Anyone pursuing music, either as a composer, a performer or a listener, cannot escape technology.
Morton Subotnick “More and more I am ONLY using a computer…” William Duckworth “…some of us are already beginning to develop new virtual instruments and to conceive of ways to facilitate live performances on line…” Pamela Z “Each time I have introduced a new tool into my arsenal, it has resulted in new ideas and… Read more »
Tod Machover shares some of the extraordinary new musical interfaces he has been creating at the MIT Media Lab and explains how and why these new technologies will redefine music in the 21st century.
David Del Tredici Photo by Robin Holland courtesy Boosey & Hawkes Best: 1976 premiere of FINAL ALICE in Chicago with Solti conducting and Barbara Hendricks, soprano soloist. Because the piece was so tonal — long stretches in the purest D Major — I was terrified the piece would be ridiculed by the public, press and… Read more »
Laurel Ann MaurerPhoto courtesy Laurel Ann Maurer I have to admit that the quality of “open-mindedness” that I believe that I possess serves me well in terms of finding the value in a new piece, but does not serve me as well when thinking of a least favorite experience. I truly work to find the… Read more »
Tim Page Photo courtesy St. Louis Symphony Orchestra I’ll have to choose the world premiere of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians — April 3, 1976 at Town Hall in New York — as the most influential concert I ever attended. It opened new sonic worlds to me and literally pushed me into criticism: I… Read more »
John Corigliano Photo by Julian Kreeger courtesy G. Schirmer The best premiere I can remember is that of my CLARINET CONCERTO with Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic and Stanley Drucker as the soloist. My father, who died in 1975 — two years before the premiere — was the concertmaster of the Philharmonic, and… Read more »
Andrew J. Druckenbrod photo by Allison Schlesinger The twentieth century will be viewed as a time in which composers expanded the range and possibilities of musical language and sound. But also as a period that saw a rift develop between new and old music, especially in the U.S. Here, orchestras delved into the pantheon of… Read more »
As the cost of making orchestral recordings in the United States continues to skyrocket, less than 15 recordings by the major American orchestras have been slated for studio time this year. Clearly, something must be done to make American orchestral recordings viable once again and the answer is in the recording of new American repertoire.… Read more »
Frank J. Oteri Photo by Melissa Richard Is the orchestra a viable contemporary American institution? That’s a question that’s been on a lot of people’s minds both within and outside the orchestral music community as well as within the new music community which all too frequently has been treated like an opposition political party. There… Read more »
John Corigliano “The best premiere I can remember is that of my Clarinet Concerto with Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic and Stanley Drucker as the soloist…” Tim Page “…I’d choose the first performance of the orchestral version of Reich’s Tehillim in 1981 as the “worst” premiere.” Laurel Ann Maurer “I premiered [Meyer Kupferman’s]… Read more »
To celebrate The Philadelphia Orchestra’s centenary on November 16, 2000, the artistic and management team of the orchestra decided to devote their entire 2000-2001 concert season exclusively to music composed since the orchestra was founded–that is to say the music of the 20th century.
David Nicholls Photo courtesy David Nicholls “Defining American Music” What do we mean by “American music?” From a millennial perspective, the answer is apparently simple: as America’s Music, the Cambridge History of American Music, and The New Grove Dictionary of American Music make manifestly clear, it is synonymous with inclusivity. From Barber to barbershop, Cage… Read more »
Howard Mandel Photo courtesy Howard Mandel America’s music is wide and wild, fed by hundreds of old and new musical strains. It starts with Native American chants, flutes, rhythms, North American colonies of the Spanish and French and Germans as well as the Pilgrims, in the community functions, dilletante artistry and diverse forms of entertainment,… Read more »
Judith Lang Zaimont Photo courtesy Judith Lang Zaimont What is ‘American music’? It reflects the vital, energized, young and action-oriented nation we are. In general it’s color-sensitive, edgy and, more often than not, pulsed — wickedly pulsed. It likes to take chances, and, as befits our polyglot national character, sometimes incorporates a staggering variety of… Read more »
Chen Yi Photo by Jim Hair Since music is a universal language, music composition reflects the precipitation of a composer’s cultural and psychological construct, I think that all musical works composed in the States AND influenced by American culture are considered American music. The modern society, especially the American society, is like a great network… Read more »
Sid Whelan Photo by MJ Sharpe What is American music? If, in answering that question, we start by discussing roots music (in my opinion a more appropriate term in the context of American culture than “folk” or ‘traditional”) such as bluegrass, country, gospel, blues, zydeco and rockabilly, and then move on to pop and popular… Read more »
We have tracked down new recordings of music by 65 American composers this month. As always, the variety is overwhelming. There are three new MMC anthologies of orchestral music featuring works by 21 composers proving that the orchestra continues to be a source of inspiration for composers with a wide variety of stylistic inclinations ranging… Read more »
Frank J. Oteri Photo by Melissa Richard America is a land of immigrants and the culture of America has been formed and reshaped time and time again by the immigrants whose traditions get introduced here and then morphed into something completely new. When we speak of an “American tradition,” it is almost an oxymoron because… Read more »
Chen Yi “I think that all musical works composed in the States AND influenced by American culture are considered American music.” Judith Lang Zaimont “In a very real sense, it is the lifeblood of our country expressed in sound.” Howard Mandel “America’s music is wide and wild, fed by hundreds of old and new musical… Read more »
Although raised in Cuba, Tania León was born into a family that had roots from all different parts of the globe. Since arriving in the United States, where she has been based since 1967, she has come to realize that her own multicultural heritage is what makes her a quintessentially American composer.
Joseph Dalton Photo by Dorothy Alexander Collecting composers’ autographs used to be a hobby of mine. In my youth it was an early indicator of my future profession. It also got me to attend (and sometimes to endure) all manner of musical happenings, and allowed me to meet some wonderful figures, some of whom are… Read more »
Marilyn Nonken by Sara Press A few years ago, I stumbled into a Henry Brant premiere taking place outdoors at Lincoln Center: a work written to commemorate Columbus’s discovery of America. Various ensembles were playing around the plaza: jazz band, orchestra, maybe a sax quartet or mariachi ensemble. Honestly, no matter where I went, I… Read more »
Michael Torke Photo by Vivianne Purdom, courtesy Decca I remember a concert at the Tanglewood Music Center that had both David Del Tredici’s “Happy Voices” (from Child Alice) and John Adams’s Harmonielehre on the same program! This was the summer of 1984, fresh after Paul Fromm made public his criticisms of the ’70s kind of… Read more »