The Importance of the Impractical

In my own experience, the works that risk the most invariably (and paradoxically) have been those that have been the most successful, whether artistically or practically. The piece that represented my first foray into systematic microtonality remained unheard for several years. The delay in its premiere caused me to question this compositional direction, until I finally did hear my own creation and realized that it was by far the best music I had composed to that point.

One Year

I’ve found the experience of airing my thoughts in this forum to be enjoyable and humbling

Adieu, Avant-Garde

I believe that our generation’s contributions will be incremental rather than revolutionary. We are living in an era of consolidation.

Losing the Loudness War

This loudness war should make us question the nature of our music and how we can compete within an amplified society.

In Praise of Deadlines

By David Smooke
Writing a 40-minute composition during the school year has spurred an effort of which I would have previously though myself incapable.

Tulip Trees

Growing up in Los Angeles, I never felt attuned to the seasons. I was vaguely aware that it rained more in January and that the jacarandas would bloom in March, but generally time flowed from one day into the next without any sense of seasonal shifts. Even in the coldest months, residents of southern California are able to enjoy the outdoors without recourse to heavy coats, and most trees retain their leaves throughout the year.

Political Music

By David Smooke
All art is inherently political, in that every choice we make when constructing a new work either confirms the status quo or is an act of rebellion

In the Moment

By David Smooke
Through improvisational performances, I have been able to make music with fabulous musicians and to connect with audiences who crave new sounds.


By David Smooke
I had become so used to the idea that this work would exist at some distant point on the horizon of the future that actually buckling down and getting to composing proved to be a daunting task.

Changing Tastes

By David Smooke
I didn’t notice the change while it was occurring, but my entire system of musical values is now completely different from the one I enjoyed a few years ago.