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Articles
Jim Stephenson

Composing is a Lonely Craft, but We Can’t Do It Alone

“Do you consider the audience when you are writing your music?” Several times, I’m shocked to hear the composer reply: “No.” How can this be?

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Articles
Brian Chin

Music is So Flippin’ Hard: Adversity Training for Musicians

We have spent thousands of hours in practice rooms and countless hours alone composing, practicing, and pursuing funding.  Music is hard. But we can use the adversity training idea to fully embrace the challenge that music, and the surrounding industry, brings to our lives.

Articles
Frank J. Oteri

Saad Haddad: It’s Not Going to Be Exact

Though born, raised, and compositionally trained in Southern California and currently pursuing a master’s degree at Juilliard under the tutelage of John Corigliano, 23-year-old Saad Haddad has been focused on creating music that incorporates traditional Middle Eastern musical aesthetics. But he is not at all dogmatic in his transfer of Arabic music theory to pieces that are designed to be interpreted by musicians trained in Western classical music and performed for its usual audiences.

Articles
Jim Stephenson

Define Inspiration

Let’s consider the case of this article. The title occurred to me in an instant, and within that instant, I knew I had enough ideas to fill an article. Up until that point, I honestly had absolutely no idea what I was going to write about. I am not claiming that it is a “divinely inspired” title, as that would be a little presumptuous. But the fact remains, it came to me when I needed it, so that I could meet my deadline.

Articles
Brian Chin

Pursuing Diversity: New Voices, New Sounds

Surrounding ourselves with a diversity of people will help to make us smarter and more creative. Building it into our projects will continue to result in innovative works and better music. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to do.

Articles
Eric Segnitz

Stay Tuned: Celebrating Ben Johnston's 90th Birthday with his 10 String Quartets

By virtue of our recording project, the Kepler Quartet has had a privileged window into the essentially spiritual quest in Ben Johnston’s music. Johnston embraces a richer way of being: to work towards pure, honest relationships with others by using a vertical, harmonic approach concentrating on perfect intervals which produce less discord, increased resonance, and maximum clarity. At age 90, a full fifteen years after he stopped writing music, Johnston has come to a place in his life where his main goal is to have a positive impact on his environment.

BasSOON It Will Be Christmas was featured on the 2013 Columbus Symphony Holiday Pops Concert
Articles
Jim Stephenson

The Pun is Mightier than the Portmanteau

I was told after I wrote it—by a (perhaps too) “serious” musician—that BasSOON It Will Be Christmas wouldn’t get played much. Well, it gets played at least a dozen times annually and has been played by many top orchestras, such as the symphonies of Atlanta, Houston, and Pittsburgh.

Articles
Brian Chin

Power of the Project-Based Life

To thrive in the 21st century, we need to rethink our philosophies around how we conceive of success and our methods of making money. What would it look like if we all changed the way we view our careers? What would music schools look like if we changed the way we message vocation?

Articles
NewMusicBox Staff

American Academy of Arts and Letters Announces 2016 Music Awards Totalling Over $200K

The American Academy of Arts and Letters has announced the seventeen recipients of this year’s awards in music, which total $205,000.

Circuitry for Salvage (Guiyu Blues), 2007. First version of design, housed in VHS tape box. 12 probes for linking to dead circuit board to be re-animated. Rotary switches select frequency range of each of six oscillator voices. Photo by Simon Lonergan.
Articles
Nicolas Collins

What to Ware? A Guide to Today’s Technological Wardrobe

Significant features distinguish software from hardware in terms of their apparent (or at least perceived) suitability for specific musical tasks, and this has an often-unremarked influence on musical processes. Nic Collins draws out some illuminating distinctions.

Articles
Jim Stephenson

Choosing the Three-Letter Response Over the Two-Letter One

There was a very distinct point at the beginning of my composing career when a decision changed absolutely everything for me. My future would take time to pan out, of course, but at the moment when I chose the three-letter response instead of the two-letter one, an entirely new career path was set into motion.

