One of the best parts of traveling around to interview composers for NewMusicBox is often having the opportunity to see their living spaces. It’s always interesting, and in many cases surprising to see the spaces that composers create for themselves. But I wonder if the spaces in which we feel the most comfortable are always the best for composing?
For the recording Time Loops cellist Maya Beiser teams up with composer/pianist Michael Harrison to perform a number of Harrison’s works inspired by “music from ancient Greece and the Renaissance, Indian ragas and Minimalism.” All of his music is performed in just intonation, and the result is an ear-openingly clear, bright sound that fits the instrument beautifully and highlights the ecstatic, spiritual nature of the compositions.
Before I signed on to the Seattle Symphony’s Sonic Evolution project, the orchestra had decided that this year one of the works would include a soloist, and I was invited to work with Alan White, long time drummer of the band Yes. My initial thought was, “How on earth am I going to deal with an honest-to-goodness rock star?”
Over the past two years in cities throughout the U.S., groups of people have been gathering, digital music players in hand and headphones in place, to watch the sun rise or set. It must be an odd sight for anyone stumbling across these scenes—25 to 50 people all “plugged in,” intently facing in the direction of the sun. They are all listening to the same music by composer Nat Evans.