that he hopes students will have a chance to perform.
“[The Stone founder] John Zorn and the [College of Performing Arts] administration have talked about Stone artists performing together with students from CoPA and other colleges,” said Richard Kessler, the executive dean of the College of Performing Arts at The New School.He added that “nothing of that sort has been programmed yet.”
Students will still be regularly performing and rehearsing in the Glass Box Theater “all day, every day,” as well as on the two nights each week, on Sundays and Mondays, when The Stone does not perform in the space, Kessler said. On the other five evenings each week when The Stone performs at 8:30, Kessler said, students will only have access to the space until around 6pm, when the space will be set up for The Stone’s performances.
According to The New York Times, the venue’s relocation comes with at least one definite perk for New Schoolers: students will be able to claim any unsold seats in the audience for free.
Along with the question of possible gigs, students at the College of Performing Arts expressed excitement at the news of The Stone’s new space on campus. “The two organizations share similar ideologies and they will both benefit from a partnership. I’m sure The Stone could use the financial resources and publicity, ” said second-year jazz student Benjamin Woodard. “The New School’s reputation as an artistic institution may be strengthened and expanded as well.”
“I think it is amazing news that The Stone is assimilating into The New School,” said Malick Koly, a first year jazz student. “I think this initiative will allow all sorts of artists to not only develop a sense of community as ‘Narwhals’, but also allow students to experience the professional music scene first-hand.”
However, junior Jazz Saxophone major Blake Opper views the relocation as better news for The New School than for The Stone. “The venue won’t have control of their own space anymore,” he said.
Although many Mannes and Jazz students expressed excitement with the change, others were not aware of it. Several music students approached by the NSFP had not heard about the venue’s integration into the school.
At the original Lower East Side location, the venue had a hole-in-the-wall vibe, and the performance space was dark and intimate. The Stone’s move to the bright and spacious Glass Box Theater will be a change in scenery, although it will maintain a 74-seat house.
The Stone was founded in 2005 by the composer John Zorn. Its assimilation into the New School’s College of Performing Arts was partially inspired by the friendship-cum-business partnership between Zorn and Richard Kessler, who is the Dean of Performing Arts at The New School.
The New School has hosted workshops facilitated and curated by John Zorn under the moniker of “The Stone Workshops at The New School.” Relocating The Stone was a step in “taking the partnership [between Zorn and Kessler] to the next natural level,” according to The New School’s official press release regarding the move.
Despite the change in location, Zorn and Kessler assure fans of The Stone that the venue’s integrity will not be compromised. “Most of what The Stone has become known for will remain unchanged, albeit in brand new facilities. John Zorn will continue to serve as artistic director, overseeing all of the programming,” states the press release.
Photos by Orlando Mendiola