Who is Luke Cissell? It sounds like the name of a character from either a Louis L’Amour or Flannery O’Connor novel, or perhaps the protagonist in something published in Astounding Stories magazine. Fittingly, the press release that accompanied a CD of his music described it as “bluegrass on a distant planet.”
Most artistic endeavors in the 21st century have become completely blurry from both an aesthetic and an economic standpoint. I would argue that there never were only two “kinds” of music, but now the two larger umbrellas of “art” and “commerce” hold no water at all. I would also argue that the wall that divided the “two kinds of music” from one another were equally harmful to both sides.
I’ve always found it remarkable that Sean Hickey, who is also the national sales and business development manager for Naxos of America, has had time to create any music of his own. But what is perhaps even more extraordinary is that despite his seemingly never-ending immersion into so many other people’s music, he has found his own distinctive compositional voice.
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.
Tania León, Jon Deak, Steve Smith, the late Morton Gould, and 28 young composers were honored by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) during its 14th Annual Concert Music Awards, an invitation-only event held at Merkin Concert Hall at the Kaufman Center in New York City on Friday, May 17, 2013.