Author Archives: Colin Holter

Bet You Can’t Hear Just One

There’s a succinctness that an artfully programmed short concert can enjoy, encouraging a kind of concentration that longer concerts are likelier to strain.

Good Music

Even a crowd of new music specialists generally sympathetic to one another’s orientation—and who are, moreover, friends!—might have diametric reactions to a new piece.

Notation Optional Composing

As “crossover” artists continue to take advantage of their unique position, one in which two distinct kinds of cultural capital—the “Western composer” kind and the “hip creative person” kind—are abundantly available in a society that recognizes no inherent contradiction between them, the terms and conditions of production will change for all of us.

Into the Great Wide Open

Ensembles like Dal Niente are taking openness to heart by programming omnivorously, and that’s a policy from which all of us can benefit.

In the Company of Colleagues

By Colin Holter
I’m moved to look a little harder for composer gatherings in the future; what could be better than three days of listening to and talking about contemporary music with a community of brilliant artists from all over the world? Nothing, is what.

The Urgent Needs of Now

By Colin Holter
Davidson’s claim that young
composers should align themselves against a kind of music is
superficial, of course, but only because it doesn’t ask them to be
ambitious enough.

Working for a Living

Last week was our spring break here at the University of Minnesota, thankfully; I kept myself busy with enough projects, each at a different stage of completion, to keep me constantly on edge for fear of forgetting one of them. Some of these projects are remunerative and some non-, so occasionally it strikes me that I could be prioritizing them accordingly—but of course it’s not that simple.

Playing Them Like They Used To

By Colin Holter
Attending a mainstream classical music concert illustrates the bona fide epiphanies that a live performance of Beethoven, Ravel, and Pintscher can afford.

Life of Riley

By Colin Holter
Unlike more contentious composers of his same generation, Riley and his music seem to have become completely naturalized since the 1970s, but perhaps they should be regarded in a more controversial light than they are.