Structure and Freedom in Collaboration (A.k.a. The Incomplete Non-Idiot’s Guide to Workshopping with Musicians)
A.k.a. the incomplete non-idiot’s guide to workshopping with musicians
My experience as a queer Lebanese composer made me unique. I had the opportunity to authentically represent my culture through music. As I grew older, I realized that the spots for Middle Eastern representation has been filled for a while. But not by the hundreds of Middle Eastern and North African composers and artists. Instead, our stories were being controlled, and even monopolized, by white composers.
Contemporary classical music is a field overrun with socially conscious and politically liberal musicians. So why are there so few composers of color? While white minority composers see progress, people of color are left behind.
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.
A Week of New Music Celebrations: the BMI Student Composer Awards, the Ceremonial & the Underwood Readings
The close proximity of the BMI Student Composer Awards, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Ceremonial, and the American Composers Orchestra’s Underwood New Music Readings, which have all taken place in New York City this week, have turned the penultimately week of May into a multi-day celebration of new music.
In a few weeks, Dale Trumbore is publishing a book about anxiety in the creative process—Staying Composed: Overcoming Anxiety and Self-Doubt Within a Creative Life. In advance, she shares her own journey toward listening to her mind and body and learning to ask for help when she needs it.
The change we seek in our new music ecosystem isn’t going to occur by spouting off in anger on a Facebook thread. We have to take this passion and conviction we feel, and carry it through with real-world projects that directly engage others.
When Aaron Irwin began studying music, a clear line was drawn between jazz and classical. Yet today, they are meeting on an ever-widening aesthetic middle ground. Irwin explores the work of a few composers sharing in this communion of styles.
Many of us care about ethical artistry, but how do we measure our efforts? And how do we balance competing demands? This week, Dan Temkin digs into some general tenets and tools that can aid us in evaluating our work.
In the earliest days of her career, Danielle Eva Schwob was told to specialize. She never did.
Adam Schumaker is back with another case study of a musician’s income—the next small chapter in an evolving theoretical Guide to Musician Finances. This time he speaks with Lisa Neher, a composer and performer, about the money taboo, the musician’s eternal hustle, realistically “making it,” adjunct teaching, and the ins and outs of working with your PRO.
Ethical Artistry: Falling Short—Logistics, Programming, and the Moral Complexity of Well-Intentioned Decisions
As a musical community, we strive to promote positive virtues in our work, yet clearly problems persist. So why do we fall short? Dan Temkin is back this week to expose the ethical pitfalls lurking behind decisions we frequently face.
In a creative project, the quest for quality development and preparation eventually meets the question of when exactly to pull the trigger. Danielle Schwob shares her experiences navigating that challenging line.
A survey course can easily convey the impression that “great” music is a finite resource generated by a handful of genius composers. When students become researchers, however, the picture changes.
Why are we doing this? This is one of the toughest and most deceptively simple artistic questions we face, and one easy to run from when planning a new project. Dan Temkin encourages us to take a harder look.
We can’t quite believe it, but NewMusicBox turns 20 years old today! Tim Rutherford-Johnson is helping us kick-off our celebrations with a special feature looking at how things have changed—and how they haven’t—since 1999.
It appears from where I’m sitting (which is often in airplanes) that the world bubbles and froths with swirling, ever-shifting configurations of populations, each grappling with short and long-term political, social, and environmental issues. How can music, and the arts, be helpful? How can it, and we, connect with these populations in all of their individual and uniquely differing diversity?
Having amazing female mentors and role models was and still is crucial to my growth as an artist. Meeting these women has significantly altered my perspective on my own reality: what is possible for me and where I see myself in the future. Without them, I wouldn’t be anything like who I am today.
Pianist Adam Tendler spent more than a decade researching the life and work of Robert Palmer and made an album of his music “when no one asked for it. But in my mind, I didn’t have a choice. I couldn’t imagine being the only one who knew what this all sounded like.”
From the moment composer and bon vivant Randy Nordschow started talking to NewMusicBox’s then associate editor Amanda MacBlane and I, more a cantankerous conversation we would have with someone in our new music community than a job interview, she and I instantly knew that he was the right fit for our team. Soon after Randy was hired and started working alongside us, he seemed to disagree with just about everything I said or wrote. But that only convinced me further that he was the perfect fit for NewMusicBox.
This year’s Classical:NEXT opening concert, Hear It New!, highlights the breadth of National Sawdust’s work with composers, performers, filmmakers and designers, demonstrating the potential for true collaboration to create boundary-pushing new music which is relevant to our society.
As she explored different worlds of music, Danielle Ferrari found herself becoming more and more fascinated by soundtracks—how music has the power to transform stories and make characters feel larger than life. Her recent work on her first documentary project ended up completely changing the way she thinks about composition.
There is value in attending a graduate program in composition, but it is not a panacea for career advancement and future job security. It is wise to consider what one wants and realistically what a composition doctorate can offer before assuming that it is the only path forward.
p r i s m, an opera by Ellen Reid, has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music. The annually awarded $15,000 prize is for a distinguished musical composition by an American that has had its first performance or recording in the United States during the previous year.