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mherzig

Unsung Heroes

There were plenty of capable and talented ladies involved with jazz from the beginnings of jazz history, but social expectations for the household matriarch did not include frequenting dance halls at night and touring around the country for weeks in a bus full of men. For some brave women, the attraction to this exciting new music was stronger than social barriers.

Articles
ethan

Challenging Tradition: Why Classical Musicians Should Learn Folk Music

Though I play an instrument with an enormous American tradition, it was not until I arrived at my first bluegrass jam that I actually began to investigate that style. Why is it that children learning to play the violin in America don’t learn about the rich traditions of American fiddle music?

Articles
chris.kallmyer

Towards a More Visceral Living

I often feel that without a detailed study of our music we become lost but, even worse, with only a detailed study of our music we become boring. Embracing a more complicated visceral living through firsthand experiences and outside fields can lead us to unexpected ends. I hope we use our music to examine these living ideas, adding to our cultural knowledge along the way.

Articles
Mara Gibson

Skirts or Pants? How About Both

As women, by and large, we have been taught to view ourselves as made up of independent spheres, separating our profession from our gender, and from our craft. One challenge is to allow and encourage our various roles to operate and shape us in tandem, rather than in silos.

Articles
NewMusicBox Staff

Sixteen Composers Receive AAAL Awards Totaling $175,000

The American Academy of Arts and Letters has announced the sixteen recipients of this year’s awards in music, which total $175,000. The winners were selected by a committee of academy members and will be presented at the academy’s annual ceremonial in May.

Articles
Frank J. Oteri

Sounds Heard: Janice Misurell-Mitchell—Vanishing Points

The music of Chicago-based Janice Misurell-Mitchell seamlessly weaves elements from high modernism with jazz, Latin, blues, and even funk into an amalgam that is completely its own thing. Vanishing Points, the second retrospective disc of her music, collects six of her chamber music compositions spanning four decades.

Articles
Matthew Guerrieri

New England's Prospect: The Agnosticism of Boston's Equilibrium Concert Series

The idea that 21st-century new music is stylistically agnostic might be somewhere between a truism and an extrapolation, but Boston’s Equilibrium Concert Series actually comes pretty close to that ideal.

Articles
mherzig

Three Strikes Against Success

In 1988, I arrived in the US ready to start a career as a jazz musician. So my boyfriend (now husband for over 20 years) Peter Kienle and I formed a fusion group with a bassist and drummer from the University of Alabama where I was completing a master’s degree. But one day during rehearsals, I noticed that the bassist didn’t address his questions about my charts to me, but rather to Peter.

Interviews
Frank J. Oteri

“Which of these Aaron Jay Kernises am I?”

An orchestra sensation at age 23. Published by 30. Then a Pulitzer Prize and a Grawemeyer. Now a biography. What’s left after someone writes up the story of your life? Aaron Jay Kernis just keeps on going, continuing to balance composing, teaching, and raising a family.

Interviews
Frank J. Oteri

Marc Neikrug: An Outlet for Emotional Experience

Part of why Marc Neikrug’s compositions have attracted the attention of so many high-profile soloists is that for many years he was a member of that exclusive club himself—a concert pianist who performed standard repertoire with Pinchas Zukerman in most of the world’s major concert halls. Yet for that reason his music hasn’t always been immediately embraced by the new music community. But he’s perfectly O.K. with that.

Articles
Alexandra Gardner

Music for Difficult Days

Turning to music for comfort and solace is not a subject that is talked about much—not out loud, at any rate—in our community, even though it is a perfectly natural inclination, and something that many of us engage in regularly.

Articles
Mara Gibson

Rethinking How We Teach Composition, Part 2

We still have a long way to go in terms of shifting the model of what a composition teacher can provide. First, we must address the master/apprentice mentality. I propose we to do this by continuing to allow more inquisitive learning to take place alongside modeling. Secondly, we desperately need to openly and pragmatically identify the inherent challenges of gender in composition.

Andy Doe

You're Doing Targeted Marketing Wrong

You want to grow your audience, but you have limited resources, so you target your marketing efforts at the groups most likely to respond to it. Sounds familiar? Sensible? It is. But almost everybody does it wrong.

Articles
Molly Sheridan

Sounds Heard: Things You Already Know

It’s always exciting to find a “new” favorite piece of music or music maker, but digging deeper into a known artist’s catalog offers its own myriad rewards. This week we apply that to new releases from Chris Campbell, David T. Little, and Aaron Irwin.

Articles
AndrewSigler

Keep Dallas Wired: The Dallas Opera Plugs Into Death and the Powers

While his background is as academically rigorous as it could possibly be, Tod Machover’s compositional work, as well as his instrument and software design, leans in a direction that can certainly be described as approachable to a broad audience. This was on display in the recent production of his Pulitzer-nominated opera Death and the Powers by The Dallas Opera.

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.

Funders

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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.