Articles by Dan Visconti
Just like our urge to eat, the appetite for composing tends to fluctuate throughout life, the current year, and even over the course of a single day. But spending too much time composing is just like spending too much time eating; without cessation at least for a brief time, one doesn’t ever feel those pangs of hunger and therefore can’t find satisfaction.
There’s a tension between the different approaches to integrating classical and vernacular traditions on Boiling Point, and that’s why it’s so fascinating to hear Kenji Bunch at work with an ensemble as talented and dedicated as Alias Chamber Ensemble.
I feel that many of our problems as composers are self-created byproducts of something that is not actually there. Oftentimes, our compositional ghosts are constructed more out of our own fear and anticipation of disapproval, absorbed through a strange form of social osmosis rather than handed down from an authority figure on high.
Dyad is that rare musical game that owes nothing to the stagnant glut of Guitar Hero and Rock Band knock-offs—a new and decidedly high-octane way to interact with our senses, both high-tech and deeply expressive of the user experience.
Washington, D.C. isn’t noted for its plethora of new music-related events, so it is fitting that an exhaustive exploration of one of American music’s most cherished figures will be taking place just where a healthy injection of funny-smart-weird Cageian goodness is most needed.
ToneCraft—a musical toolkit that takes advantage of Web Audio API as a workspace for free composition—provides a fantastic metaphor for introducing unwitting normal people to the zany world of composing, albeit one that is far too limited for anything beyond some rudimentary dabbling.
It’s pretty geeky to write, think, or read about fonts. But if you’re composing notated music, trust me, paying attention to fonts won’t make you any more of a geek than you already are—and you’ll likely reap some great benefits as a result.
Following my recent open letter to new music performers, I thought it might be worth turning a critical eye on composerly habits that can grate on others and stunt personal growth.
It is a composer’s prerogative to seek out new stimuli and accept new challenges in order to ward against stagnation. But there are also external forces which conspire to define composers and lump their work into handy pigeonholes.
Here’s why it’s so important for ensembles to make sure they keep living composers apprised of performances of their own works: performances are as much the bread and butter of a composer’s career as the performer who actually brings the new work to life onstage.