Composing in the Wilderness takes composers out into the rugged expanse of Alaska to find inspiration, connect with nature on an intimate level, and bring a new piece of music from idea to performance all within a few weeks.
Before an actor can bring a character to life, someone has to write that character into existence. Who are the trans writers bringing trans stories into the world, and how do they handle trans issues in their work? This article starts to provide an answer.
How can art be a hammer, and not simply representational? One solution is to work in dialogue with actual social movements and create spaces where activists are at the center of the creative and economic processes behind the creation of new work.
The artists interviewed for this article have performed everywhere from Germany to San Francisco, in grand opera houses and black box theaters, in revivals of standard repertoire and world premieres; they are different ages, at different points in their careers; they have different genders, and different ethnicities. Their voices capture a broad cross-section of contemporary trans singing theater communities.
Mario Davidovsky was a passionately involved member of society and the music world. A lot of people have noted his generosity nurturing other artists, his integrity, his vehemently stated opinions, his volubility and notoriously long conversations that would range over world history, science, religion, politics.
How we convert our environment, through the sensory mediums of our ears, tongues, fingers, eyes, and nostrils into reality is as political and contested as net neutrality versus corporate control of the internet.
Music has the ability to touch us deeply, and music used in the service of storytelling can transport us into different places and times, even allowing us to assume the perspectives of people very different than we are. I believe that this is where the potential power of the art form lies. I also believe that embracing this power is what will allow the form to remain vibrant and relevant well into the future.
In all the stories I’ve experienced across all forms of media featuring trans characters written by cis creators, only a handful haven’t been deeply misguided at best, and that number keeps shrinking because the creators who get it right keep coming out as trans. Operas and musicals are no different.
We do not claim that our definitions of artivism are monopolistic. There are probably as many ways to define artivism as there are to define music, performance art, jazz, or growing your own food. We share our experiences after years of an activist-infused practice, such as performances at the U.S.- Mexican border outside of migrant detention centers, at an environmental conference in Northern Iraq, and at the founding of an Ecosocialist International in Venezuela. We feel the Artivist must go beyond critiquing the moment in which they were born.
Urgency is an important ingredient in everything Lucy Dhegrae does—whether singing music by Eve Beglarian, Joanna Newsom, Jason Eckardt, Gabrielle Herbst, and many others, or curating Resonant Bodies, a three-day festival of contemporary vocal music that takes place annually in New York City and which has now had iterations in Chicago as well as in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia. Urgency is also what fuels her life’s mission: to be empowered as a singer and to empower other singers which, aside from a desire to make musical experiences fairer, yields better performances.
Musicians are uniquely positioned to convey the following simple message that we should all, as artists, understand: no matter who you are, where you are from, how much money you have, or what language you speak, you have inherent worth.
Paul Elwood explores a fundamental question: If it’s not passion in the 50+ age category (and, in his mind, that’s debatable) what is it that keeps us going in our work—especially if, like him and countless others, huge success hasn’t come knocking?
When your life falls apart, you learn to build a new one. Likewise, when your vision collapses, you learn to see things through a different lens. Josh Armenta has used these experiences to transform how he works and to embrace citizen-artistry with a new found defiant zeal.
The need for a plurality of voices within our field has become dire. If we do not begin to represent our communities and the world around us, our institutions cannot continue to evolve. As organizations across the nation attempt to deal with this issue, many continue to face roadblocks, despite incremental efforts. How do we break the cycle and move the culture of classical music into the 21st century?
After struggling with depression and anxiety, Josh Armenta tried adjusting his lifestyle and even moved to a new city, hoping that the changes would help alleviate these problems and allow him to better focus on his composition. Eventually he took the step to try medication, however, and for the first time in years could see that things would be okay.
There was perhaps no more important a “yes” in my career than when I accepted Frank J. Oteri’s offer to come and work on this crazy thing called NewMusicBox 18 years ago. It has been a beautiful adventure.
It is essential for any composer who wants to write opera to have an extensive background as a dramatist, wordsmith, orchestrator, and musician. But currently, this expectation is also impractical, unreasonable and highly exclusionary. In order to cultivate a diverse generation of talent, we must find a way to overcome the existing limitations of accessibility to sufficient training.
How are albums adapting and changing in the digital world? James Moore is looking for clues as to where the art form might be headed.
When composer Josh Armenta took a job in Silicon Valley to pay the bills, he quickly felt completely disconnected from his field and craft. However, after opening his mind to the environment he was immersed in, he was able to take away three lessons that would become incredibly important to moving his music career forward.
Established in 1945, the Ditson Conductor’s Award honors conductors who have a distinguished record of performing and championing contemporary American music.
In bypassing institutional gatekeepers, conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya outlines how these conductors have brought relevance, vitality, and an expanding number of previously unrepresented voices into the field and argues that they could help bring the revitalization that the classical music industry so desperately seeks.
A discussion with Executive Director Andy Kozar
What I didn’t realize was that I had become so distracted by following the rules across my whole life that I had lost sight of who I was, artistically and as a human being.
Like so many American experimentalists, Ben Johnston (1926-2019) was stylistically multilingual. His conceptual achievement leaves Boulez and Stockhausen in the dust, but moment by moment the music can sound as mild as Ned Rorem.