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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…

Interviews
Molly Sheridan

Dan Trueman: Man Out of Time

What could a Hardanger fiddle player and a computer programmer possibly have in common? For Dan Trueman, an expert in both areas, it’s all just technology. And whether the eventual expression of his ideas requires old instruments or the invention of new ones, he is more concerned that the tools employed offer musicians the most engaging musical experience possible.

Articles
AndrewSigler

Other Guitars

Put down that taco, Austinites! Whether it’s a delicate touch with nail and flesh or vicious pick scrapes run through seven stompboxes, there are whole worlds of great sounds being created by guitarists you’ve never heard of…yet.

Articles
Isaac Schankler

Invisible Cities: Choose Your Own Opera

At LA’s Union Station last Sunday, I saw composer Christopher Cerrone’s opera based on Calvino’s novel, also called Invisible Cities. The production managed to be at once extravagant and subtle, with the audience listening to the live performance on wireless headphones while wandering freely through an actual, historically scenic train station.

Articles
Alexandra Gardner

Sounds Heard: Computer-Assisted

The three discs featured here all contain music in which computer interaction plays a prominent role alongside human performers.

Articles
Frank J. Oteri

From Darmstadt to the Shopping Mall

There have been few additions to the canon of “classical” music from Africa, or most of southern Asia and Oceania. And yet, despite the efforts of extremists in various parts of the world, some form of music is created, performed, and listened to in every nation on the planet; music is one of the few pan-terrestrial human activities.

Articles
Matthew Guerrieri

New England’s Prospect: The Second Hand Unwinds—A 45th Season for Boston Musica Viva

Boston Musica Viva, the city’s oldest new music group, might have been tempted to, say, recapitulate its first program from February 1970. Instead, the year’s concerts are filled with relatively recent music, with a premiere for each—the kind of inner effort, one might say, by which new music stays new.

Articles
Ratzo B Harris

Cultured, Part 2

Scientific research shows that listening to music is an activity that fosters cohesion and synchronicity in brain function, which is very good for social messaging across large numbers of people who are listening at the same time, whether or not they’re listening to the same thing. I believe the research also shows that improvising music requires a similar mode of cognition, allowing for a kind of “disembodied cognition,” as one researcher calls it.

Articles
Rob Deemer

A View Behind the Curtain

There are many differences between the worlds of concert music and of film music, but one striking similarity is how little those who aren’t intimately involved with the process know and understand about what actually happens as concert works or film scores are being created.

Articles
AndrewSigler

It Takes a Village: Daron Hagen's A Woman in Morocco

No matter how you slice it, overseeing the development of an opera seems a lot like marshaling forces for the invasion of a small country. Hagen’s recently performed (a fully-staged, “pre-professional” workshop) full-length “opera noir,” A Woman in Morocco is no exception.

Articles
Sam Hillmer

Audience Cultivation In American New Music

The milieu of new music has splintered into factions, each with its own loyal but marginal audience. All of these groups believe that they have meaningful formulas for creating provocative work, but what good is that work if no one outside the communities where it is generated has access to it?

Articles
Matthew Guerrieri

New England’s Prospect: Anniversary Waltzes—Kronos @ 40 in Providence

After four decades, Kronos is still a new music group that takes its citizenship in the new music community seriously: show me another ensemble that has given more composers both the opportunity and the benefit of a meticulous, passionate performance. The music they cultivate might be geared to what they do well, but what they do well, they do better than anyone.

Articles
Isaac Schankler

Fear of Simplicity

Maybe simplicity is complicated because the difference between a simple idea that is banal and a simple idea that has depth can be extremely subtle. Maybe we can’t tell, at first, which is which. But then, why should this be any different than complexity?

Articles
Ratzo B Harris

Cultured?

Charles Ives, George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, and John Corigliano have all used music to promote social commentary, but these are all individuals who use their talents to create great music and see it performed. To the Great American Culture Machine, music is still mainly seen as a pastime marketed primarily to sexually frustrated adolescents with enough money to buy new product.

Articles
Rob Deemer

A Chance to %@#$! Around

Sometimes we need to set aside the training that can shackle us to what can or should be done and instead to tap into the sense of “play” that comes so naturally to us when we’re young and have no concept of boundaries or rules or expectations. One of the biggest challenges along these lines is that many of us don’t recognize when we’ve stopped “playing,” especially after so many years of accruing the necessary tools to perform/create at a high level.

Articles
Walter Simmons

In Memoriam: Arnold Rosner (1945-2013)

Rosner was one of the true maverick composers of his generation. His music was predicated on the modal polyphony of the Renaissance and early Baroque, as well as on the pre-tonal harmony of late Medieval dance music, and the free triadicism and rhythmic phraseology of that music underlay his entire output, regardless of how far from those sources he ventured.

Articles
Ellen McSweeney

Mixed Media: Collaborative Music and Visual Art Making for Ten x Ten: 2013

Ten x Ten: 2013 is a collaborative venture between ten Chicago visual artists and ten composers. Working in pairs, they crafted joint “statements of intent” and created pieces of music and art which speak to each other. Andrew Tham and Edie Fake speak here about their journey from collaborative “blind date” to finished piece.

Articles
Alexandra Gardner

Jamie Baum: Jazz Diplomacy

For flutist and composer Jamie Baum, the formula for what she calls a “complete musician” consists of three parts: performing, composing, and improvising. In her mind, these three activities combine in an organic way to create a rich, full musical life, and she does it all—and more—in spades.

Articles
Matthew Guerrieri

Sounds Heard: Alvin Lucier—Orchestra Works

I can’t think of another composer who manages, again and again, to create such an inverse relationship between the bald simplicity of the compositional plan and the crazy richness of the musical result. The more basic Lucier’s hypothesis—the more abstract the map—the more inexhaustible the experience.

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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.