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Articles
Emily Bookwalter

Putting Artists in the Limelight

New Music USA has just announced the awardees of our inaugural round of project grants. All awarded project pages, complete with artist profiles, work samples, project information, dates, and photos have been published on newmusicusa.org. This means that the world at large can explore, listen to, watch, and experience the diverse array of these awardees’ works on our website.

Articles
ArmandoBayolo

Great Expectations: The Composer's Progress

There are a number of composers who don’t conform to the traditional model, and the truth is that there really is no typical career trajectory for a composer. The only way to navigate a career as a composer, I have found, is to be prepared for anything.

Articles
Mara Gibson

Rethinking How We Teach Composition, Part 1

Teaching composition requires a balance between the student and the teacher; between the micro and the macro. The strategy includes the teacher’s understanding of the creative process, the student’s reflection on that process, and a design of individually tailored tasks for the student—a set of activities mutually agreed upon. Constant shifting between the big picture and the small steps is critical.

Articles
Frank J. Oteri

Kamala Sankaram: Being One with the Performance

Like many music makers of her generation, Kamala Sankaram creates and performs work which is an amalgamation of a wide range of musical traditions. But at the root of everything she does, there is usually a strong sense of narrative. Most recently, she took on the most vaunted form of “dramma per musica”—opera—with Thumbprint, which was one of the highlights of the 2014 Prototype Festival.

Articles
Matthew Guerrieri

New England’s Prospect: Boston Symphony Chamber Players Celebrate 50 Years

The Boston Symphony Chamber Players are celebrating their 50th anniversary with five premieres, nearly doubling the group’s commissioned repertoire all at once. The four new pieces on the February 9 concert were deliberately local.

Articles
Colin Holter

Sounds Heard: Big Robot

Viewing last year’s self-titled DVD from Indianapolis “computer-acoustic trio” Big Robot is an exercise in forbearance. The DVD includes six audiovisual pieces, the last of which is divided into three movements; all of this material works by suggesting and then withholding, cannily but almost ceaselessly, the formal and rhetorical identifications, explicit visual and auditory referents, and narrative connections that, by the end of the DVD, we’re made to crave.

Articles
ArmandoBayolo

Art in the Age: Going for (more than) a Song

We have to view concert presentations as much more than just about music. Whether it is through the use of lighting or video projections, choreography, or unusual staging, presenters and performers no longer have the option of trusting the music—however innovative or unusual—to be the sole draw for their audience.

Articles
Kevin Clark

Big Data Only Gets You So Far, or Why Social Science Is Really Hard

While the findings of the National Center For Arts Research are encouraging for the state of the arts economy and their methodology is strong, the NCAR’s final analysis has no way to access an individual person who can exist in any or all of the categories they are attempting to study. I’m an administrator, but I’m also a composer, and an audience member, and a donor. It changes with the day, who I’m talking to, and where I’m standing.

Articles
Ellen McSweeney

Very Modern Love Songs: Your Weird, Steamy Playlist for V-Day

Valentine’s Day is here, and for contemporary music enthusiasts, it can be hard to compile the proper playlist. From openhearted to kinky, we’ve got some pretty wide-ranging ideas of what romance is. Without further ado, here’s your 2014 playlist of avant-garde baby-makin’ music.

Articles
Mara Gibson

Framing Your Voice, Part 2

I have encountered many personalities who have shaped the composer I am, but the most distinct memories are from my interactions with two very different composers during the summer of 1998 at Darmstadt: Helmut Lachenmann and György Kurtág.

Articles
Dennis Tobenski

Fair Trade for Sheet Music

In a world that increasingly relies on the economy of free, it’s important to establish that some things aren’t free, and in fact have an actual dollar value associated with them. I sincerely believe that we, as a society, can’t claim to value something—be it an object, a service, or our culture in general—if we refuse to ascribe an actual price to it or to some part of it.

Articles
NewMusicBox Staff

Steve Reich Wins 400K Euro BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award

Steve Reich is the first American composer to be awarded the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Contemporary Music category. The award, which comes with a cash prize of €400,000, has previously been awarded to Pierre Boulez, Salvatore Sciarrino, Helmut Lachenmann, and Cristóbal Halffter.

