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Articles
Rebekah Heller

Breaking Boundaries, Building Visions

In their determination to force young musicians down the well-carved orchestral or academic grooves, institutions seem actually to be getting in the way of young artists curious to explore alternative ways of existing as dynamic and creative artists. How do we move towards a more open, more loving, more supportive environment, one that fosters networks of support among artists and incentivizes collaborative creation?

Articles
Fahad Siadat

Exploring Timbre in Choral Music

In choral music, timbral varieties are generally confined to specific styles and genres. But now there’s a growing body of work incorporating a variety of timbres that is accessible to avocational and student singers.

Articles
Rebekah Heller

Finding Ways to Entice Young Musicians to be Creative

The International Contemporary Ensemble’s work at YOLA at HOLA, a group of young musicians from the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Youth Orchestra Los Angeles based out of the non-profit education facilitator Heart of Los Angeles, which operates at multiple sites in L.A., was to pilot a new side-by-side initiative, called entICE.

Articles
Molly Sheridan

Big Ears Festival Preview: Behind the Scenes with Ashley Capps

Ashley Capps—the driving force behind the Big Ears Festival—took a few moments to chat with us about anti-algorithms, festival strategy, and how you market an event that offers its audience both Béla Fleck and Diamanda Galás.

Articles
Fahad Siadat

Giving Singers Creative Control

Composers can open up a whole new world of sound and textural possibilities through the use of indeterminate sections in a piece, whereby individual voices break away from others in their section and make creative choices on their own.

Articles
Stewart Copeland

Multifaceted but Direct

Since I started writing “classical” music, the main challenge has been getting the flood in my head down on the page in the orchestra’s language.

Articles
Rebekah Heller

Never Say That’s Not Possible

Instead of stomping my feet in frustration or shrugging my shoulders in weary acceptance that very few exciting solo bassoon pieces existed, I asked, “What can I do to change this?” Thus began a lifelong quest, in step (both artistically and practically) with my new position at ICE, to forge new relationships with composers in order to develop a new body of repertoire for the instrument, and in so doing, empower other musicians to do the same.

Articles
Eugene Holley, Jr.

Beats, Record Bins, and Retail Life: A Tower Records Appreciation

When brick-and-mortar record shops went the way of the analog dinosaur, some very important, humanistic interactions that advanced the music culture went with them: namely, the group experience of listening, evaluating, debating, and enjoying music face-to-face.

Articles
Fahad Siadat

The New Polyphony

The future of choral music will embrace techniques that preserve the horizontal approach to writing, while maintaining accessibility and not falling into anachronistic musical styles.

Articles
Rebekah Heller

Jumping Off a Musical Cliff

I gravitated towards the things no one else in my family wanted: I taught myself to LOVE black cherry ice cream, simply because it was the flavor everyone else abhorred. More ice cream for me! The bassoon became the black cherry of musical instruments; in my words, “something that nobody wanted to play.” But, at age nine, I decided I did.

Articles
Paul Sperry

Crystallizing Emotion—Remembering Richard Hundley (1930-2018)

Richard Hundley’s songs were the first songs by a living American composer that I fell in love with and the love affair never ended. 

Articles
Fahad Siadat

The Future of Choral Music

Highly chromatic or atonal music is rarely written for choirs, and the deep exploration of timbre found in instrumental pieces from later in the 20th century has mostly been ignored in favor of the pervasive choral sound inherited from the English cathedral tradition. But choral music in the 21st century is undergoing a cultural renaissance and performers are hungry for new types of exploration.

Interviews
Frank J. Oteri

Barbara White: A Plea for Compassion

The deeply personal nature of so many of Barbara White’s compositions explains why she has predominantly written music for soloists or small ensembles. Even the largest-scale project she has ever created—an opera about an unjustly abused woman, which feels particularly relevant since the rise of the #MeToo movement—is extremely intimate.

Articles
James Nyoraku Schlefer

Some Practicalities of East-West Musical Collaborations

So you want to write music for the koto, the shakuhachi, or the shamisen? Well, you’re in luck. Up until fairly recently, you would have been hard-pressed to find a traditional musician who would be willing to oblige.

Articles
Jennifer Jolley

(Okay Ladies Now Let’s Get) In Formation

If we creators are present and attuned to what is happening, we as global citizens will speak up via our music for what is right and just. If you are waiting for the right moment, the right moment is now.

Articles
James Nyoraku Schlefer

Elements of Japanese Music

The most ubiquitous and well-known concept in Japanese aesthetics is “Ma” which has been translated as “nothingness” or “emptiness”. But much more than the absence of something, it is a palpable entity. The Japanese also embrace the difference of timbres between the pitches on their musical instruments, and their music developed to accommodate that.

Articles
Stephanie Fleischmann

Daphne Oram's Sound Houses

Daphne Oram has clearly become a beacon for contemporary composers from Missy Mazzoli to Rene Orth to Anne LeBaron. Yet the question, voiced by many a respected music colleague, keeps resounding: “Who?” Daphne’s invisibility is at the center of my new play Sound House, which runs from February 20 to March 4 at the Flea Theater in New York City.

Articles
Jennifer Jolley

How It Happened (said John Cage): A Moment of Silence

Are all of our artistic offerings political in nature? When a composer writes a piece that is of its time and moment, is it a commentary on the current state of affairs? Do we want our audience to feel what we’re feeling, or to help them see how we’re seeing things?

Articles
James Nyoraku Schlefer

The Intersection of Genres

I had become professionally proficient in two very different, highly structured classical traditions. I was acutely aware of their musical parallels and seemingly irreconcilable differences, and as a teacher, performer, and erstwhile musicologist, pretty well steeped in their history.

Articles
Matthew Guerrieri

On Empathy

In English, invariably, we listen “to” a piece of music. Never “with” a piece of music. That little rut of syntax conceals a speed bump on what seemingly should be a musical express lane: the generation of empathy.

Articles
Jennifer Jolley

A Thousand Thoughts

When things get rough, depressing, or downright heartbreaking, we’re still supposed to make music, right? Jennifer Jolley continues her exploration of where and how music and politics best intersect and what a person (especially an artist person) can do in this time to fulfill the needs of other people.

Articles
James Nyoraku Schlefer

How I Got Here (Making New Music with Japanese Instruments)

The first time I tried playing a shakuhachi, it was an epic fail. “As a classically trained flutist, surely it should not be so difficult to make a sound on an open tube of bamboo,” hrrumphed the arrogant 22-year-old that I was. I tried again and again, but could not make a sound. Later on I found a shakuhachi teacher and began what was to become a lifetime obsession with learning, teaching, performing, and composing music for the Japanese bamboo flute.

Crowd Out w/David Lang
David T. Kindler, courtesy of Chicago Humanities Festival and Illinois Humanities
Articles
Tim Munro

Crowd Out

What is the power of a crowd? In October 2017, people from all across Chicago gathered together in Millennium Park to perform David Lang’s crowd out, a 40-minute piece scored for “1000 people yelling.” The project was at turns incredibly difficult and extremely rewarding, and co-conductor Tim Munro reflects on the performance’s impact with this oral history.

Articles
Jennifer Jolley

All the Rage: When Is Music a Political Action

The social and political turmoil that accompanied the beginning of the 21st century led Jennifer Jolley to repeatedly question her career choices. But she came to understand where her music and her activism intersect.

Funders

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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.