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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Although I was always generically interested in music as labor, it was really my involvement with Occupy Wall Street that showed me what the contemporary struggles were in this field. I hope the NewMusicBox commenting community will join in on this conversation, so we can get an even greater sense of where these struggles for fairness and dignity are happening, and what we can do as a community to support them.
When I looked through the Metropolitan Opera’s 2014-15 brochure, I was saddened by their lack of other contemporary repertoire. Then I flipped through the pages of the new issue of OPERA America’s magazine and experienced something very different. Pages full of contemporary opera, American and otherwise. Quite a study in contrasts.
New Music USA has awarded 57 projects in its second round of New Music USA project grants. We received 1,174 project requests this round. Those numbers are humbling, but also inspiring; these submissions only capture a glimpse of the overwhelming creativity resonating throughout the United States today.
Whether you’re a composer or a musician or an enthusiast, I know you’re probably pressed for time, but chances are your perspective is not being represented. If you don’t share it, who will?
The product of a collaboration between composer/guitarist George Heathco and soprano/lyricist Misha Penton, Ravens and Radishes is a song cycle for guitar, cello, and voice that takes inspiration from classic fairy tales and, unlike the recent film Maleficent, recasts them in a new and interesting light instead of, say, ruining them.
Pablo Ziegler, who has been the de facto source for the interpretation of Piazzolla’s music for over twenty years, is an important composer of nuevo tango in his own right. Now based in Brooklyn (though he’s constantly traveling to perform all over the planet), Ziegler has a particularly strong affinity for improvisation and loves to mix tango and jazz.
Horace Silver (1928-2014) wrote great tunes that have a way of improving you harmonically and rhythmically if you play them frequently (or every night, in my case). He also liked very fast tempos, and if you weren’t on top of it you’d get rolled right over.
Beyond the serious financial plight of the unpaid 2013 Beethoven Festival musicians, the larger conversation drives home that both performing artists and their employers need to be educated and held accountable by the community at large, and there is some serious work to do on that score.
All in all, Pew awarded 12 Fellows (including three musicians), 35 Project Grants (seven of which are music-related) and two Advancement Grants. Recipients include Michael Djupstrom, Mary Lattimore, the Liberian Women’s Chorus for Change, The Crossing, PRISM Quartet, and Opera Philadelphia.
Paul D. Miller (a.k.a. D.J. Spooky, That Subliminal Kid) is among 14 recipients of the National Geographic Society’s 2014 Emerging Explorer Awards. The only composer among this group of awardees (who will each receive a $10,000 award to aid further research and exploration), Miller was chosen because his work raises awareness about climate change, sustainability, global culture, and the role of technology in society.
Three iconic jazz composers, a Tejano singer-composer, a traditional Native American drummer, and a blues/gospel/R&B band are among the NEA’s thirteen newly named lifetime honorees.
On paper, the June 17 concert presented by the Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice, part of the institute’s annual week of new music training, festivities, and shenanigans, made some piece-to-piece local connections but seemed more miscellaneous on a global scale. In performance, though, a theme kept peeking around the edges.
Sometimes it feels like life is a tug of war—between east and west, life and career, social and personal, work and play, urban and rural, composer and singer-songwriter, professional and academic, serious and jocular, art and business, collaboration and solitude—and I can’t seem to choose my side.
Assumptions are baked into every aspect of music notation, often layered one on top of the other, and they color the kinds of music we can make. Make too many wrong assumptions about a notation and you’ll quickly dig yourself into a hole.
Listening to Robert Erickson’s quartets brings to mind the image of an onion: at first glance, an onion is, well, an onion—basic and non-threatening. But as each layer is peeled away, the onion becomes more pungent and affects the person peeling it with greater, often times uncontrollable intensity.
Why were we silent for nine months as we awaited sums of money that, to us, make or break our ability to pay the rent? For me, the story of the Beethoven Festival is a story of vulnerability: my own individual vulnerability, that of my colleagues, and that of our entire musical community.
Growing up, I was ashamed of being a nerd. This was pretty typical. At the time being labeled a nerd was considered about as bad as showing up to school in nothing but your underwear. Times have changed. It is now a badge to be worn proudly by all of us. We all finally grew up. And took over.
Since I started walking the Pacific Crest Trail seven weeks ago, I’ve undergone a number of physiological and mental changes. One of the biggest changes that has occurred, however, relates more specifically to working with sound and music as a composer—an alteration in my sense of hearing.