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Paul Elwood

Show Up, Stay Awake, and Tell the Truth

This week, Paul Elwood shares his essential composition tips.

Articles
Roger Tréfousse

My Search for Ben Weber

Ben Weber was an enigma. He was a twelve tone composer whose lushly harmonic music is often described as tonal. He was a deeply serious, intellectual artist in the metaphysical mold of Schoenberg and Busoni. At the same time, he was famous in artistic circles for his impromptu, hilarious yet oddly poignant drag performances of opera performed for close friends at his West Village apartment.

Articles
Neil Leonard

Sound, Architecture II: Fog, Ruins, and Ellington

Creating sound for a large outdoor installation had been a dream of Neil Leonard’s for years. But when the opportunity finally arrived, it was filled with a list of elements that couldn’t be tested in advance and were subject to change—even after he finished the music.

Articles
Gloria Cheng

Garlands for Steven Stucky

Steven Stucky died much too soon—and for so many of us, unacceptably—at the age of 66. The CD recording Garlands for Steven Stucky is a collection of short piano pieces written by Steve’s countless composer friends; they are 32 individual, deeply-felt relationships.

Articles
Paul Elwood

Channeling the Messengers

The fact is, if we’re really doing our jobs as artists, we don’t know what we’re doing. Yes, the work needs to be applied and the technique needs to be in place, but, if we’re truly doing our job, then a certain level of informed ignorance is intrinsic to the process.

Matthew Guerrieri

“Automation Divine”: Early Computer Music and the Selling of the Cold War

Matthew Guerrieri dives deep into something particular about the early days of computer music in the United States. It got its start, quite literally, in the off-hour downtime of the military-industrial complex.

Articles
Gloria Cheng

Only in Los Angeles?

It could be said that Los Angeles has conspired, by countless means and for many decades, to make itself into as hospitable an environment for new music as possible.

Articles
NewMusicBox Staff

New Music USA Announces Interim Plans During Nationwide Search for New President and CEO

New Music USA staff member Deborah Steinglass has assumed the role of Interim CEO (effective October 1, 2018) while the organization’s board of directors is involved in a nationwide search to find a new permanent President and CEO.

Articles
Paul Elwood

The Autobiographical Impulse in Composition

No matter what an artist does, the choices are often subconscious, based on personal experience and background. This background dictates where we take our music.

Interviews
Frank J. Oteri

George Tsontakis: Getting Out of My Introvertism

Although George Tsontakis has had a career that most American composers would envy, he aspires to a hermetic existence in the middle of the woods and composes something only when someone commissions it and nothing at all if no one does. Perhaps surprisingly, it’s a strategy that has served him well.

Articles
Michael Garrett Steele

It’s All People. And It’s All Connected

Writing all of this down has been an opportunity to sort through some of the chaos of the last ten years or so. I’ve never really sat down and written about myself. I don’t generally find myself that interesting. After all, I already know how the story goes. But maybe I don’t. However, one of the things that I know is that everything that matters in my life is something I owe to other people.

Articles
T. K. Blue

Remembering Randy Weston (1926-2018)—A True Musical Giant

On September 1, 2018, we lost a true musical giant, innovator, NEA Jazz Master, and a warrior for the elevation of African-American pride and culture.

Articles
Neil Leonard

Sound, Architecture, and Necromancy

Neil Leonard is drawn to exploring sound in unusual architectural spaces—locations he finds by accident, through recommendations from friends, and by searching for sites with peculiar histories. This week he takes us on a tour that spans many unusual sites—including a subterranean acoustical marvel located in Greece dating back to 1400 B.C. It was a recording experience that began with disorientation and nausea but eventually had a profound sonic impact.

Articles
Michael Garrett Steele

Surfing on a Constantly Shifting Bed of Earthquaking Sand Dunes

You don’t get to just change one part of your life at once. That’s not what life is. Life is where you surf on a constantly shifting bed of earthquaking sand dunes and you try to grab what happiness you can as it floats by amidst the chaos. At this point, I can hardly go anywhere without running into a friendly face—whether it’s someone I know from the Internet, or someone from a video game music conference.

