Who’s Got a Question?

In preparation for the web release of a compilation project, including pieces by a number of my colleagues at the University of Minnesota, I’ve happily taken on a new and unfamiliar mantle: interviewer. Each piece on this compilation will be accompanied by an interview with its composer, and these interviews will be released as podcasts leading up to and following the compilation’s appearance online. My interview with Josh Musikantow is already in the can, and I have two more coming up early next week. I am having a blast.

There are precedents, of course, for new music interview podcasts: As I write this, I’m listening to Noizepunk and das Krooner interview Judith Lang Zaimont, whose connection to the U, as we call it, is well-known. I was also very fond of the much-missed Common Tone podcast, run by David Gaines and James Landon Jones, before it vanished into the virtual ether. But we have a slightly different format: For one thing, since the podcasts accompany recordings of complete works, we don’t include pieces or excerpts in the podcasts—it’s all dialogue. We also take a pretty relaxed attitude toward the interview process, probably because we’re friends with one another and are comfortable with committing a long-form, unstructured, semi-rambling conversation to the record. And biographical information is particularly important, as much to satisfy my own curiosity about my fellow composers as to ground the subsequent discussion of aesthetic and critical considerations pertinent to the music at hand. I have the good fortune to work alongside fascinating people, and my job as interviewer is to lay out for public perusal what makes them so fascinating.

Keep watching this space; when the compilation project is done, I’ll be sure to notify you, and each podcast will get a link here when they’re ready to go live. If you have a yen for informal shootings of the breeze in a contemporary music context, your enjoyment is guaranteed.

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