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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J. Ralph and David Lang (photo by Peter Serling)
Articles
Molly Sheridan

Songs by David Lang and J. Ralph Denied Oscar Performance

During a year in which the Oscars have received strong criticism for their lack of diversity, this seems an especially odd move–not only in terms of the music itself, but also when considering that it means the absence of Korean soprano Sumi Jo and transgender performer ANOHNI.

Inside the Tecumseh Theater, Shawnee, Ohio. Photo by Jonathan Johnson.
Articles
Brian Harnetty

Listening to Social Life in the “Little Cities of Black Diamonds”

New and archival recordings offer a glimpse of social life in the Little Cities–sonic insights that open up an archive of ideas for a careful listener willing to jump on a carnival ride or blow the dust off a forgotten piano keyboard.

Articles
Christopher Rouse

Remembering Steven Stucky (1949-2016)

Steven Stucky had an astounding intellect, but perhaps more important were his warmth, graciousness, and generosity of spirit. He gave unstintingly of his time to many organizations; perhaps even more important, he did the same for his friends and his students.

The Chicago Jazz Philharmonic and eighth blackbird among those awarded MacArthur Awards for Creative and Effective Institutions
Articles
NewMusicBox Staff

MacArthur's Creative and Effective Institutions and Bielecki Foundation Awards Announced

No application necessary (or accepted): MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions and Robert D. Bielecki Foundation awards announced

Articles
Madison Goodwin

An Ode to Community

The Seattle new music community is exploring new ways they can support one another. What’s working in your community?

Articles
Molly Sheridan

Daniel Wohl: The Seamless Ideal

Wohl’s talent for seamless integration of acoustic and electronic timbres generated significant buzz after the 2013 release of his album Corps Exquis, and it is praise that will likely only cling more tightly in the wake of his full-length follow-up Holographic.

Articles
NewMusicBox Staff

Congrats to the 2016 Grammy Award Winners

Whether or not you caught the glitz, the glam, and the shade-throwing acceptance speeches during the 2016 Grammy Awards ceremony broadcast last night, you still may have missed out on the jazz and classical awards presented earlier in the day. And the winners are…

Miners from Congo, Ohio. Photo courtesy of the Little Cities of Black Diamonds Archive.
Articles
Brian Harnetty

Listening to Labor in the “Little Cities of Black Diamonds”

For miners, sound often answers questions about work and safety. For composers, recording and carefully listening to the sounds of a region can suggest ways of bridging between place and creative sound works.

Steven Stucky
Articles
New Music USA

Steven Stucky (1949-2016)

It is with great sadness that we report American composer Steven Stucky died of brain cancer in Ithaca, New York on February 14, 2016.

One of the more entertaining booths I visited was the one for the Northshore Concert Band in Evanston, Illinois. I wound up buying several of their discs.
Articles
Frank J. Oteri

Composer Advocacy Notebook: A Tale of Three Cities

Over the course of the last eight weeks I attended three significant national music events which were extremely different from each other in terms of scope and scale—the 2016 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, the annual Chamber Music America conference, and the Midwest Clinic, the world’s largest music gathering.

forklift handling the container box at dockyard
Articles
Madison Goodwin

Overthinking Genre

It can feel impossible to label and organize the diversity of music that falls under the “new music” heading. Does that hurt our advocacy for the music we care about?

Articles
Jeff Arnal

Tracing Influence

We have always had cultural gatekeepers: artists, publishers, concert promoters, radio producers, teachers, etc. At the top of this filtering process is the mind and ears of the artist. What can help provide context for the music and enrich and inform the listening experience? Will that change the end result, deepen the experience, or help uncover influence?

Articles
Brian Harnetty

Place, Sound, History, Now: Listening to the “Little Cities of Black Diamonds”

Archival and contemporary sounds of a place connect the listener to the people and history of an area. This sonic ethnography may then become material for creative projects in unique ways and push creative practice into direct social engagement.

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.

Articles
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.

Young man playing guitar to his girlfriend in nature - dating couple
Articles
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.

Articles
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.

Articles
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.

Articles
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?