Articles
Neil Leonard

Sonic Cartography II: Questions of Scale

Neil Leonard sought to express something of the wonder he felt, not just experiencing new sounds on site, but also learning the context in which those sounds exist. It led him to deeply consider how these field recordings of diverse spaces could best be presented to create a purposeful meditation for the far-removed listener.

Articles
Michael Garrett Steele

The Magic That Happens in a Week

Vermont College of Fine Arts plays up the “low residency” aspect of its music composition MFA program. You study remotely with a grad advisor for six months, and then you reconvene on campus for a week-long combination of a conference and a festival. But the real value of the school isn’t in the semester format. It’s in the magic that happens in that one week.

Sebring,Florida-USA; May 30, 2016
Articles
Alex Shapiro

Dissing The Competition

Rather than pay fees to competitions that one is statistically unlikely to win, a composer’s efforts and money will be far better devoted to attending music conferences and new music concerts.

Articles
Neil Leonard

Sonic Cartography

Town butchers singing traditional tavern songs? Cuban street criers advertising their wares with vocal shouts? Sometimes the naïve ear of a traveler, through curiosity or serendipity, can investigate sounds that have become commonplace to the local population. For sound artist, saxophonist, and composer Neil Leonard, his resulting sound installation work built around these observations functions as a kind of personal sonic cartography, documenting sites of social and political significance.

Articles
Michael Garrett Steele

From Hardwired Pragmatist to Nontraditional Undergrad Student

My own hardwired pragmatism steered me away from music and towards psychology. It wasn’t a decision borne of academic ambivalence. I had genuine interest in the field, and a powerful drive to help people. But I was ignoring another need.

Interviews
Frank J. Oteri

Jane Ira Bloom: Valuing Choices Made in the Moment  

Jane Ira Bloom clearly maneuvers within a genre while at the same time subverting any attempt at making generalizations about her work. The primary mode of music-making she engages in is performing her own clearly jazz-oriented instrumental compositions on the soprano saxophone in the company of a small group of like-minded collaborative improvisers. But she also frequently interprets American standards and uses real-time live electronic processing in her saxophone playing.

Articles
Passepartout Duo

Artist Residencies: All Costs Considered

Perhaps we are early adopters of something that wouldn’t have been possible even a decade ago. Traveling has never been cheaper; it’s possible to work from anywhere in the world; and social media helps us share our music and keep in touch with others.

Articles
Josh Modney

Just Intonation as Orchestrator

I initially came to Just Intonation from the perspective of contemporary music and from working with composers on particular projects, but I’ve found that JI has crept into almost everything that I do and has proven to be an immensely useful tool.

Articles
Passepartout Duo

Artist residencies for musicians: 5 tips on the application process

Finding affordable housing and a space to do one’s work is a task on the minds of many emerging artists; artist residencies provide a solution, freeing up time and space at low or no cost to the artist. This week, the Passepartout Duo shares some lessons learned on researching and applying to residencies.

Articles
Josh Modney

Polyphony and Storytelling: A Conversation with Nate Wooley on Solo Improvisation

Nate Wooley’s music and relationship to his instrument has been a huge inspiration to me as a violinist. So I’m very grateful to Nate for taking the time to offer his take on some thoughts I’ve had since recording the solo improvised material on my debut solo album Engage, and to share a veritable masterclass on improvisation as part of my series of posts.

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NewMusicBox receives major support from the Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts and The ASCAP Foundation.

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NewMusicBox is funded in part by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and with support from The Aaron Copland Fund for Music and The Amphion Foundation, Inc. Support for New Music USA and its many programs and activities is provided by foundations, corporations, government agencies, and hundreds of individual contributors.

NewMusicBox receives major support from the Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts and The ASCAP Foundation. NewMusicBox is funded in part by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and with support from The Aaron Copland Fund for Music and The Amphion Foundation, Inc. Support for New Music USA and its many programs and activities is provided by foundations, corporations, government agencies, and hundreds of individual contributors.