NewMusicBox

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

All
Articles
Dominick DiOrio

Writing for “The Chorus”: Text, Dynamics, and Other Occupational Hazards

In order to guide us all toward a more perfect harmony in writing for the chorus, and because writing for the chorus is often neglected in the training of composers at academic institutions, I have put together a compilation of some of the most prevalent pitfalls that I have seen over and over again—even by some of today’s most reputable composers.

Articles
Kelly Hiser

"Underground" Electronic Music

This week, Kelly Hiser begins a tour of encounters between audiences and new electronic sounds with a look back at the Telharmonium, installed in New York City from 1906 to 1908 and occupying TWO floors of “Telharmonium Hall” at Broadway and 39th Street.

Articles
Stan Tymorek

From Avid Fan to Media Fellow

In the music world, being a fan isn’t a bad gig. Unlike musicians, you can book yourself, so to speak, at any venue you want. You don’t have to go on the road unless you want to. You can avoid promoting yourself, finding a record label, and coming up with music to play. Of course you’ll never be applauded by an audience, yet you’ll almost always be thanked for “coming out tonight” by the musicians you go to see.

Bonnie Frauenthal, Melissa Serluco, and J.L. Marlor
Articles
Aiden Feltkamp

Ungendered Voice Types for a New Century

I realize that numbers are a bit sterile, especially for something as artistic as opera and as unique as voice, but they could be replaced with words. The challenge is to find words that are descriptive but without the built-in prejudice from earlier voice type systems.

NOTUS, Indiana University’s Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, 2017-2018
Articles
Dominick DiOrio

“Singers and Musicians” and Why Our Language Matters

When we use the phrase “singers and musicians” in one breath, we communicate—even if inadvertently—that they are mutually exclusive categories. In other words, singers are not musicians. That’s a problem.

toy piano preparation
Articles
Alan Shockley

Beyond the 88: Playing Around Inside the Toy Piano

The toy piano is a different beast from a modern grand—and in a way that’s what makes it a great instrument for exploring piano preparations. Toy pianos are a lot cheaper, after all, and a lot easier to repair or replace if you damage one. But that aside, this diminutive instrument also offers a great timbral world all its own to experiment with.

BGSU Political Music Panel
Articles
Ryan Ebright

Political Music, Musical Politics: A Discussion Panel with Samuel Adler, Maria Grenfell, Aaron Jay Kernis, and Catherine Likhuta

The intersection of music and politics is a perennially fascinating topic, though ideas and philosophies often rub uncomfortably against actual musical practice. How is it, for example, that Beethoven’s music of universal brotherhood could also serve as the anthem of an apartheid nation-state? Composers Samuel Adler, Maria Grenfell, Aaron Jay Kernis, and Catherine Likhuta sat down with Ryan Ebright to share their wide-ranging thoughts during the 39th Annual New Music Festival at Bowling Green State University.

More extended piano techniques
Articles
Alan Shockley

Beyond the 88: A No-Fear Guide to On-the-String Piano Techniques

Harmonics? Muting? Glissandi and Pizz?! Alan Shockley continues his video series on prepared piano playing with an introduction to a handful of techniques on the strings that will provide many new timbres to explore.

TOC members at Providence Honk Festival (PRONK) 2016
Articles
Jacob Richman

Work the Work, Daily: Community-Building, Music-Making, and Conference Culture with Tenderloin Opera Company

If we in the new music community truly want to open our field and welcome more voices, we will have to come out of our comfort zones. Jacob Richman draws on his experiences working with the Tenderloin Opera Company, a homeless advocacy music and theater group, to present this powerful look into the impact of community art and what it takes to make deep and effective connections.

Articles
Aiden Feltkamp

Adapting an Ever-Changing System

An ideal updated system for vocal classification would serve singers, composers, and producers. The goal is to create more flexibility for singers, a more usable tool for composers, and more detailed information for producers when it comes to casting and programming.

Golf tee piano preparation
Articles
Alan Shockley

Beyond the 88: More no-fear piano preparations

Alan Shockley dives in deeper with detailed video demos of even more piano preparations that will allow you to continue to explore without fear!

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra onstage for a performance during the 2018 Winnipeg New Music Festival
Articles
Harry Stafylakis

A Musical Oasis in an Icefield

I was expecting something cool but fairly low-key. This isn’t New York or LA, after all; Winnipeg is only the 7th most populous city in Canada (which has one tenth the population of the US). What I found was fairly mind-blowing. A week-long festival dedicated entirely to contemporary music from Canada and abroad. With searing −40° weather outside.

Alexa Rosenberg as Prince Orlofsky from OperaRox's Opera Rave Masquerade at the Stonewall Inn
Articles
Aiden Feltkamp

Are Operatic Voice Types Inherently Gendered?

If a mezzo-soprano and a countertenor share the same range and often the same roles, then why are they separate types? And why is there an obvious gender difference?

Prepared piano
Articles
Alan Shockley

Beyond the 88: A No-Fear Beginner's Guide to Preparing the Piano

Lots of pianists and composers are a bit intimidated by the idea of reaching inside the piano, or of inserting foreign objects into the instrument. For those who would like to do some exploring but are feeling apprehensive, Alan Shockley is here to walk you through a few simple preparations and give you the confidence to get started.

Articles
Rebecca Hass

Take Better Care of Yourself By Making Small Changes

If you’re an ambitious person (and I bet you are), you probably have lots of things on your list that you’re going to start “once you have time.” That can be a losing proposition, though, because rarely do things actually calm down. Rebecca Hass is here to help you enter 2019 with a plan to prioritize and take better care of yourself by making small changes—starting now!

From a 2016 production Higglety Pigglety Pop 2016 featuring Aiden Feltkamp as Pig with soprano Sophia Burgos
Articles
Aiden Feltkamp

Does Opera Need Gendered Voice Types?

My experience as a transgender nonbinary singer has led me to question the effectiveness of the voice type classifications that we currently have in place.

George Walker
Articles
Gregory T.S. Walker

Devotion to a Personal Vision—Remembering George Walker (1922-2018)

In our day and age of dazzling musical talent that’s available at the push of a button or the click of a link, the music and legacy of George Walker may represent possibilities that are more and more difficult to find:  The devotion to a personal vision at a time when many composers conform to an extant musical scene. My brother and I will never forget what it was to be loved by our father.  But today any musician or music lover who’s willing to challenge themselves can share with us what he was.

Connie Frigo (saxophone), Tim Adams (perccussion) and Cynthia Johnston Turner performing the first movement of Timothy K. Adams's Charlottesville
Articles
Cynthia Johnston Turner

Charlottesville and Citizen Artistry

It all started with a conversation. What could we possibly do as teachers and as artists to make things better? We wanted to do something more profound, more long-lasting and impactful.