NewMusicBox

Your home for the diverse and timely stories, news, opinions, and voices of new music creators and practitioners across the United States.

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Articles
Madison Goodwin

What I Didn’t Learn in Music School

In the trenches of balancing one too many ensembles, practice time, class, papers, group projects, and more practicing, it can be hard to stomach the thought of adding something else. But there are a few other things may want to make sure you learn while you’re still in school.

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Sam Reising

New Music USA Awards $276,770 to 53 Projects

New Music USA has announced its fifth round of project grants awards, totaling $276,770 in funding to support artistic work involving a wide range of new American music.

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Mari Esabel Valverde

Courting the “Lay” Listener

What musicians create serves many purposes, but it is all in vain if we are not genuinely connecting with the listeners. We owe it to ourselves to deepen their listening and to maximize our communication.

A Columbia Records promotional photo of Miles Davis with Teo Macero
Articles
George Grella Jr

The Forgotten Man: Teo Macero and Bitches Brew

Miles didn’t make Bitches Brew by himself; it was the product of a unique compositional collaboration between the trumpeter and his longtime, essential producer at Columbia Records, Teo Macero (1925-2008), an in-house composer, arranger, and producer for Columbia Records who also shaped and directed essential albums by Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Dave Brubeck, Johnny Mathis, and Tony Bennett as well as a recording of music by Alan Hovhaness plus the soundtrack to The Graduate.

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Susan Kander

A Few Things I Failed to Mention

Just as these kids are not afraid of clicking this or that button on today’s technology (which both my husband and I very much are), they are not afraid of poking into any musical corner. There doesn’t seem to be any outside to the box marked Music. Everything is inside.

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Mari Esabel Valverde

Where Is Do?

When presented with new music, there is a question my voice students ask in quiet panic: “Where is do?” According to the established choral curriculum, we just cannot agree.

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Molly Sheridan

Kate Soper: Real Communication

Extended techniques and integrated theatrical elements are a hallmark of Kate Soper’s compositional style, and presenting her work herself is a good way to push the performer into new territory with confidence. “I will do anything as a performer that I as a composer ask me to do.”

Jennie C. Jones and Joan La Barbara are among the 2016 FCA honorees.
Articles
NewMusicBox Staff

Foundation for Contemporary Arts Announces 2016 Award Recipients

Joan La Barbara is the latest recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts’s biennial John Cage Award and sound artist and visual artist Jennie C. Jones has received the annual Robert Rauschenberg Award.

Articles
Susan Kander

Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head

I have finished the first “student composition” of my life. Now the nine-minute piece goes to the musicians who will be playing it who range from freshman to graduate level and two are sort of on loan from the jazz department. At every lesson I worried aloud about the difficulty of some of the ensemble playing; I didn’t want to be setting anyone up for a terrible experience, myself included.

Articles
Carol Goss

Improvising With the Instrument, Not Just On It – A Remembrance of Paul Bley (1932-2016)

In addition to being one of the titans of the free jazz movement, Paul Bley, in collaboration with his wife Carol Goss, was a pioneer of the music video. Carol Goss shares the story of how that collaboration began.

Articles
Mari Esabel Valverde

Con vibrato ma non troppo: Rethinking Sopranos

Why as professionals do we perpetuate, and why as composers do we imitate, the sound of a soprano section comprised of pre-pubescent boys? Why insist on the misunderstanding that adult female sopranos are able to or should sing strictly senza vibrato in the way children do?

Articles
NewMusicBox Staff

Michael Jackson-Themed Orchestra Piece Wins ASCAP Nissim Prize

Vincent Calianno has been awarded the 36th annual ASCAP Foundation Rudolf Nissim Prize for The Facts and Dreams of the World According to Michael Jackson, a 12-minute work for orchestra. Selected by a panel of conductors from among 170 entries, the Brooklyn-based Calianno will receive a prize of $5,000.

Articles
Lee Gardner

New Music on Vinyl: Everybody Loves It, But It Doesn’t Make Much Sense

After more than a decade of gorging on ones and zeros, the vinyl resurgence should be great for new music, right? Well, it’s complicated…

Articles
Susan Kander

The Long and Winding Road

I am expected to bring fresh music in every week. I have spent more than twenty years writing to deadlines and I am proud to say I’ve never missed one, but this feels different. I don’t know why. For each lesson, I bring in music.

Articles
Mari Esabel Valverde

An Atheist Composer on Choral Music

Have you wanted to compose choral music but have not—or have you ignored the contemporary choral scene altogether—because of its religious association?

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Susan Kander

Still B.A. After All These Years

I’m staggering, this late December, to the end of my first semester in graduate school, pursuing a master’s degree in composition, but I am thrilled to report that my comrades in the department are just as worn out as I am. This counts as a win because I am 58, and they are younger than my own children.

Articles
Frank J. Oteri

Julia Wolfe Wins 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Music

[UPDATED APRIL 21, 2015] Anthracite Fields by Julia Wolfe has been awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Music. The work (which was commissioned through Meet the Composer’s Commissioning Music/USA program and is published by Red Poppy Music/G. Schirmer, Inc. ASCAP) premiered on April 26, 2014 in Philadelphia in a performance by the Bang on a… Read more »

Articles
Ted Hearne

It's Showtime!

Today, the Minnesota Orchestra will play our music in concert, and you’re invited. We’ll be webcast on Minnesota Public Radio at 8 p.m. central time.

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Ted Hearne

Neatness Counts: Bucking Trends in Orchestra Notation

The standardization of orchestral and notational practice can, if a composer isn’t careful, hold back musical creativity.

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Ted Hearne

Hello, My Name Is: Harnessing the Composer Network

A large part of this whole program is about relating to those who are presenting or hearing your music in a positive way, and learning how to benefit yourself through good communication.

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Ted Hearne

Meet the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute Bloggers

The Minnesota Orchestra’s Composer Institute (Nov. 1-8) will be a fast-paced experience culminating in a public performance, and this year participants Ted Hearne and Justin Merritt have volunteered to tag-team the blogging duties and share their experiences with us.

Articles
Amanda MacBlane

What is "like"?

I encourage all of you to check out the great crop of new releases featured this month, take a listen, and figure out which ones speak to you.