When we use the phrase “singers and musicians” in one breath, we communicate—even if inadvertently—that they are mutually exclusive categories. In other words, singers are not musicians. That’s a problem.
Ellen Reid’s instinctive team spirit, as well as her awareness that sound always exists alongside other sensory stimuli, informs all the music she creates, whether it’s the score for the emotionally traumatic yet life-affirming opera p r i s m, the soundtrack for a motion picture, incidental music for theater, a sound installation, or a work for chamber ensemble or orchestra.
The toy piano is a different beast from a modern grand—and in a way that’s what makes it a great instrument for exploring piano preparations. Toy pianos are a lot cheaper, after all, and a lot easier to repair or replace if you damage one. But that aside, this diminutive instrument also offers a great timbral world all its own to experiment with.
The intersection of music and politics is a perennially fascinating topic, though ideas and philosophies often rub uncomfortably against actual musical practice. How is it, for example, that Beethoven’s music of universal brotherhood could also serve as the anthem of an apartheid nation-state? Composers Samuel Adler, Maria Grenfell, Aaron Jay Kernis, and Catherine Likhuta sat down with Ryan Ebright to share their wide-ranging thoughts during the 39th Annual New Music Festival at Bowling Green State University.
Harmonics? Muting? Glissandi and Pizz?! Alan Shockley continues his video series on prepared piano playing with an introduction to a handful of techniques on the strings that will provide many new timbres to explore.
If we in the new music community truly want to open our field and welcome more voices, we will have to come out of our comfort zones. Jacob Richman draws on his experiences working with the Tenderloin Opera Company, a homeless advocacy music and theater group, to present this powerful look into the impact of community art and what it takes to make deep and effective connections.
An ideal updated system for vocal classification would serve singers, composers, and producers. The goal is to create more flexibility for singers, a more usable tool for composers, and more detailed information for producers when it comes to casting and programming.
Alan Shockley dives in deeper with detailed video demos of even more piano preparations that will allow you to continue to explore without fear!
I was expecting something cool but fairly low-key. This isn’t New York or LA, after all; Winnipeg is only the 7th most populous city in Canada (which has one tenth the population of the US). What I found was fairly mind-blowing. A week-long festival dedicated entirely to contemporary music from Canada and abroad. With searing −40° weather outside.
If a mezzo-soprano and a countertenor share the same range and often the same roles, then why are they separate types? And why is there an obvious gender difference?
Lots of pianists and composers are a bit intimidated by the idea of reaching inside the piano, or of inserting foreign objects into the instrument. For those who would like to do some exploring but are feeling apprehensive, Alan Shockley is here to walk you through a few simple preparations and give you the confidence to get started.
If you’re an ambitious person (and I bet you are), you probably have lots of things on your list that you’re going to start “once you have time.” That can be a losing proposition, though, because rarely do things actually calm down. Rebecca Hass is here to help you enter 2019 with a plan to prioritize and take better care of yourself by making small changes—starting now!
My experience as a transgender nonbinary singer has led me to question the effectiveness of the voice type classifications that we currently have in place.
In our day and age of dazzling musical talent that’s available at the push of a button or the click of a link, the music and legacy of George Walker may represent possibilities that are more and more difficult to find: The devotion to a personal vision at a time when many composers conform to an extant musical scene. My brother and I will never forget what it was to be loved by our father. But today any musician or music lover who’s willing to challenge themselves can share with us what he was.
It all started with a conversation. What could we possibly do as teachers and as artists to make things better? We wanted to do something more profound, more long-lasting and impactful.
Composer Roberto Sierra frequently likes to tell the story of how, when he was growing up in Puerto Rico, he would hear Pablo Casals playing his cello on television while salsa recordings of the Fania All-Stars blared outside on the street. Most of Sierra’s music—which spans numerous works for soloists, chamber ensembles, and orchestra as well as his massive Missa Latina—has forged a synthesis of these two musical realms. But the question of what kinds of music are local or global is more complex than it might initially seem.
Wrapping up his series on collaboration in the recording studio, Andrew Rodriguez offers five suggestions for those who may be new to the studio experience—either as a producer or performer—or for those who would like to take their future projects in a new, collaborative direction.
Here are some practical ideas to experiment with to be more inclusive and more student-focused during rehearsals with student ensembles. Disclaimer: You probably shouldn’t (well, just don’t) try all of them at once. That would not be successful.
Before we sing another chorus of “Auld Lang Syne” and bring the curtain down on 2018, we have an annual tradition among the staff here at New Music USA of revisiting some of the tracks that caught our ears and hung on for any number of good reasons.
Instead of the recording acting as an archival document, it can become an expansion of the music itself. On record, you can provide a unique look into a piece of music that can’t be replicated live, especially in the present day where most people listen to music through headphones.
I’m convinced that the majority of conductors believe that simply because a student is in his/her ensemble playing an instrument, or singing, they are “engaged.” More and more, I’m convinced that this just isn’t the case. We stand on a box, with a stick, telling them what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.
It’s not as much about attracting new audiences as it is about retaking the stage for what artists can be in our society. Music and performance is an incredibly powerful way to connect people. You can create community and discourse and new ways of understanding each other through pieces of art.
Our friend and colleague Nicole Chamberlain agreed to curate a playlist inspired by the upcoming Midwest Clinic with works that she sourced from across the New Music USA platform. She put together this fantastic list featuring tracks from Alex Shapiro, Molly Joyce, Jennifer Jolley, Emily Koh, Alan Theisen, Russ Zokaites, and more!
The goal of being a producer or a teacher isn’t to create carbon copies of yourself or your tastes. Instead, you work harder to help artists or your students achieve (or sometimes to develop) their visions. It’s a more involved and difficult process than it would be to just change everything until you’re satisfied, but the end result is a product that is a true representation of someone other than yourself.