Author Archives: Alexandra Gardner

Sounds Heard: Rebekah Heller—100 names

It’s refreshing to hear the bassoon edging it’s way towards the sonic foreground in contemporary music. Anyone with doubts about how cool the instrument can be has not yet heard bassoonist Rebekah Heller perform; in her hands, the oft-underappreciated instrument is transformed into a fierce creature that cannot be ignored onstage.

Paula Matthusen: Attention to Light

By reveling in the small details and rough edges of her musical landscapes, composer Paula Matthusen creates musical environments that heighten perceptions of the ephemeral nature of sound, and ensures that surprises can be found at practically every turn.

Music is Bigger Than Any One of Us

Are we really the best judges as far as what should and should not be shared with the outside world when it comes to our own music? Are our present selves overly critical of the pieces our past selves have labored over? What is the real purpose behind our attempts to so closely control how, when, and what part of our creative output reaches beyond our individual perimeters?

D. J. Sparr: Playing Well With Others

Composer and electric guitarist D. J. Sparr draws energy and inspiration from interacting with other musicians. “That’s why I compose,” he says, “to get to the point where I can be actively working with other musicians.” A full schedule of composition commissions, performances of his own music and that of other composers, and educational residencies ensures that he gets his fill of that vitality.

Sounds Heard: The Art of David Tudor (1963—1992)

The recently released boxed set of electronic music pioneer David Tudor’s work, The Art of David Tudor (1963—1992) on New World Records, charts his transformation from interpreter and co-composer to composer/performer, presenting a selection of full performance recordings of many of his groundbreaking works.

Composer Operating Costs

Being a composer can get expensive. Pretty much everything about having a career as a composer—with the exception of the actual composing part, that is—costs money.

Sounds Heard: Big Farm

The mission of Big Farm revolves around expressive freedom for each artist, and as a result, calling their debut album “eclectic” would be an understatement.

Commissioning Music and Stuff

A performer friend and I were recently daydreaming about new possibilities for music commissioning—of chamber music, in particular. What if commissioning music were more a part of everyday life?

Recycling

I’m curious about composers recycling their work. As useful as repurposing material can be for stimulating ideas, has it become in some instances a shortcut by which we avoid the hard work of creating truly new material “out of thin air”?