The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts sits on a hillside from which little is visible but trees. The setting fosters extended walks and quiet minds. The place itself almost disappears as your thoughts take the foreground. There is only you, and the work.
It came as no surprise that the cancellation of the scheduled simulcast of John Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer, slated for production at the Metropolitan Opera this fall, has inspired some very active comment section action. But have you heard the work yet? Let’s listen and chat.
Jim’s own music exemplified human oddity. It certainly did not aspire to impress or even express; it revealed. He was way out there. But Jim didn’t just get washed up on these exotic shores for lack of ability to navigate the waters around the mainland. He chose to make music a rare and deep experience.
Although composers are always constructing new sonic worlds, Bora Yoon is super-charging that idea through her multimedia and site-specific works. Her performances create immersive environments that, as she puts it, “transport people somewhere, and return them, hopefully changed from the experience.”
The Live in HD transmission of The Death of Klinghoffer has been cancelled after concerns were raised that the Metropolitan Opera’s plans to transmit the opera might be used to fan global anti-Semitism. Adams describes the decision as “deeply regrettable” saying it “goes far beyond issues of artistic freedom, and ends in promoting the same kind of intolerance that the opera’s detractors claim to be preventing.”
Unraveled features works written for the group through their ongoing commissioning project. The album is filled from stem to stern with tight writing by young composers, and the spectacular playing engages both intellect and emotion throughout.
Neil Young Cloaca is an irrepressible showman. Bromp Treb is an opportunity for him to apply that carnival-barker enthusiasm to a table full of mismatched gear. Cloaca circled the table, triggering highly distorted samples while playing up theatrical befuddlement, as if he was trying to decipher a recalcitrant machine—or defuse an eccentric bomb.
Poor attendance at a new music concert is nothing out of the ordinary. However, one of my best-attended concerts featured what was arguably some of the most abstract and adventurous programming that I have placed on Fresno New Music’s calendar.
Last week amounted to a floodgate of new music being opened: from a few new subscription-series pieces per season from major figures and some encouragement to young talent by way of CONTACT! commissions, the Philharmonic and partners performed well over 60 pieces from composers of all stages and many walks of life.
There is freedom in the holes. The holes remind you that the universe is still expanding, the world is still a work in progress, and there is space for your own contributions.
Lee Hyla (1952-2014) was the “Alpha Composer”—charismatic, at the center of things. Not only composers, but jazz musicians and creative improvisers revered him, his creative energy was infectious. Everybody wanted a part of it, and he was happy to oblige.
Kevin Puts, whose contract extends for three seasons, will begin planning for the next Composer Institute, which will be held in January 2015.
Elodie Lauten (1950-2014) loved and respected music as a spiritual force and, with the wisdom of a sage, passionately instilled in others its importance, power, and significance. Using music, she nobly changed lives; there is no greater compliment.
New music proponents are uniquely qualified to stop worrying about the Major Symphony Orchestra in favor of much more productive—and yes, more American—channels.
Andy Biskin’s quartet Ibid contains clarinet, cornet, trombone, and drums; it’s a quirky group, playing some appropriately zany tunes, to the point where, if you close your eyes for certain tracks, it’s easy to picture a tiny cartoon marching band dancing its way across your field of vision.
Five jazz legends and 36 emerging talents were honored at the 2014 ASCAP Jazz Wall of Fame Induction Ceremony. It was an extraordinary celebration of the past, present, and future of jazz.
For many young students there is an ingrained belief that classical music is not a part of mainstream culture. It isn’t “hip” or “new.” They find it boring. But do you know what isn’t “old and irrelevant”? New music—by definition, no less!
Among the first-prize winners in 13 separate award categories (ranging from educational folios to piano and guitar solos to choral and full orchestra scores) were publications containing music by Eric Ewazen, William Bolcom, and Mohammed Fairouz.
As the NY Phil Biennial continues, with events every day through this Saturday, I’ve begun to realize how many new pieces and how many composers I’ve heard over the last week or so. My rough count comes to 56 people, with only one name appearing on more than one program.
In December 2013 I gave away many of my possessions, moved out of my apartment in Chicago, and set out on the darkest day of the year—abutted in nearly every direction by sleet and snowstorms—to drive to the west.
ASCAP and the League of American Orchestras present the awards each year to orchestras of all sizes for programs that challenge the audience, build the repertoire, and increase interest in the music of our time.
When Caroline Shaw is the senior composer on your program, you know you’re dealing with new music, so I was quite curious to see what SOLI had programmed for the show.
In the alternate universe I often wish I lived in, Azure Carter and Alan Sondheim’s “Making Boys” (from their new album Avatar Woman) would be a Top 40 hit. In the real one I do live in, it sounds like what might have happened if Jacqueline Humbert sang Robert Ashley’s songs with Eugene Chadbourne.
Beyond exploring our ever-evolving relationship to the natural world over tens of thousands of years, deep ecology, and humorous battle stories, 314 miles into my walk there have been a number of practical concerns and adjustments to make in my remote, mobile residency.