Maria joined Neighborhood Arts in 2017 through her Beat Bus percussion residencies at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Hernandez K-8 School, and the Yawkey Boys and Girls Club in Roxbury.
Beat Bus, a one-of-a-kind electronic bucket drumming experience, is brought to festivals, community centers, schools, and libraries throughout New England through Kadence Arts, a non-profit organization Maria founded whose mission is to unite the community by providing new experiences to support and encourage an appreciation and understanding of how music impacts and enriches our lives.
Maria has created large-scale multimedia events in public spaces from Cincinnati to Northern Sweden, with several locations in Boston, including Fenway Park, Charlestown Navy Yard, Edison Power Plant, and Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum. Her new creative venture, MF Dynamics, will continue her mission to disrupt listener expectations by merging meticulous performance practice with pervasive storytelling in unique spaces. Maria’s new Project Daydream, a live music experience guiding listeners to explore their breath, their joy, their support system, and their own mantra, will debut at Neighborhood Arts this coming season. She will also appear this coming Neighborhood Arts season as a member of Quartet Kalos.
Named a “one-woman dynamo” by The Boston Globe, tune in to Facebook Live this Thursday at 8:00 pm for her concert!
Maria Finkelmeier Q&A
What first got you into music?
My parents signed me up for piano lessons when I was about 7 years old. I remember our Saturday routine: my brother's lesson, followed by my lesson, with lunch at the same restaurant every week, where they always had our table set prior to our arrival. I started playing the drums in fifth-grade band, since we already had a drumset at home, and I just thought it was a lot of fun!
How would you describe the music that you typically create?
My favorite aspect of being a percussionist is the challenge to make music with almost anything! I love to improvise, and my music typically begins with an idea that is discovered while improvising freely. I'm also deeply inspired by stories/poetry and paintings/visuals as launching points for my music. Stylistically I'm a bit all over the board, but there are seeds of minimalist, avant-garde, and pop music in what I create.
How are you staying creative during the pandemic?
Laughs with a toddler and long-distance collaborations! Early in the pandemic, I called friend and glitch artist Allison Tanenhaus about making some work together. So far we've created three audio/visual works combining our skills, and have some ideas for future work as a team! I've also learned to play a lot of kids' songs on the Ukulele for my 1.5-year-old, which has proven equally fun!
Have you performed any online concerts? How did they go? Any future online concerts planned?
This is my first live stream concert! I often share videos, but this is the first time I'll be live. I'm a bit nervous, and look forward to making new connections and giving you a look into my studio life and a few works-in-progress.
Any upcoming CDs or special projects being released soon?
I just finished writing the music for a project called "Koizumi," an evening-length work for trumpet/voice and two percussionists about the life and work of writer and philosopher Lafcadio Hearn. The work was commissioned by Jean Laurenz, an incredible musician, and Hearn's great-great-grand niece. We'll be releasing a visual album and film online this fall, and (hopefully) tour in 2021 and beyond!
How have you been connecting with friends and family during this time?
We make a strong effort to Facetime and Zoom with family as often as we can. My toddler will often look at the phone and say "Grandma," which although not as good as seeing each other in person, I'm excited that she is making connections through technology.
What do you miss doing in your neighborhood?
We miss going to the Arnold Arboretum regularly. It's such a beautiful place to walk, run, hang, and meet friends. However, I did just discover today that Houghton Pond in the Blue Hills is quite empty at 8 am, which makes for a perfect early morning getaway.
Are there any favorite cafes or restaurants you’ve ordered takeout from? Or any you’re looking forward to eating at hopefully soon?
We order from SomTum Modern Thai Cuisine or JP Seafood as a treat!
What have you been cooking a lot at home? Any recipes you can share with us?
How long do I have for this question?! We've been avid meal planners during the pandemic, and really enjoyed the time in the kitchen. One of our favorite new recipes is mango chicken in the Instapot and just this week we did vegetarian enchiladas with our own sauce.
Are there any favorite venues in your neighborhood you miss and look forward to attending once things reopen?
I'm disappointed to hear that Bella Luna, a Jamaica Plain staple, won't be opening up after the pandemic. It was a great place to gather, attend community events, and enjoy great live music. Next summer, I will look forward to gathering and enjoying the many Porchfests that happen around the city!
What is one message you would like to give to your fans?
What I miss about performing live music in person is the ability to create a shared memory with collaborators and fans. I am so inspired that our industry has shifted to offer what we can during this time, but I cannot wait to have the opportunity to look you in the eye, listen to your story, feel your energy from the stage, embrace, or cheers to life events and accomplishments.