Author Archives: Amanda MacBlane

ASCAP Foundation Applauds Achievement in Music

(left to right) ASCAP lyricist Alan Bergman, ASCAP Foundation President Marilyn Bergman; Richard Rodgers’ daughter, Mary Rodgers; and Stephen SondheimPhoto courtesy ASCAP The ASCAP Foundation honored both young and established talent at the Seventh Annual ASCAP Foundation Awards and Scholarships reception on December 5th at New York City’s Lincoln Center. Fifteen ASCAP scholarships, fellowships, residencies, […]

ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards Honor Excellence in Music Journalism

Frances Richard, Regina Carter, Chris BrubeckPhoto courtesy ASCAP On December 4, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) announced the winners of the 35th Annual ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards at a ceremony that took place at Lincoln Center. The awards, established in 1968 in memory of former ASCAP president, composer, and writer Deems […]

Breathing In

I vividly remember the first time I ever consciously understood how inspiration functioned for me. I had been studying for 6 straight days. My eyes suffered the tunnel vision of sleep-deprivation and my body was crushed under a ceaseless caffeine buzz. But what I remember so intensely about that night isn’t what I was studying […]

Globe Trotters and Jet Setters

When I was 20 years old I, like generations of American college students before me, packed a suitcase and got on a plane for my junior year abroad in Paris. I had never been to a country where English wasn’t the primary language and I remember in my post-departure panic saying to my French professor: […]

A Neurotic Wind Player

As an oboe player, I have always had a chip on my shoulder about string players. Every time a concert “master” would strut onto stage, accepting the applause of the audience, only to turn around and command me to play an A, a wave of resentment would pass over my body. I was responsible for […]

The Time Machine

This month, my desk was deluged with 56 new recordings of American music—pretty good output for an ailing record industry! What I found most remarkable about this month’s assemblage is that they are a pretty accurate reflection of how American concert music has evolved over the last century (give or take a few decades), showing […]

If My Life Were a Movie

A major turning point in my life came at age 9 when I saw the film version of West Side Story. I have since seen it over 50 times, mostly in the years immediately following this initial viewing. Without fail, I cry every time. In the fourth grade, I started the exclusive W.S.S. Club, a […]

“Step, kick, kick, leap, kick, touch”

A composer friend of mine once joked that a lot more people would listen to his music if he threw in a drum track. This idea brought back painful memories of Hooked on Classics and that disco tune “A Fifth of Beethoven,” but I had to admit that he had a point. Americans have an […]

Phenomenal Women

I heard an awful joke once, the details I have thankfully since forgotten. The punch line basically indicated that the only woman you would ever see as part of a jazz outfit would be a singer. While it may have been true that the only way women could be recognized in the jazz world was […]

What is “like”?

Every time I see this one old friend of mine he asks the same question. “Mandy,” he says very earnestly. “Why do I like the music that I like?” Trained in math and physics and a believer that there is an answer to every inquiry, he wonders why he loves the blues. What is it […]