View From the West: Where Are the Notes?

Dean SuzukiPhoto by Ryan Suzuki For a very long time now there have been composers who create music directly, bypassing paper, the manuscript, the score. This has always been the case with electronic music, although graphic scores and other visual realizations of electronic works have certainly been made. There are also those who improvise or […]

View From the West: New Choral Music – There’s Not Much to Sing About

Dean SuzukiPhoto by Ryan Suzuki I have been thinking for some time about the state of the contemporary repertoire in choral music, and the problems encountered in getting new work commissioned, written, and performed. This past May there was a great deal of discussion of choral music in NewMusicBox. While many who contributed to or […]

View From the West: New Hope for the Pulitzer

Dean SuzukiPhoto by Ryan Suzuki I recall reading a brief but powerful and insightful article by Kyle Gann titled “Pulitzer Hacks” in the July 30, 1991 issue of The Village Voice. In it, he quite rightly savaged the institution known as the Pulitzer (pronounced, by the way, PULL-it-zer, not PYU-lit-zer) Prize as a “Reward for […]

View From the West: Erik Satie—A Model for Alternative Thinking

Dean SuzukiPhoto by Ryan Suzuki Erik Satie has long been one of those composers who has perplexed and flummoxed music theorists, music historians, and composers. Somehow he has managed to weasel his way into the history books and must at least be mentioned in music history courses, yet he is not accorded the kind and […]

View from the West: American Mavericks on Public Radio

Dean SuzukiPhoto by Ryan Suzuki After much grousing and bellyaching about the pathetic state of affairs at PBS, at least in their music and performing arts programming two columns ago, and the decline of music programming at public radio stations with the ever increasing all news and talk formats in a column sometime last year, […]

View from the West: Other Minds

Dean SuzukiPhoto by Ryan Suzuki The Other Minds Festival in San Francisco offers a healthy and provocative departure from the conventional new music series or festival. Whereas most new music organizations focus on their own favorite style or flavor—it makes sense; you present what you like and know—it takes a bold, daring organization with a […]

View From The West: What Happened to Contemporary Performing Arts on PBS?

Dean SuzukiPhoto by Ryan Suzuki Something has gone terribly wrong at PBS. I recall a day when one could actually see Peter Greenaway‘s documentary films on John Cage, Meredith Monk, Philip Glass, and Robert Ashley; a documentary on Steve Reich; intermedia and experimental performances, films, and videos on Alive! From Off Center; a significant proportion […]

View From the West: Swing Your Partner ‘Round and ‘Round’—Banjo Anyone?

Dean SuzukiPhoto by Ryan Suzuki With all of the interest in and investigation into world musics, from scholarly studies to the integration of non-Western styles, forms, instruments, and compositional techniques to popular world fusion styles, it is curious that more composers have not tapped into uniquely American musics. The appeal of various world music styles, […]

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