composer disambiguation

Better Know a Composer: Disambiguation Edition

Was that Jefferson Friedman or Jason Freeman or Joshua Fried? Did you mean Hahn Rowe or Huang Ruo? Did I really just say Larry Polansky when I meant Paul Lansky?

Written By

Molly Sheridan

If you’ve ever quickly skimmed a concert program and wondered when Kim Kardashian learned to play the viola, you’re in the right place! Kim Kashkashian’s 2013 Grammy win may have confused the mainstream media and the reality star’s fan base, but even here in the infield we could use a bit of disambiguation after a glass of reception wine. Let’s make a cheat sheet, shall we?

Hahn Rowe vs. Huang Ruo

Hahn Rowe vs Huang Ruo

(l to r): Hahn Rowe and Huang Ruo

Hahn Rowe is a composer, producer, and violinist/guitarist working at the borders of rock, electronic music, improvisation, and new music. He has collaborated extensively with choreographers such as Meg Stuart and Benoît Lachambre, with musicians such as Glenn Branca, Ikue Mori, and David Byrne, as well as composed scores for television and film. He is of Korean descent.

Huang Ruo mixes Chinese folk, Western avant-garde, rock, and jazz influences in his work using a compositional technique he calls “dimensionalism.” His catalog includes music for orchestra, chamber music, opera, theater, and modern dance, as well as sound installation, multi-media, experimental improvisation, folk rock, and film.  He was born in China.

Jefferson Friedman vs. Jason Freeman vs. Joshua Fried

Jefferson Friendman vs. Jason Freeman vs. Joshua Fried

(l to r): Joshua Fried (Photo by Paul Jendrasiak/; Jefferson Friedman; Jason Freeman

Joshua Fried performs solo live sound processing by drumming on old shoes and manipulating a vintage Buick steering wheel under the moniker RADIO WONDERLAND. His music turns bits of live commercial FM radio into remixed dance grooves, a.k.a. “recombinant funk.” If you don’t remember him from the steering wheel, you might recall his work with They Might Be Giants.

Jefferson Friedman‘s myriad works for soloists, chamber ensembles, and orchestras have been performed across the country, from the Hollywood Bowl to the Kennedy Center. The Chiara String Quartet and Leonard Slatkin/National Symphony Orchestra have commissioned him multiple times. If you haven’t heard his music in the concert hall, you may have heard his work with Shudder To Think or Matmos.

Jason Freeman uses technology to create collaborative musical experiences in live concert performances and in online musical environments, utilizing his research in mobile music, dynamic music notation, and networked music to develop new interfaces for collaborative creativity. You might remember his project “Shakespeare Cuisinart.”

Larry Polansky vs. Paul Lansky

Larry Polansky vs. Paul Lansky

(l to r): Larry Polansky and Paul Lansky

A pioneering music software developer (his work in the development of Hierarchical Music Specification Language eventually led to Max/MSP and SuperCollider), Larry Polansky is also a composer, theorist, teacher, writer, performer, editor, and publisher. He currently teaches at UC Santa Cruz and is the Emeritus Strauss Professor of Music at Dartmouth College. He is also co-director and co-founder of Frog Peak Music and the founding editor of Leonardo Music Journal.

A pioneering figure in the field of computer music (he also authored Cmix), Paul Lansky has in recent years turned his ear toward more instrumental composition for groups such as Sō Percussion and the Alabama Symphony. He spent 45 years on faculty at Princeton University, where he is now William Shubael Conant Professor of Music Emeritus. Radiohead’s Kid A quotes his very first computer piece, mild und leise.

Delta David Gier vs. David Alan Miller vs. David Alan Grier

Delta David Gier vs. David Alan Miller vs. David Alan Grier

(l to r): Delta David Gier, David Alan Grier, David Alan Miller

This one is even trickier!

Delta David Gier is a conductor and passionate advocate for new American orchestral music. He has been the music director of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra since 2004.

David Alan Miller is a conductor and passionate advocate for new American orchestral music. He has been the music director of the Albany Symphony since 1992.

David Alan Grier is an American actor and comedian. We do not know his feelings about new American orchestral music.

John Coolidge Adams vs. John Luther Adams

John Coolidge Adams vs. John Luther Adams

(l to r): JCA (Photo by Christine Alicin), JLA (Photo by Molly Sheridan)

Okay, so no one is likely to confuse these guys in the concert hall, but when in doubt, look for the hat!