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Articles
AndrewSigler

"Matrices and Entropy" from the Austin Museum of Digital Art

This past Saturday, the Austin Museum of Digital Art presented the most recent concert in their performance series focused on experimental music and digital performance art. Though AMODA has no physical address (and really, isn’t that what you’d expect from a purely digital outfit?), their presence has been felt throughout the Austin area, and I was anxious to see what they had in store.

Articles
Colin Holter

To Infinity and Beyond

The more I think about what can happen in a piece of music, and about how many different ways there are to formulate and rationalize and structure and challenge and critique and embrace and magnify and problematize and thematize and reify these things, the less sure I can be that anyone else is liable to apprehend music the same way I do—or, for that matter, that I’ll apprehend a piece the same way one day as I do the next.

Interviews
Frank J. Oteri

Bernard Rands: Complex Beauty

Bernard Rands navigates a variety of dualities both in his music and in his personal life. For someone approaching 80-years old, he is amazingly youthful and vigorous. Though he is steadfast in his routines, he’s constantly seeking and engaging with new ideas not only from music but also from art and literature. And all of this inevitably shows up in his own music.

Articles
David Smooke

Goals

I think that it’s emotionally unhealthy to set goals that lie beyond the realm of what we possibly can control. We can create art that more clearly expresses our ideas, but we absolutely cannot predict how that art will be perceived by any specific audience. I think that it’s important to place our goalposts carefully so that we always will be striving towards creating a better product.

Articles
Molly Sheridan

Sounds Heard: Michael Gordon—Timber

When the recording of Michael Gordon’s Timber dropped last fall, critics justifiably drooled a little on the impressively weighty, laser-etched, inch-thick wooden box that held the CD. It was actually the recent experience of hearing Mantra Percussion play the piece live here in Baltimore, however, that drew me more deeply inside the transfixing power of a score designed for six percussionists and lumber.

Articles
Jenny Clarke

Searching for a Song

When I look at the scores we’ve accumulated at Melodia Women’s Choir, I marvel at the different ways we’ve come across them. Scores have found their way to us through recommendations from the online choral forum choralnet.org; and they’ve arrived in the mail and by e-mail from conductors, composers, and singers. We’ve also sought them out by browsing the repertoire lists of peer choirs online, digging into dictionaries and catalogs, and scouring programs and websites.

Articles
Frank J. Oteri

Blogging MIDEM 2012: Toward a Single Global Market

The internet has even further accelerated the erosion of regional musical differences that had already begun to deteriorate with the advent of recorded sound, radio, and television during the 20th century. In the 21st century, we are moving more and more toward global music identities, and indeed such music has been the ideal soundtrack to compliment the numerous discussions at MIDEM on Monday and Tuesday about an emerging single global market for music.

Articles
NewMusicBox Staff

Pauline Oliveros Winner of $50,000 John Cage Award

Foundation for Contemporary Arts has named Pauline Oliveros the winner of the John Cage Award for 2012. The $50,000 prize is made biennially in recognition of outstanding achievement in the arts for work that reflects the spirit of John Cage.

Articles
Frank J. Oteri

Blogging MIDEM 2012: Getting Paid vs. Getting Played

If the opening salvos of MIDEM 2012 on Saturday seemed to be dominated by technology and internet-based content aggregators, throughout Sunday and Monday (thus far at least) I witnessed a great deal of talk back from various content creators and their representatives who are not particularly happy with the emerging music industry paradigms and are seeking to find a third path.

Articles
Frank J. Oteri

Blogging MIDEM 2012: Cannes We Keep It Going?

MIDEM 2012 seems much quieter overall than last year. But while there are fewer exhibitioners and fewer attendees overall, there are still so many sessions and other activities that it’s nearly impossible to soak it all in. And this year, there is now a lower artist rate for attending, so there are more individual musicians and bands here than before. It’s a welcome demographic shift.

Articles
Ratzo B Harris

NEA and Jazz, Part 3

It’s important for the National Endowment for the Arts to bestow honors on individuals who spent their lives performing, producing, and promoting jazz. For one thing, the genre is young enough that the lineage from its inception is intact.

Articles
Rob Deemer

Old Friends

You can’t have enough friends, especially while you’re a student composer. Too often we focus so much on where we’re going that we forget that we’re already somewhere and miss opportunities that are literally sitting right next to us.

