On April 4, 2020, I was diagnosed with COVID-19. I began exhibiting symptoms on March 26, and started my self-isolation at home before moving elsewhere, to maintain the health of my husband and son after they tested negative. Composers are generally quite comfortable with self isolation, even to the point of seeking it out, and so I decided to take the Romantic view: I had just been granted an unexpected artist residency!
Composer Sarah Kirkland Snider shares her experience with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder and how they impact her creative process.
Inspired by similar crowd-sourced spreadsheets for dancers, baristas, museum workers, and adjunct professors, we created the Real Music Wages Database to help freelance music workers navigate what can be a very confusing financial landscape and give us tools to negotiate wages for ourselves, particularly in situations when we don’t have a union or an agent working on our behalf.
Judith Lang Zaimont is defiantly unwilling to be typecast for creating music in a particular style, which makes her music always a welcome surprise.
Julia Adolphe shares why she started this project, and how her composition professor, Steven Stucky, created a safe space for her to talk during lessons.
[Switch~ Ensemble] led a Community Survey about the habits, preferences, and interests of concert-goers for livestreams. We are pleased to provide a summary of the responses, as well as recommendations based on our analysis of the data.
In the midst of the pandemic, national protests against systemic racism, increasing threats of domestic terrorism, and going stir crazy in my living room, I started the podcast at first simply as a creative and emotional outlet. I yearned to connect with friends and colleagues about the collective toll this period has taken on our mental health and creativity, and to remain active and present within our community while so many of us are forced to wait, or worse, are struggling to survive or function.
How much should composers get paid for commissions? As composers ourselves, we recently set out to find the answer. We were motivated not only by our curiosity, but also by our desire to know what is fair and equitable.
Kris Bowers creates music that is attuned to whatever project he is working on–whether it’s the score for the 2018 motion picture Green Book, the 2019 EA Sports videogame Madden NFL 20, the 2020 Phyllis Schlafly-inspired Hulu series Mrs. America, or the 2021 Netflix sensation Bridgerton.
If we want the art we make to heal our community’s loneliness and pain and bring us back together again, then it has to be about more than creating a pristine product to be consumed.
Lots of new music will usher in a new American administration on January 20, 2021. Newly commissioned works by Kimberly Archer and Peter Boyer, classics by Aaron Copland, Julie Giroux, and Joan Tower, and a 46-song Spotify playlist spanning music from The Staple Sisters to Bruce Springsteen to Kendrick Lamar.
Despite the fact that the majority of our students do not listen to Western art music regularly, nearly all of the core curriculum is based on it. Let’s open their ears, eyes, and minds to voices and people that have been marginalized, to the stories that surround and support the notes, to the unheard music.
Mystery School posits an alternative touch—something that does not directly fall within the mainstream’s easily digestible paradigm of being able to play the instrument, even though the practitioners of the Mystery School are obviously highly skilled virtuosos whose touch, language, and articulation are extremely hard to copy.
Julie Giroux, who creates music primarily for wind band, takes musicians and audiences on a journey that is a real sonic adventure and, at the same time, is always fun.
There is no doubt that we are in unprecedented times. Living through a global pandemic has tested and revealed so much about who we are as a people and what we possess as a culture. But art will push on regardless of the circumstances, and I find it to be a transcendent privilege as well as a dire responsibility to stay focused on ways to continue innovating the arts without hesitation or compromise.
M³ (Mutual Mentorship for Musicians) is a revolutionary new program which its founders Jen Shyu and Sara Serpa describe as “a think tank for new ways to connect, collaborate, support, create, and empower womxn musicians worldwide including BIPOC, LGBTQIA2S+, and musicians of all abilities across generations.” To celebrate the first two concerts born from this initiative on Dec 6 and 12, we asked the 12 participating musicians to share their thoughts about how M³ has impacted their creative process.
Valerie Coleman is committed to storytelling through her music, no matter the idiom. “I recognize that there are stories that are yet untold that if they were told, they would transform all those who would hear them. So it’s my job to create music that allows that transformative power to happen.”
Our record announcement fell on the same day the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Two months later, the record was released just days before George Floyd’s murder. Every week of 2020 has shown us something far more important, far more worthy of attention than a record of new music by two white men.
George Friedrich Haas’s composition I Can’t Breathe, written just after the birth of the Black Lives Matter organization and well before the concept came to international prominence, raises a number of important questions about the response of the international new music community to the increasingly multicultural and multiracial, i.e., creolized, societies in which its performances, curatorial directions, and critical and philosophical inquiries are being presented.
This is not a composition; it’s a protest. This is not a performance; it’s a demonstration. This is a political work of art. I wrote it to express the hypocrisy of a nation that continues to deny its history, a history that has and will continue to define our future.
Spring rolls around, the world shelters-in-place, and life as we know it is over. How can Fluxus address this?
My goal was to bring new life to an instrument that fell into the cracks of history. When the pandemic hit, we wanted to have this instrument become a communal element for artists stuck in their studios all over the world to find creative stimulation.
A year after writing “It’s Time to Let Classical Music Die,” Nebal Maysaud says, “I still believe … that classical music as a field does still have a lot of conservative and neoliberal values. But what I’ve seen also indicates that, while our structures and power structures reinforce these racial hierarchies of white supremacy, there are a lot of individuals who are aware of that and want to make a change in that power structure; and are not content with how we abusing people of color in the field of classical music.”
I’ve been clinically depressed for roughly as long as I’ve been writing music. It has naturally been a constant question as to how it would manifest itself in my music; over time, a set of approaches has emerged, ways to address the illness to varying degrees.