Articles
Eddy Ficklin

Now Streaming on a Device Near You: New Music Playlists

Can’t find it on Spotify? The major streaming services are expanding their catalogs, but they’ll never amass the treasure trove of contemporary American music that New Music USA has coming in the door every day. Tune in and explore!

Articles
NewMusicBox Staff

Sixteen Jazz Composers’ Works to be Performed by Three Orchestras

Between May and September, three different orchestras will give public readings of new works for symphony orchestra written by a total of sixteen jazz composers as part of the third Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute (JCOI) Readings.

Interviews
Frank J. Oteri

Missy Mazzoli: Communication, Intimacy, and Vulnerability

Whether she is writing for orchestra, chorus, solo piano, an opera, or her own indie-rock inspired chamber ensemble Victoire, Missy Mazzoli is still “asking the same questions” and “finding different answers to the question of how to bring an intimate, vulnerable, human experience to a situation.”

Articles
Brian Harnetty

Listening to Protest and Resistance in the “Little Cities of Black Diamonds”

Certain sounds of resistance—shouting, speeches, chanting, and singing—simultaneously bring together and diffuse, and meaningfully hold in suspension situations that could easily descend into chaos and violence.

Car Stereo Car Radio Personal Accessory Volkswagen Air Duct Air
Articles
Madison Goodwin

The Case for Radio

How do you define radio in this day and age of digital platforms? If you were in charge of a new music radio show, 24/7 stream, or podcast, what would you include?

Articles
Aaron Gervais

Why Pastiche Has Taken Over Music

Just look at the names: new complexity, neo-romanticism, post-minimalism—three of the broadest trends in contemporary music, all with echoes of pastiche baked right into their labels. Clearly artists have always taken ideas and materials from other sources—how could we not?—but never before have we so celebrated the attribution of those sources.

J. Ralph and David Lang (photo by Peter Serling)
Articles
Molly Sheridan

Songs by David Lang and J. Ralph Denied Oscar Performance

During a year in which the Oscars have received strong criticism for their lack of diversity, this seems an especially odd move–not only in terms of the music itself, but also when considering that it means the absence of Korean soprano Sumi Jo and transgender performer ANOHNI.

Inside the Tecumseh Theater, Shawnee, Ohio. Photo by Jonathan Johnson.
Articles
Brian Harnetty

Listening to Social Life in the “Little Cities of Black Diamonds”

New and archival recordings offer a glimpse of social life in the Little Cities–sonic insights that open up an archive of ideas for a careful listener willing to jump on a carnival ride or blow the dust off a forgotten piano keyboard.

Articles
Christopher Rouse

Remembering Steven Stucky (1949-2016)

Steven Stucky had an astounding intellect, but perhaps more important were his warmth, graciousness, and generosity of spirit. He gave unstintingly of his time to many organizations; perhaps even more important, he did the same for his friends and his students.

Jasmine Khorsandi

A Letter to Leslie Bassett (1923-2016)

My dearest mentor, my teacher, my role model, my Leslie: I miss you like crazy. It’s been a few years since we last talked, a total insanity considering how often in my daily life, I still hear your words of counsel from our music lessons of old. I can see the way your hands used… Read more »

Gabriela Lena Frank

A Letter to Leslie Bassett (1923-2016)

The love that a student has for her teacher is a special one. I miss you like crazy. I still hear your words of counsel from our music lessons of old. I remember your distinctive walk, frail and steely both, across worn carpet to the treble-bright piano in your studio, thick music score in hand. When I was over early at the house, you and beautiful Anita would fry up corn pancakes while discussing a marvelous new clarinetist who bled “for his composer and played like it was his last breath!”

The Chicago Jazz Philharmonic and eighth blackbird among those awarded MacArthur Awards for Creative and Effective Institutions
Articles
NewMusicBox Staff

MacArthur's Creative and Effective Institutions and Bielecki Foundation Awards Announced

No application necessary (or accepted): MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions and Robert D. Bielecki Foundation awards announced

Articles
Madison Goodwin

An Ode to Community

The Seattle new music community is exploring new ways they can support one another. What’s working in your community?

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.