For Anthony Davis, whose compositional aesthetics are an amalgamation of several different musical traditions (jazz, Western classical music, gamelan), different kinds of music recall different emotional states and experiences in terms of what the music implies. So it’s inevitable that he has devoted so much of his compositional energies to opera, and in particular to using the operatic medium to tell stories that either deal with significant historic events or which focus on important social concerns.
Mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke shares her experience of imposter syndrome, a feeling that one is not worthy or deserving of one’s success.
Ukrainian-born violinist Dr. Myroslava Khomik shares how anyone with creativity and compassion can work as a spiritual leader during times of global crisis.
How we perceive sound on a psychological level as it unfolds over time is key to the sonic experiences that Sarah Hennies creates. Despite the extremely broad stylistic range of her output, everything from her early collaborative work as part of an experimental rock band to a multimedia documentary to extended duration solo and chamber music compositions for various instrumental combinations, it all shares a concern for extremely precise sonic gestures and involves a great deal of repetition. While Sarah Hennies prides herself on scores that are extremely economical (a score for a nearly 34-minute piece is a mere two pages), the sonorities feel extremely generous.
Psychiatrist Alana Mendelsohn, MD, PhD, Catherine Hancock, and Katya Gruzgliina share the mission of Creatives Care, which aims to partner artists with affordable mental health care providers and help individuals assess what kind of therapy might be right for their specific needs.
Composer, arranger, conductor, and teacher Alice Parker has been a fixture of the choral music community since working with the legendary Robert Shaw Chorale when she was fresh out of college in the late 1940s. Parker has devoted herself almost exclusively to music for the voice, since she strongly believes that people find their common ground through singing together.
Composer Andrew Norman shares how his creative anxiety has led him into a current period of writer’s block.
For Huang Ruo, music–like theater–exists in a four-dimensional space. There is also a larger purpose in most of Huang Ruo’s work, whether it is to call attention to stories of people, particularly Asians and Asian-Americans, whose voices have often not been heard, or to provide an environment for reflection and healing.
Conductor Ryan McAdams shares how the myth of the “ideal” conductor, perpetuated at conservatory and within Western culture, glorifies destructive lifestyles such as living in isolation, excessive behaviors, constant striving for perfection, appearing omniscient, and hiding all human vulnerabilities.
Julia Adolphe shares her strategies for continuing to write during a time of personal hardship and discusses the pressures and myths surrounding creating art in response to moments of crisis.
Among the recurring themes of our conversation with composer-pianist-conductor Matthew Aucoin was generosity and risk-taking, something that is in abundance in Aucoin’s own music as well as his personality. Over the course of an hour we talked about his opera Eurydice which was just performed at the Metropolitan Opera, the first commercial recording of his music, his just released new book about opera, The Impossible Art, which was also just released, his desire to develop new musical repertoire that addresses climate change, and much much more.
You need to trust your voice in your personal life in order to fully trust your creative voice and vision as an artist.
Maia Jasper White shares how her relationship to music-making changed as she cared for her young daughter, who underwent surgery for craniosynostosis and a subsequent period of PTSD.
Terri Lyne Carrington was practically born into jazz, but she is not a traditionalist. By embracing elements from rock, rhythm and blues, and hip-hop into her own compositions, she is making music that is very much about the present moment. And in founding the Berklee Institute for Jazz and Gender Justice and now partnering with New Music USA on the new Next Jazz Legacy program, Terri Lyne hopes to build a future that dismantles the jazz patriarchy and eliminates the gender imbalance among instrumentalists.
I reflect on why art is always imperfect and unpack a wave of anxiety that emerged for me while finishing a large-scale work.
Composer/pianist Billy Childs shares the impact of the pandemic and systemic racism in America on his creativity and how he returns to his writing process with practice and persistence.
Composers and best friends Dale Trumbore and Julia Adolphe discuss living with anxiety disorders and writing during a pandemic.
Percussionist and arts policy consultant Sidney Hopson’s discovery of cultural policy enabled him to combat audition anxiety, a decade of depression, and the pervasive racism of the classical music industry.
Spending an hour over Zoom chatting with Renée Baker about her more than two thousand musical compositions and perhaps almost as many paintings was inspirational as well as motivational. Renée does not let anything deter her and while her music is extremely wide ranging and gleefully embraces freedom of expression, her daily schedule is precise and meticulous.
Librettist & Singer Aiden K. Feltkamp, who serves as the Emerging Composers and Diversity Director at the American Composers Orchestra, speaks openly about their personal experience transitioning, the impact that Gender Dysphoria (experiencing discord between one’s gender identity & one’s assigned sex at birth) had on their mental health, & how writing helped their healing process.
Soprano Hila Plitman shares her thoughts on mantra singing, motherhood, and how “the mind is a playful instrument.”
“Music is supposed to have meaning,” says Dr. Adolphus Hailstork whose music captures the tribulations and the occasional triumphs of African Americans in this country. Hailstork’s 80th birthday year got off to an impressive start with a performance of his music as part of the Presidential Inauguration ceremony of Joe Biden. Since then there has been a world premiere of a concert aria he composed to commemorate the centenary of the Tulsa Massacre and he awaits the premiere of his recently completed Fourth Symphony.
Composer and Violinist Jessie Montgomery shares how she has shifted her creative process since the pandemic began to cultivate a sense of playful freedom and reconnect with her childhood love of diverse musical styles.
Co-hosts of the Trilloquy podcast Garrett McQueen and Scott Blankenship share their experiences with depression, therapy, medication, cannabis, creativity, and addiction.