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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It is difficult to place Milford Graves into a category. He is lauded as a master drummer of the 1960s avant-garde jazz scene, credited with inventing the martial arts form yara, and is established as both an herbalist and acupuncturist in New York City. Additionally, Graves is a passionate researcher of human biology and brings that knowledge to all of his work.
It was not really that much of a leap for me, soon after completing my DMA at Columbia, to move into film composition. When I returned to concert music after years of just working in film, that was not too much of a leap either.
The experience and practice of polychromatic music brings to auditory awareness new harmonic interactions and multidimensional spatial effects. Additionally, the increasing auditory perceptual discrimination developed in the practice may lead to innovations in ‘hearing’ research models and methodologies within science.
Over the years, there have been a great many calls for diversification within the concert music community, and one of the most prevalent responses from decision-makers is that they don’t know where to find under-represented composers. Rob Deemer has led the development of a database to help, and now he needs your input too.
Through trial and error—and a lot more error—I’ve found a few rules that have helped me carry on in the music business. I try to limit my activity to three things: concert composing, film composing, and teaching. (That’s already a lot.) When I stop worrying about money is when I make it.
The ASCAP Foundation has announced the 15 recipients of the 2018 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards which were established in 2002 to encourage young gifted jazz composers up to the age of 30. The recipients, who receive cash awards, range in age from 14 to 29, and are selected through a juried national competition. In addition, one of the recipients of the Herb Alpert Awards during the 2018 Newport Jazz Festival in August.
I needed to find an intuitive and efficient way to work with 106 notes per octave. The immensity of new musical possibilities can seem overwhelming.
Residencies attached to big-name institutions and faculty (and often equally hefty fees) offer certain perks, but there are many opportunities out there for musicians and composers that are both more affordable and more accessible—and may even offer a better fit, depending on your needs and goals. Elisabeth Blair has assembled a list of 24 low-cost (or free) opportunities in the USA and Canada which you may not have heard about before, but should definitely check out. Had a great experience you don’t see in the list? Give it a shout out.
All of us, as composers, have origin stories. If you’re like me, it may have been a series of revelatory moments, like an unseen hand guiding you down a path—to where, you may not have known until you got there.
Isolated methods of music practice are rapidly multiplying without a framework of integration and orientation for musicians and listeners to grasp. The polychromatic system is one framework of integration for the various scale configurations of micro-pitch music.
While still on the fence about attending the Midwest Clinic, the largest international band and orchestra conference in the world, I was pointed to a Facebook post from composer John Mackey who purchased a booth in the exhibit hall and was offering it up, free of charge, to self-published composers who are people of color and/or identify as women.
In July 2016, I received a call from Monadnock Media asking if I’d be interested in scoring one of their short films intended for the soon-to-be-opened museum. Monadnock’s style was about the closest marriage between music and picture I’d encountered in over two decades of film composing.
We have no words for many perceptual aspects of hearing–imagery, visualization, dimension, space, etc.–so we are faced with communicating auditory concepts in analogy or metaphor. My perspective is to link visual and auditory perceptual concepts into an idea of ‘pitch-color’.
Although Michael J. Schumacher has stated that he is interested in “defining boundaries and not crossing them,” he does not let that limit his own extremely wide range of musical activities—from the immersive Room Pieces and other sound installations to dance collaborations with choreographer Liz Gerring, to his indie “dance pop” band diNMachine. “I love lots of kinds of music; I’m just aware of the differences,” he explains.
You’ve written a band piece. Now what? If you were commissioned by an ensemble to create something new just for them, a few problems are likely already solved for you: instrumentation, difficulty level, length, and first performance. And you’ll probably get paid, too! It’s a great gig. Another way to enter the world of educational band music is to compose on spec. There is a lot of value to be found in filling your catalog with multiple pieces at a variety of grade levels.
The carillon is one of the most public of instruments, yet most people never know who it is playing the instrument since the performers hidden from view, Carillonneurs strive to convince audiences that we are not machines playing the same tunes each day; we are real humans capable of expression and dynamic variation with lots of diverse repertoire.
Don’t give up on #NetNeutrality. The FCC currently has the authority to do what it has just done and repeal net neutrality rules. But Congress can step in and pass legislation that repairs the damage.
The leveling system provides a shortcut for educators who are looking for new pieces. It has also helped create a set of standards. There is basic agreement between the various publishers and the state lists about what the grade levels mean, but there is also overlap between the levels.