Articles
AndrewSigler

We Sing Life: Conspirare

Since its founding in 1991, vocal ensemble Conspirare has become not only part of the firmament of the Austin music landscape but also part of the national and international scene. This year, Conspirare has wasted no time in presenting two concerts of new music multiple times over the past few days.

Articles
Alexandra Gardner

Impermanence

I am continually struck by the fleeting nature of a musical performance relative to the amount of human labor involved in making a single performance happen. With artists who produce a physical product such as a book or a painting, there arrives a point at which the thing is done and can be directly experienced by nearly anyone from that point on. But in the time-based medium of music, there always has to be that additional layer of translation in linear time.

Articles
Devin Hurd

James Falzone: Music Through Other Lenses

As an accomplished performer, composer, improviser, and educator, James Falzone pursues a musical vision rooted in the middle ground between the fully notated world of conservatory-trained musicians and the improvisation-based energy of jazz and creative music. It is a territory he explores with an omnivorous appetite for musical influences and aesthetic directions, whether leading his quartet KLANG through a set of contemporary jazz compositions at a late night haunt, directing liturgical music with the Grace Chicago Consort, or composing for orchestra.

Articles
Colin Holter

Getting to Know You

At the tail end of class, another one of my students raised his hand to ask whether we (in the broad sense) can learn to like music we’re unfamiliar with. It was my distinct honor to tell him that all we do is learn to like music, sometimes intentionally and sometimes by accident.

Articles
Alexandra Gardner

Sounds Heard: Stefan Weisman / Anna Rabinowitz—Darkling

As of late, much contemporary opera has been reducing its footprint by relying on smaller forces for performance and documentation. Darkling, with music by Stefan Weisman and libretto by poet Anna Rabinowitz, is one such example of an opera that packs a punch even though served in a relatively small container.

Articles
David Smooke

Voice or Schtick?

When we have a specific schtick—for example we paint unicorns and rainbows—it can be comforting to those people who enjoy our art. From piece to piece they know what to expect, greatly reducing the chances of disappointing a commissioner or viewer. But I prefer the aspect of the music world that allows me to create work in a range of different media with a variety of expressive focus. I hope that outsiders view my music as expressing a voice, emanating from a single perspective, but I accept the risk that they might not.

Articles
NewMusicBox Staff

Koussevitzky Foundations Announce Commission Winners

The Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress and the Koussevitzky Music Foundation, Inc. have awarded commissions for new musical works to eight composers. Jointly granting the commissions are the foundations and the performing organizations that will present the newly composed works.

Articles
NewMusicBox Staff

Vijay Iyer Named $30,000 Greenfield Prize Winner

The Hermitage Artist Retreat and the Greenfield Foundation have announced that composer and pianist Vijay Iyer is the winner of the $30,000 Greenfield Prize, awarded this year in the field of music.

Articles
Frank J. Oteri

Where The Music Takes Me

Later this week I am taking a detour to Paris en route to Nice essentially to meet the son of an early-20th-century Russian composer whom I have been obsessed with for over 30 years. I can think of few other things that have the same power as music to connect people over great geographic and chronological distances.

Articles
Matthew Guerrieri

New England’s Prospect: The Haunted Mansion

Symphony Hall in Boston is a temple, and proud of it, from the plaster casts of Greek and Roman statuary keeping classical watch to the cold-comfort design of the seats. But, like many temples, Symphony Hall is now part sacred space, part museum, harboring gods both potent and obsolete. At its best, John Harbison’s Symphony No. 6, the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s only world premiere this season, also captured something of that dance between the spark of immediacy and the accumulation of history.

Articles
Rob Deemer

Creative Spaces

We all tend to focus on the “important” stuff when we think about composers—what they’re trying to say, how they’re saying it, and what effect their work is having on the world around them. There is, of course, nothing wrong with this, but it tends to foster the habit of thinking of a particular composer as more of a concept than a person. By getting a chance to walk through the spaces in which these talented artists work, I am reminded of who they really are—not as names, but as simple, everyday people.

Articles
Ratzo B Harris

NEA and Jazz, Part 2

The NEA Jazz Masters ceremony was more about the soul of the music and its proponents than about who won and who didn’t. The messages delivered by the recipients, as well as by the planners and emcees, were sincere in their attempts to describe the value of this music as being more than mere entertainment, as transcending the profit motives of the very corporate sponsors who began marketing jazz in 1917.

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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.