Author Archives: Alexandra Gardner

Arlene Sierra: The Evolution of Process

The music of composer Arlene Sierra is significantly focused on creative forms of process. Whether structures from the natural world such as beehives or flocks of birds, or human-made maps of war game strategy, sturdy foundations ground the musical content of her works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, chorus, and opera.

Sounds Heard: Simone Dinnerstein / Tift Merritt—Night

The collaborative album Night, which pairs classical pianist Simone Dinnerstein with rootsy singer-songwriter Tift Merritt, is a smorgasbord of songs cherry-picked from various corners of history and culture. It is an interesting and revealing sonic journal of a musical partnership in which both artists embrace elements of risk and experimentation.

Pull Up A Chair

A crucial element in this tangled web of gender disparity in the new music world (and many other worlds) is that women are not culturally encouraged to ask for things. The act of asking for something is an important way to pull up a chair and be part of the conversation.

When Stage Presence Happens

Being well rehearsed is not enough to guarantee a great performance, and that’s where stage presence comes in. Some people naturally have it, but it can also be taught.

The Tax Season Shuffle

Preparing tax returns is one of my least favorite activities on planet earth. What method(s) do you use to keep track of expenses and income?

When Good Performances Happen

It has been great to read all of the comments on last week’s post about bad performances—I’m glad to see both composers and performers sharing their thoughts. In the interest of addressing both sides of this coin—or maybe that greener grass over there—I’m also interested in unpacking aspects of good performances. Yes, they do happen!

When Bad Performances Happen

Performances are not always what we would like them to be, or what we expect them to be. We have all been caught by surprise by a performance we thought was going to go well and then didn’t. How can we be sure our music is receiving the care and attention it deserves?

Sounds Heard: Cold Blue Two

Cold Blue Two features 14 short tracks, many of which were composed specifically for this CD. It offers a panoramic view of Cold Blue’s offerings, which are quite varied and yet make a powerful unified statement.