Articles by Frank Oteri
Frank J. Oteri, New Music USA's Composer Advocate and the Senior Editor of NewMusicBox, is an outspoken crusader for new music and the breaking down of barriers between genres. Frank’s own musical compositions reconcile structural concepts from minimalism and serialism and frequently explore microtonality.
Ten young composers received cash prizes totaling $20,000 during the 61st Annual BMI Student Composer Awards. Among the winners were Juan Pablo Contreras who received the William Schuman Prize, the top honor, and Michael D. Parsons who received the Carlos Surinach Prize, awarded to the competition’s youngest winner, for the second consecutive year.
The centerpiece of the concert I attended on Saturday night was Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, a piece of music that is performed almost every season by virtually every orchestra in the world. While I attended the concert because of a new work on the program, I have to admit that most of the people in the audience wanted to hear Tchaikovsky.
This year the academy gave out a total of $910,000 to 68 visual artists, architects, writers, and composers during the 2013 Ceremonial. Bob Dylan was inducted as an honorary member of the academy.
Troy Herion’s interest in making movies grew directly out of making music. It was a way to further extend the possibilities of what music can be. And in works like Baroque Suite and New York: A City Symphony, Herion has fused visual and sonic elements together so symbiotically that it is difficult to imagine them independent of one another.
The only way that any music created on our own soil will ever be able to compete with the standard repertoire—both in terms of audience devotion to it and the high level at which it is regularly performed—is for our own music to be programmed more frequently. Luckily that seems to be starting to happen!
Aside from its inherent interest due to the broad range of music that composer Heather Schmidt has fashioned out of one of the more traditional chamber music duo configurations, a new Centrediscs recording of her music for cello and piano duo is a wonderful documentation of an ongoing collaboration between an interpreter (cellist Shauna Rolston) and a composer who is also featured herein as the pianist.
We are living in an era where the music of all times and places belongs to everyone.
The current working model for orchestras does not allow musicians to spend a great deal of time on anything, and the accepted wisdom for getting music in front of an orchestra—and getting the players to do an effective job with it—is to streamline what you write: make it relatively easy to sight-read, avoid pitch and metrical things that are out of the ordinary, etc.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs beatmeister Brian Chase’s Drums & Drones, as its title implies, foregrounds pitch in a new way that is perhaps only possible for someone whose primary musical activity is playing in one of the most visceral of New York City’s post-punk bands.
Partita for 8 Voices by Caroline Shaw has been awarded the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Music. Also nominated in this category were Aaron Jay Kernis’s Pieces of Winter Sky and Wadada Leo Smith’s Ten Freedom Summers.