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Articles
Ellen McSweeney

Carolyn O’Brien: Making Music as Tactile as Possible

Chicago-based composer Carolyn O’Brien’s path to becoming a composer wasn’t a typical one. She taught in public schools for ten years before she took her first composition lesson at 32, disappointed with the contemporary music repertoire for public school students and imagining she might create music for that medium. She’s now is a doctoral candidate at Northwestern University

Articles
Alexandra Gardner

Paul Rudy: Life Improvisations

Composer Paul Rudy takes to heart the idea that “nature’s wisdom follows the path of least resistance.” Active listening and intuition play vital roles not only in his composing process, but also in his work as an educator and performer.

Articles
Sidney Chen

Sweeter Music and High Art

This fall, Other Minds released Sarah Cahill’s recording of works that have come out of her A Sweeter Music commissioning project, developed as a response to the Iraq War. Innova released High Art, a collection of pieces that San Francisco-based percussion/electric guitar duo The Living Earth Show has been performing regularly which were written for them by a younger generation of composers than those represented on Cahill’s disc.

Articles
Matthew Guerrieri

New Music Boxes: Another Year's Gone By

An exclusive new music-themed crossword created just for NewMusicBox readers. De-stress from the holiday crush and review the year that was…

Articles
Dom Minasi

Remembering Jim Hall (1930-2013)

Since I loved the way Jim Hall played, I called him to set up a time for a lesson. The thing I loved about him was how relaxed he made me feel. There was no ego there, no “look how great I am.” He gave you just what you needed and that has been his approach to his improvisations: just the right amount of notes, no more no less, played with impeccable style and a tone that leaves you wanting more and more.

Articles
Alexandra Gardner

NewMusicBox Mix: 2013 Staff Picks

As a fond farewell to 2013, the intrepid New Music USA staff has chosen some of their favorite tracks from the past twelve months for this edition of the NewMusicBox Mix.

Articles
AndrewSigler

All Venues Great and Small

Kevin Puts’s new work, How Wild the Sea, premiered in Austin by the Miro String Quartet and the University of Texas Symphony Orchestra. And Los Angeles-based composers Sepand Shahab, Colin Wambsgans, and Michael Winter battle fierce winter weather to bring their own music to a small Austin club.

Articles
Isaac Schankler

Rhythm and Restlessness

Between sparse ambience and dense texture are the rhythms we can typically make sense of, and this is the territory that most music explores. But I’m sometimes sympathetic to the modernist mission, the manifest destiny that wants to find new lands. What is the furthest we can go, in either direction, without entering completely inhospitable terrain?

Articles
Ratzo B Harris

A Point of Culture

Jim Hall was one of those musicians whose playing changed how American music sounds. His imagination and technical command of the guitar allowed him to rethink and subsequently expand on the traditional approach to the instrument’s fretboard, almost as if he were playing a piano. One could say that Hall was a singular point in the culture of American guitar playing.

ASCAP Foundation Awards 2013 at Jazz at Lincoln Center on December 11, 2013. Photos by: Scott Wintrow/Gamut Photos
Articles
Frank J. Oteri

2013 ASCAP Foundation Awards Announced

Award-winners in over 50 categories spanning composers writing for symphony orchestra and chamber ensembles, jazz groups, musical theatre, film and television, as well as rock, R&B, country and children’s songwriters, were honored at the ASCAP Foundation’s 18th Annual Awards Ceremony.

Articles
Rob Deemer

To Jury or Not to Jury

“Let the music speak for itself” is a noble concept, but in today’s age of pre-concert talks, grant proposals, and public interaction, running the gauntlet of a composition jury can help to prepare composers for what is to come.

Articles
Dale Trumbore

Competition Fees: How Much is Too Much?

Where should one draw the line when it comes to application fees? How much is too much? And when it is too much, what is the best way to communicate that to the organizers who determine the fees? Tell us what you think…

Articles
Daniel Siepmann

Digital Audio Workstations: Notation and Engagement Reconsidered

Despite an engineer or producer’s best attempts, a new work cannot pass transparently through a DAW; there are always stopgaps, enhancements, deletions, and tweaks being exerted that, I think, fundamentally color the recorded piece as separate from the composer’s instruction and the performer’s execution. This begs the question of how best to characterize the DAW’s everyday impact on our musical world.

Articles
Kealy Cozens

Sounds Heard: Alvin Lucier—Still and Moving Lines

By challenging and subverting listening conventions, the four compositions by Alvin Lucier as performed by the Australian new music ensemble Decibel on a new Pogus CD open up minds and ears to push the listener into deeper realms of sonic perception.

Articles
Frank J. Oteri

Some Additional 2014 Grammy Nominations

While mainstream media outlets have called attention to Jay Z’s nine nominations as well as contenders such as “Blurred Lines” (the Robin Thicke song and not the 10-minute microtonal violin and harpsichord duo by Canadian composer John Beckwith), there have been fewer reports about nominees in other categories and there are a total of 82 of them this time around.

Articles
Frank J. Oteri

Fair and Balanced

Until we rid ourselves of the notion that the best music of all time was created by a handful of men who lived an ocean away from us and who all died more than a century before any of us were born, we will never have programming that truly reflects the vast array of musical creativity all around us.

Articles
Ratzo B Harris

Culture, The End.

Experienced musicians eventually arrive at a point where the physicality of the instruments they play seems to disappear. It’s at this point that proprioception, e.g. muscle memory, provides the player with a cognitive shortcut that frees the conscious mind from primarily focusing on the mechanical details of music performance and allows it to address issues of aesthetics.

Articles
Rob Deemer

Common Ground

Taste and individual interests will always drive us to those composers and performers that resonate with us, but I think we have found common ground from which to propel our artistic dialogue into the future.

Articles
Isaac Schankler

Music for Angelenos, by Angelenos

This Tuesday, the Los Angeles Philharmonic finally took the leap and programmed a concert of works all by Los Angeles composers—Sean Friar, Julia Holter, Andrew McIntosh, and Andrew Norman. It was an extremely eclectic program that showcased the range and depth of talent here.

Articles
Ellen McSweeney

If Elton John Sings But Everyone Else Does Too, Does It Make a Sound?

What is it with people and singing along? No really, what is it? Here, I offer four possible explanations for a phenomenon that, for anyone who celebrates live performance, doesn’t make much sense.

Articles
Sidney Chen

100 Guitars Rock West Coast Premiere of Rhys Chatham's A Secret Rose

A Secret Rose fulfills one’s expectations of 100 electric guitars playing simultaneously in the same 45,000 square-foot room—that is, tongue-lollingly loud shredding that triggers involuntary head bobbing—but Chatham covers far more ground than that.

Articles
DanVisconti

Sounds Heard: Spektral Quartet—Chambers

Now in their fourth season, Spektral Quartet is currently ensemble-in-residence at the University of Chicago and already a well-known champion of Chicago composers, including the six whose works are featured on the group’s first commercial disc release.

Articles
Frank J. Oteri

In and Out of Jetlag

Jetlag finally caught up with me over the holiday weekend, but it got me thinking about music and the way that music plays with listeners’ perceptions of chronological time.

Articles
NewMusicBox Staff

University of Louisville Announces 2014 $100K Grawemeyer Music Prize

In previous years the winner of the University of Louisville’s Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition has been John Adams, John Corigliano, Sebastian Currier, Aaron Jay Kernis, Peter Lieberson, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Tan Dun, Joan Tower, and George Tsontakis. This year the award goes to…

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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.