Articles
Alexandra Gardner

Sounds Heard: Keeril Makan–Afterglow

It is always a pleasure to encounter music that serves as a reminder of some basic creative ideas: that music is a physical thing, connected to the body and to breath; that simplicity is often the most satisfying option; that the present moment and all that it holds is important. All of these notions are present in composer Keeril Makan’s latest release on Mode Records, Afterglow.

Articles
ArmandoBayolo

Citizenship

We must see ourselves as collaborators within a much wider network of musicians and citizens, helping each other as best we can—be it through something as complex as presenting performances or something as simple as sharing each other’s work on social media—regardless of personal payoff.

Articles
Molly Sheridan

Send Chutes and Ladders

Music makers must place a high priority on and devote precious resources to being effectively present in this general music marketplace—to being where music fans are, so that those who are interested in what’s available can find and enjoy it.

Articles
Mara Gibson

Framing Your Voice, Part 1

What distinguishes a good teacher from a great one? The most successful atmosphere for the student and teacher exists when both parties are thinking, creating and being stimulated by one another’s ideas and artistic solutions.

Articles
Ellen McSweeney

Sounds Heard: Chris Wild–Abhanden

Chicago-based cellist Chris Wild’s onstage presence is intense and contemplative, so it comes as no surprise that Abhanden presents six works which, in radically different ways, explore intimate and interior worlds.

CD shaped pie diagram with colorful sectors
Articles
ArmandoBayolo

Soul of the Nation

The artist Boris Schatz once famously said that “art is the soul of a nation.” Working as a composer and presenter of new music in Washington, D.C., where our business is the nation, I tend to think of this phrase a lot.

Articles
AndrewSigler

Aperio: Indie-A-Go-Go

Aperio curates concerts that one night might feature contemporary chamber music from the U.S. (like the one I attended last weekend) and focus on the music of Nicaragua the next. The change in focus from one region to the next over the course of a season helps Aperio track and understand trends on this side of the pond as distinct from concert series that include European repertoire.

Interviews
Alexandra Gardner

Andrew Norman: Empowering Performance

For composer Andrew Norman, the process of composing feels like a tug-of-war between opposing forces. From start to finish, he is constantly questioning, and pushing back on his own ideas in his efforts to create meaningful musical experiences for performers and for audiences. He revels in the visceral experiences of music making, and thoughtfully challenges performers to bring their own ideas to the interpretation of his music.

Articles
Frank J. Oteri

What Would Grammys Look Like in a Genre-Less World?

Though lip service (if not actual airtime) is given to a whole host of musical traditions from Tejano to bluegrass to opera, Album of the Year and Record of the Year (for a single) are still the most important Grammy awards and are inevitably given to commercial popular music, making all the other awards somehow feel like consolation prizes.

Articles
Alex Temple

History Of The World

My articles for NewMusicBox have addressed borrowed material, relevance, and the politics of cross-cultural influence. For the last article in this series, I’d like to zoom in and talk about how these issues played out in one of my own pieces.

Articles
Charles Ruggiero

A Master Communicator: Remembering H. Owen Reed (1910-2014)

I believe Dr. Reed was capable of holding at least a 15-minute conversation with just about any English-speaking person, regardless of that individual’s background, education, occupation, etc., at the end of which the other person quite likely would be thinking: “What a nice guy he is!” But I also learned from him that there are times and contexts when it’s appropriate to discuss almost any topic, and other times and contexts when it is completely inappropriate to discuss almost anything.

Articles
Matthew Guerrieri

New England’s Prospect: Three World Premieres in Wildly Disparate Styles

Boston Modern Orchestra Project never seems to run out of juice. It fills a need. It mounts concerts that manage to be both one-stop shopping for the merely curious and essential for professionals. The “modern” in the name has always been as much stylistic as calendrical, but its concert at Jordan Hall on January 17 was aggressively new: three world premieres in wildly disparate styles.

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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.