Narrative structure and pitch specificity are now rarely considered in electroacoustic music. To claim that pitch specificity is important is to risk being labeled a reactionary or, worse yet, conventional. An even more profound change has taken place in our discourse regarding time. There is the strong suggestion that it is quaint to think of music as a narrative form, unfolding in time.
The first half of the 20th century saw the demise of the great operatic heroine and out of the fracture arose a focus on male roles, ensemble casts, and female roles singing in a completely new way. And as opera became a more racially integrated affair, new disconnects emerged while similarly allowing for new audiences to see their bodies presented as operatic vehicles.
At a time when our most immediate collective reality is not only mediocre, but also dangerous and pathologically against the creation of fairer worlds, I would like to believe that there is some work to be done in our field, where perhaps we can reclaim creativity and imagination.
Timbre and envelope are intricately related and are major determinants of how effective a sound event in music will be, whether in acoustic music or electroacoustic music. Since the sound events used in electroacoustic music often have little or no distinct pitch characteristics, traditional contrapuntal sequencing devices often may not generate identifiable or interesting variations, but other techniques, including models borrowed from rhetoric, can be used effectively.
Essential to the construction of community is the creation of a shared history: a rhetoric and a narrative about who the community is, and what its values are. And in order to create a new kind of community, Bang on a Can had to overplay its hand. Community had to be performed.
Because of Babbitt and others, contemporary music gained access to academia and did find some solace, but the price of admission was nevertheless very high. By fundamentally treating contemporary music as a field of scientistic exploration, this type of music neglected most of its bonds with modernity and its emancipatory project based on self-critique.
The National Endowment for the Arts has announced the 2017 NEA Jazz Masters Fellows, which is the United States government’s highest honor in jazz.
The musicological exploration of electroacoustic music, its historical and social dimensions, is long overdue. In fact, as so many pivotal figures pass away, I cannot fathom why there has not been a rush to collect primary source material, let alone to interpret it.
The Impact Fund, a new project of New Music USA, represents the first major effort to aggregate and amplify the voice of the New York new music community online.
Sometimes radical new art needs an institutional network of support to be fully realized. Attributing Philip Glass’s success entirely to his creative iconoclasm ignores the substantial community of impresarios and patrons who have influenced his work and reception history.
The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage has announced their 2016 grants in support of the Philadelphia region’s cultural organizations and artists. Fifty three grants totaling more than $10 million will provide funding.
Opera Philadelphia, in collaboration with Music-Theatre Group in New York, has announced that composer Rene Orth has been selected as its sixth composer in residence. Funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the position combines an individualized plan of study with a living stipend and health benefits.
New Music is at its core an artistic project based on critique: this is its link to modernity—what fundamentally defines its nature. It questions past, dysfunctional normative models as a means to generate newer, more appropriate aesthetic fields through which another future may be built.
The 2016 Paul Revere Awards for Graphic Excellence were announced during the luncheon of the annual meeting of the Music Publishers Association at the Redbury Hotel in New York City on Friday, June 10. Among the award-winning publications were scores by Steven Mackey, William Kraft, John Harbison, Augusta Read Thomas, and Daniel Dorff.
I’ve composed works using electroacoustic technologies since 1963, and I want to share with you over the next several weeks some of my thoughts about the current state of the medium. Since I am trained as a Western classical composer, my comments will be from that perspective. 1. Structural Issues in Current Electroacoustic Music The… Read more »
Thirteen emerging composers will participate in the 2016 ACO Underwood New Music Readings and the 2017 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute.
The cultivation of community is fundamental to new music. Philip Glass’s first commissioned opera, Satyagraha, was the product of this collaborative ideal. But how does this communal ethos actually translate into music?
As long as music is supplied in exchange for economic capital, musicians participate in the logic of capitalism. The question is whether this is perceived as an issue that needs to be addressed or, on the contrary, if it is an inevitable consequence that cannot be tackled through the music itself.
I get a rush when I perform, especially premiering a new piece in front of an audience, or when the musicians that I’m playing with sound exceptionally good—when we are all gelling, the stars align and we’re breathing together, and that exact moment is the only moment and it is perfect. It’s a different feeling than when I’m in the audience, listening to others play the music I write down on paper. My heart races. Time slows down and I hold my breath. I am merely a witness to the music.
The six composers selected to participate in CULTIVATE, Copland House’s annual all-scholarship intensive creative workshop and mentoring program for emerging composers, were chosen out of nearly of 93 applicants from 26 states and 3 countries
Ever since I decided to become a composer, I’ve longed for the opportunity to spend a year abroad and immerse myself in a different culture. So after regularly travelling to Taiwan and learning about the new music scene there, I decided to apply for a Fulbright to spend a full year there.
As a group dedicated to exploring “perceptible wave energies” through light and sound, Pulsa created art and music that not only made group collaborations audible and palpable, but they also reminded their audiences and participants—through light and sound—that actions have effects.
I met Ursula Mamlok when she was in her early 70s, and initially I didn’t know how to define her. Who was she? Coming from Colombia, where I had only heard about one other woman composer of classical music before me, I didn’t realize—in all its dimensions—what it would mean for me to study with her. It took me a long time to realize the levels of her strength.
Creation is messy. Artistic inspiration without the mess (and an incredible amount of work and planning) will never see the light of day. Our finished work is only as good as it is because of the untidy part. Art needs us to bravely embrace our inner slob, even though most of us prefer a little primping before going outside.