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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Interviews
Frank J. Oteri

Susie Ibarra: Hybrid Culture

Susie Ibarra’s collaborative approach has informed her work with jazz, classical, indie rock, and traditional Philippine musicians.

Interviews
Frank J. Oteri

Ricky Ian Gordon: My Way of Enveloping a Story

For the past 20 years, Ricky Ian Gordon has been creating works for the stage—operas, musicals, or one-of a-kind music/theater hybrids—and getting them produced one after another, seemingly without a pause. But 14 months ago, everything came to a screeching halt as the world went into lockdown due to the pandemic.

ARS ELECTRONICA 2008; A NEW CULTURAL ECONOMY: Sonorous Embodiment- Gro§e Konzertnacht; Brucknerhaus - Pamela Z: voice and electronics.
Foto: rubra
Interviews
Frank J. Oteri

Pamela Z: Expanding Our Imaginations

The only thing that is almost as exciting as watching and listening to a multimedia performance by Pamela Z is to hear her talk about it.

Judith Lang Zaimont at home via Zoom
Interviews
Frank J. Oteri

Judith Lang Zaimont: The Music She Has to Write

Judith Lang Zaimont is defiantly unwilling to be typecast for creating music in a particular style, which makes her music always a welcome surprise.

An interview with composer and artist Kris Bowers was the focus of our first “Table for Ten” event.
Interviews
Frank J. Oteri

Kris Bowers: In Love With Accompaniment

Kris Bowers creates music that is attuned to whatever project he is working on–whether it’s the score for the 2018 motion picture Green Book, the 2019 EA Sports videogame Madden NFL 20, the 2020 Phyllis Schlafly-inspired Hulu series Mrs. America, or the 2021 Netflix sensation Bridgerton.

Interviews
Frank J. Oteri

Julie Giroux: A Wind Band is a Box of 168 Crayons

Julie Giroux, who creates music primarily for wind band, takes musicians and audiences on a journey that is a real sonic adventure and, at the same time, is always fun.

Interviews
Frank J. Oteri

Valerie Coleman: Writing Music for People

Valerie Coleman is committed to storytelling through her music, no matter the idiom. “I recognize that there are stories that are yet untold that if they were told, they would transform all those who would hear them. So it’s my job to create music that allows that transformative power to happen.”

Interviews
Imani Mosley

Nebal Maysaud: Rumored "Death" of Classical Music Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

A year after writing “It’s Time to Let Classical Music Die,” Nebal Maysaud says, “I still believe … that classical music as a field does still have a lot of conservative and neoliberal values. But what I’ve seen also indicates that, while our structures and power structures reinforce these racial hierarchies of white supremacy, there are a lot of individuals who are aware of that and want to make a change in that power structure; and are not content with how we abusing people of color in the field of classical music.”

Interviews
Frank J. Oteri

Third Coast Percussion: The Collaborative Process

David Skidmore, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin, and Sean Connors of Third Coast Percussion explain how they introduce audiences to percussion instruments, how they each came to devote their lives to making music, the dos and don’ts for writing and performing for percussion music, the staggering range of music they have nurtured from an extraordinarily wide range of creators as well as some of their own original compositions, and finally what they are all have been doing to cope during our present unprecedented and uncertain time.

Interviews
Frank J. Oteri

Nathalie Joachim: Stepping Into My Own Identity

Nathalie Joachim’s exuberant, forward-looking attitude about music-making and her inspiring comments about how she came to follow her creative path still represent our collective future once we are able to get past the tragedy currently affecting all of our lives.

Interviews
Alexandra Gardner

Viet Cuong: Game for Anything

Although Viet Cuong’s compositional output began with works for wind ensemble, he has branched out into numerous other mediums including chamber and orchestral music.

Interviews
Frank J. Oteri

Molly Joyce: Strength in Vulnerabilty

Composer/performer Molly Joyce explains why perpetuating the notion that only a small select few are physically worthy enough excludes most people from the experience of making and ultimately enjoying art.

Interviews
Alexandra Gardner

Bonnie Jones: The Sounds of Not Belonging

Bonnie Jones’s music, which fuses electronic noise and text, emerges in large part from the sounds of her childhood, growing up on a dairy farm. Those sounds made an impression, but Jones’s first artistic interest was in creative writing.

