It is essential for any composer who wants to write opera to have an extensive background as a dramatist, wordsmith, orchestrator, and musician. But currently, this expectation is also impractical, unreasonable and highly exclusionary. In order to cultivate a diverse generation of talent, we must find a way to overcome the existing limitations of accessibility to sufficient training.
How are albums adapting and changing in the digital world? James Moore is looking for clues as to where the art form might be headed.
When composer Josh Armenta took a job in Silicon Valley to pay the bills, he quickly felt completely disconnected from his field and craft. However, after opening his mind to the environment he was immersed in, he was able to take away three lessons that would become incredibly important to moving his music career forward.
Established in 1945, the Ditson Conductor’s Award honors conductors who have a distinguished record of performing and championing contemporary American music.
In bypassing institutional gatekeepers, conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya outlines how these conductors have brought relevance, vitality, and an expanding number of previously unrepresented voices into the field and argues that they could help bring the revitalization that the classical music industry so desperately seeks.
A discussion with Executive Director Andy Kozar
What I didn’t realize was that I had become so distracted by following the rules across my whole life that I had lost sight of who I was, artistically and as a human being.
Like so many American experimentalists, Ben Johnston (1926-2019) was stylistically multilingual. His conceptual achievement leaves Boulez and Stockhausen in the dust, but moment by moment the music can sound as mild as Ned Rorem.
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.
I am on a mission to bring us toward a place where the art and its communities are woven around and within each other… art is not separate. Such a thing could take many forms; I hope to make it happen in a new kind of community I am co-creating, called Terrarium.
Most NewMusicBox readers probably already know that Vivian Perlis founded Yale’s Oral History of American Music (OHAM) and was the co-author of Aaron Copland’s biography as well as an award-winning book about Charles Ives, but here are a few things you might not know about her.
In this post I want to talk about time: time in our musical relationships with others, and time in the creative process. I’ll start out with the Greek concepts of time, chronos and kairos. For musicians, chronos is metronome time; it can be objectively and quantitatively measured. Kairos, on the other hand, happens when we lose ourselves in the creative moment, and all measures of time are lost.
I have not found a social media platform that fits what I need and what I believe others need, particularly as artists helping to build culture-sustaining communities. So in seeking to create a high-quality, high-trust, human-centric, art-incubating community on the internet, I launched Life in Septuple Time, a small-scale, private, peaceful social media space centered around a thrice-weekly email I send to a limited list of friends and colleagues, with an option for group discussion using Trello software.
Sometimes I open up a conversation about gender balance in concert programming with those who have a record of performing or programming only or primarily works by men. After some back and forth, those reluctant to program equitably inevitably arrive at some version of: “But surely you wouldn’t want your music played just because you’re a woman? Surely you would want it played because you’re good?” As if this is some kind of novel and amazing trump card. The thing is: surely I do want my music played… and I don’t really care why!
I have performed in the percussion section of bands, on and off, since the seventh grade. Over a span of 25+ years, this includes performing in a wide variety of groups, from junior high to high school, intermediate and advanced college bands, and community bands. I have seen the worst of the worst in percussion parts, and also some of the best. I hope to provide some very practical writing advice for those looking to write for band, as well as for those who may want to fix their major sins and/or minor transgressions ex post facto.
Interacting online is not inherently poisonous, and online interactions are no less meaningful than talking face to face. Different, yes, but just as valuable. If we experience problems relating to each other online, I believe it’s because we’re doing it wrong. The internet provides fertile soil to grow intimate, genuine communities and to foster a connected, organic kind of art-making within such communities.
The internet is a strange place for music. The scrubber bar in digital media players gives people a particular control over time, making it markedly different from any live circumstance. Composer Brandon Lincoln Snyder explores how this shift transforms our listening experience.
“There I was, age 38, in the second year of my master’s degree, finding out for the first time what it was like to have weekly lessons with a supportive, enthusiastic, encouraging teacher that I trusted,” shares Olivia Kieffer in her post this week on returning to school after years as a professional musician.
Dominick Argento’s name was never on the programs at Big Reggie’s Danceland, but at the time it seemed that in the season of every other major performing arts organization, there he was! Not only did we hear his music, but he was always in the audience, listening, talking with people, part of the same world he was addressing with his music.
As a composer of contemporary concert music, I feel out of touch with that core, person-to-person interaction. I write to fulfill commissions, but often I am still not quite sure who exactly, which specific human beings, I am writing for.
Motivated by a mixture of philosemitic encouragement to explore their Jewish identity, as well as antisemitic discouragement that kept them from feeling fully Russian, Jewish students of the St. Petersburg conservatory banded together in 1908 to create what became known as the The Society for Jewish Folk Music. The Society and the international network of sister organizations and publishing houses it created nurtured a group of fascinating composers, many of whom emigrated to the United States where they integrated into American musical culture with some notable successes.
Playing the Changes: The Transition from Professor to Student (My First Year as a Composition Major)
“I could never go back to school after teaching,” said many wonderful professors who used to be my colleagues. So why did I do it?
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.
There comes a point in some abusive relationships where the victim wakes up out of their Stockholm syndrome and learns that they need to plan an escape. My fellow musicians of color: it is time to accept that we are in an abusive relationship with classical music.