Author Archives: Alexandra Gardner

People Do Look Like Their Pets

About five months ago a new family member came to live with us—a stray cat that we have since named Longfellow. As it turns out, my efforts to care for him are also helping me keep my composing schedule on track.

Notation Creation

“How much information does a composer working today attempt to convey to musicians through a written score?”

Sounds Heard: Eric Moe—Kick & Ride

Kick & Ride proves an apt title for composer Eric Moe’s recent BMOP Sound release, highlighting his use of drum set and percussion throughout the three compositions represented. The high energy works, characterized by Moe in the liner notes as “cantankerous sisters,” indeed deliver shots of dramatic flair and suspenseful anxiety that could nearly persuade a listener to skip that all-important morning cup of coffee.

Worlds Apart

For me, the most successful music comes from the things in life that haunt me until I compose them out of my system. What is it that drives you to compose and/or perform music?

Creative Juice

It seems like there has been a recent upsurge in books, articles, blog posts, and assorted media content geared towards jump-starting personal creativity. These books and ideas can be truly helpful for a lot of people. Sometimes a shot of inspiration delivered by another artist, or even just approaching an everyday action from a different angle is exactly what’s needed to light the creative fire. However, I wonder about the implied messages they send.

Janice Giteck: Music in Mind

Sometimes a composer’s personality can speak volumes about the music she or he writes. Tranquility mixed with pointed curiosity fits both the outward persona of Janice Giteck as well as the character of her work. Her compositions, which focus on chamber music but also include orchestral works and film scores, combine the rigor of Western European musical training with a meld of Buddhist, Hasidic, Javanese, and African influences.

Sounds Heard—Eleanor Hovda: The Eleanor Hovda Collection

As varied in scope as the archive of compositions in The Eleanor Hovda Collection is, Hovda’s primary intent—to explore the outskirts of the sonic possibilities inherent in instrumental sound and their relationships to the physical world—is clearly expressed in every piece.

Composer Biographies (Famous Author Edition)

Let’s face it, writing a composer biography is hard. It’s really super hard to write one’s own biography, and I honestly don’t think I’ve ever met a composer who is totally content with his or her own bio. It would be great to see some more creative approaches to the composer bio, so we started imagining some, and received great ideas via Twitter.

Repairing Musical Blind Spots

It seems the momentary topic of choice in the world of classical music journalism is musical “blind spots,” or rather, the music that you try to like—or at least appreciate—but somehow just can’t manage to get there. Is something important being missed by succumbing to blind spots?