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Interviews
Frank J. Oteri

Jim Staley and His Home for New Music: Roulette @ 35

Tons of people have devoted their whole life to new music, but few people have done so to the same extent as composer/trombonist Jim Staley, who for more than a quarter of a century devoted his home to it as well. But 35 years on, Roulette has moved boroughs and has gone from being new music in someone’s home to a home for new music.

Articles
Jenny Undercofler

The Improvisation Continuum

Students who improvise, in a rigorous context, become better musicians sooner; and the sooner, the better. Why are we waiting until students self-select to go to music school to introduce these ideas?

Articles
Nat Evans

A Very Long Walk: Time, Distance, and Creativity on the PCT

Day-dreaming drifting time is the luxury that I have out on the trail. Instead of my usual pattern of working on four or five things at once, I work on just one piece, mulling things over sometimes for days before actually writing them down. I’m not distracted by emails or petty bickering on social media.

Articles
Jordan Borg

Sounds Heard—On Shattering, Burning, and Diverting with Passion

Though Zwilich, Brouwer, and Shatin are only three of many distinguished female composers, they serve as important models of the different ways a successful career as a female composer can look. Each composer has something wildly different to offer to the contemporary music scene with new CD releases.

Articles
Daphne Carr

On the Met Opera Lockout

What lessons can we as fans, musicians, and members of presenting institutions learn from the Metropolitan Opera’s situation? Can we prevent this from happening in our home institutions?

Articles
Matthew Guerrieri

Tanglewood: Sessions and Lessons on Successful Composition

Not being exactly what one wants to hear seems like a pretty thin rationale for judging whether a piece of music succeeds or doesn’t.

Articles
Molly Sheridan

A Feedback Loop of Movement and Sound: Five Questions with Choreographer Cori Marquis

This week marks the Disquiet Junto’s 134th composition challenge and the assignment takes things in a fresh direction: score an already-filmed dance piece. The visual movement is complete, but its sound has yet to be crafted in response.

Articles
Isaac Schankler

Loudness Isn't What It Used to Be: Southland Ensemble and Robert Ashley

The ensemble chose to perform their selection of Ashley’s works continuously without a break, sometimes even simultaneously. Boundaries were blurred—not just between the pieces themselves, but also between music and theater, between audience and performer, between performance and life.

Articles
Jenny Undercofler

An Rx for Improvisation

Improvisation offers valuable educational applications and allows students to get their feet wet in the world of new music without being tied down to some of the technical challenges inherent in much modern repertoire.

Articles
Molly Sheridan

James Lee III: Don't Miss a Chance

Whether inspired by history, Biblical texts, or purely sonic ideas, Baltimore-based composer James Lee III’s music explores a landscape rich in color and rhythmic texture.

Articles
Carla Bley

Charlie Haden (1937-2014)—One of the Greatest

Death sucks, not for the person who dies—it’s mostly a rational solution—but for the people who live on with the absence of a favorite living, breathing creature. There is a creepy scrawled note on my desk with “call Charlie” crossed off. For the past few years, we had been talking about making another Liberation Music Orchestra album.

Articles
Alexandra Gardner

Sounds Heard: Dan Becker—Fade

This selection of chamber works composed between 1993 and 2008 suggest that Becker has an “on/off” switch resulting in either intensely energetic music, or in work of concentrated repose. There isn’t a lot in-between, but clearly such extremes suit the composer.

Articles
Daphne Carr

Why “Don’t Play for Free” Is Not Enough

I’ve been thinking a lot about this over the last two weeks because I felt that this was an unrealistic route to change. Here are some reasons why I think that the statement isn’t sufficient to address the problem of unpaid gigs.

Articles
NewMusicBox Staff

Visconti Chosen as California Symphony Young American Composer-in-Residence

Selected from a pool of over 80 applicants from across the country, Dan Visconti will be given the opportunity to work directly with the California Symphony and its music director Donato Cabrera over three consecutive years to create, rehearse, premiere, and record three major orchestra compositions, one each season.

Articles
Jenny Undercofler

What Lies Ahead For Teenage Composers?

I believe that this merry band of students has the power to change the music world as we know it, but I fear the “bump” when they leave this environment and explore college options. Will the post-secondary world continue to foster their leadership potential? How will these “over-educated” young composers approach the college experience?

Articles
MikelRouse

The Dangers of Secondhand Music

There’s a lot of blame to spread around for our music appreciation downgrade, but I think there’s a single phenomenon that’s working harder than all the others: the constant bombardment of music functioning as an aspect of an environment.

Articles
Frank J. Oteri

Sounds Heard: Adam Berenson—Lumen

The more you listen to Lumen, an extremely expansive two-CD set culled from twenty years of recordings of music by Philadelphia-area composer/pianist Adam Berenson, the less aware you are of whether the music was composed a priori or improvised on the spot.

Articles
Anahid Ajemian

Remembering Seymour Barab (1921-2014): Composer, Cellist, Friend

I probably met Seymour in New York City sometime in the mid 1940s. Even then, Seymour made quite an impression as he walked into a room—a large, cheerful man swinging his cello at the end of his arm. As a musician, Seymour was remarkable to work with. Seymour could articulate and explain the structural intent of a given piece of music, and his playing was void of vanity.

Articles
Daphne Carr

Good Vibrations: Towards a Fair Trade Standard for Live Music

Fair trade ethical consumption has gone mainstream when it comes to certain products. Wouldn’t music fans follow a similar path if it was laid out for them?

Articles
Jenny Undercofler

School's Not Out for Summer

What is the best option for a student who has received a solid and complete education, academically and musically, through their pre-college years? Is there anything that will really fit the bill, or will these young students stimulate a new approach to compositional study on the college/conservatory level?

Articles
Matthew Sigman

Advertising vs. Reality: Opera America Magazine Editor Responds

Mr. Ficklin humbly acknowledges that his analysis is “unscientific,” so allow me to correct his impression that music publishers have been fickle in their support [of composers and contemporary opera]. Their presence has been continuing and ardent.

Articles
Daniel Siepmann

Who is Creative Placemaking? New Music, Integrity, and Community

In the past four years, a new cash spigot has been cranked open for contemporary arts funding across the nation: Creative Placemaking. If current arts policy trends continue, then new music’s institutional vibrancy might depend on how it fits into this rubric, interfacing with communities on levels rarely considered in the past such as neighborhood pride, commercial impact, and livability.

Articles
Ted Chapin

Mary Rodgers (1931-2014): A Woman of Many Talents

After having toiled in the fields of Golden Books, television, and commercials (my wife can still sing you her Prince Spaghetti TV jingle), Mary Rodgers’s first breakthrough work was Once Upon a Mattress. By the time I worked with her, she had pretty much pushed Mary the composer to the back burner. But there were several of us who didn’t think the composer should retire completely.

Articles
Alexandra Gardner

Sounds Heard: John Adams—City Noir / Saxophone Concerto

John Adams’s most recent album, released by Nonesuch, could essentially be seen as an exercise in nostalgia; City Noir, commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, is an homage to the city of Los Angeles and its movie-making style of the 1940s and ’50s, while the Saxophone Concerto gives a hat tip to Adams’s own jazz-steeped upbringing.

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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.