Bryce Dessner
Interviews
Frank J. Oteri

Bryce Dessner: I’m the Same Musician Wherever I Go

Bryce Dessner has learned different lessons from his immersion into very different kinds of music-making and these lessons have made him a stronger musician, whether he is writing songs and playing lead guitar in the indie rock band The National, co-scoring the soundtrack for the motion picture The Revenant, or composing a double piano concerto for the Labeque sisters.

Myra Melford in front of the New Music USA mural.
Interviews
Frank J. Oteri

Myra Melford: Freedom and Form

Myra Melford is equally comfortable performing a blues tune, jamming in a completely free-improvisatory setting with other musicians, or exploring more predetermined structures in the compositions she writes for her own ensembles. “I understand that a lot of what I do works in the jazz context … Jazz is an inclusive music.”

Tyshawn Sorey at Wesleyan
Interviews
Aakash Mittal

Tyshawn Sorey: Music and Mindfulness

Tyshawn Sorey’s music emerges from a vast array of experiences, communities, storytelling, and a deep engagement in mentor-mentee relationships. Throughout his rigorous career as a composer and performer, Sorey regularly teaches and mentors other artists to support the creation of their own work.

Lucy Dhegrae sitting and her reflection in the mirror.
Interviews
Frank J. Oteri

Lucy Dhegrae: The Art and Science Behind the Voice

Urgency is an important ingredient in everything Lucy Dhegrae does—whether singing music by Eve Beglarian, Joanna Newsom, Jason Eckardt, Gabrielle Herbst, and many others, or curating Resonant Bodies, a three-day festival of contemporary vocal music that takes place annually in New York City and which has now had iterations in Chicago as well as in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia. Urgency is also what fuels her life’s mission: to be empowered as a singer and to empower other singers which, aside from a desire to make musical experiences fairer, yields better performances.

Juliana Hall
Interviews
Frank J. Oteri

Juliana Hall: Pulled Into The Poets’ World

Juliana Hall has given her almost completely undivided attention to composing art songs for over 30 years, and her love for poetry and the voice has only grown stronger.

Jeffrey Mumford
Interviews
Frank J. Oteri

Jeffrey Mumford: Creating a Different World

Jeffrey Mumford started off pursuing a career in the visual arts before music took over his imagination, but his lifelong obsession with clouds translated over from painting into musical composition.

Melissa Dunphy at home
Interviews
Frank J. Oteri

Melissa Dunphy: Composing Has To Be a Calling

Melissa Dunphy frequently creates music which is inspired by current events. What is striking about her music is how deeply it relates to her ideas about social justice and inclusivity.

Interviews
Frank J. Oteri

Hannibal Lokumbe: Always Go With the Feeling

Our recent talk with composer-trumpeter-raconteur-poet-community activist-force of nature Hannibal Lokumbe was a 45-minute roller coaster ride that was part testimonial, part reminiscence, part philosophical manifesto, and part performance art, but all pure emotion. Many questions were left unanswered and others just led to other questions for us, some of which we probably will never be able to answer.

Bright Sheng sitting in front of his grand piano
Interviews
Frank J. Oteri

Bright Sheng: My Father’s Letter and Bernstein’s Question

Bright Sheng is concerned about directly moving audiences in whatever format or style he is working in and is passionate about sharing what led him to his aesthetic positions.

Ellen Reid sitting on a couch.
Interviews
Frank J. Oteri

Ellen Reid: More Than Sound

Ellen Reid’s instinctive team spirit, as well as her awareness that sound always exists alongside other sensory stimuli, informs all the music she creates, whether it’s the score for the emotionally traumatic yet life-affirming opera p r i s m, the soundtrack for a motion picture, incidental music for theater, a sound installation, or a work for chamber ensemble or orchestra.

Interviews
Frank J. Oteri

Roberto Sierra: Globalizing Local Experiences

Composer Roberto Sierra frequently likes to tell the story of how, when he was growing up in Puerto Rico, he would hear Pablo Casals playing his cello on television while salsa recordings of the Fania All-Stars blared outside on the street. Most of Sierra’s music—which spans numerous works for soloists, chamber ensembles, and orchestra as well as his massive Missa Latina—has forged a synthesis of these two musical realms. But the question of what kinds of music are local or global is more complex than it might initially seem.