Author Archives: Frank J. Oteri

About Frank J. 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.

The Choices We Make

According to Adrian Hamilton, the emerging visual artists are more concerned with “craft and their ambitions to become professional” than with “being revolutionary.” I’ve heard the exact same comment made about many millennial composers. But such assertions are difficult to corroborate since determining whether something is “revolutionary” or “reactionary” at this juncture is as subjective an undertaking as determining whether something is “beautiful.”

Sounds Heard: Christopher Bono—Invocations

While much of 21st-century contemporary composition is not beholden to any rules, to the extent that I could probably claim everyone to be an “outsider” in some ways, Bono’s music sounds as though everything he writes is something he is discovering for the very first time.

Not Quite a Horse Race

The Grawemeyer has yet to be as widely an acknowledged accolade—even among new music aficionados—as other honors like the annual Pulitzer Prize. Did your morning newspaper (those of you who still read such things) run a story on the Grawemeyer Award this morning?

Introducing America

Last week I attempted to fill the ears of an international guest with live new American music almost every night in as many formats as possible given the limited time of his visit. On his docket were performances by a chorus, a jazz quartet, indie rock bands, and several different chamber groups.

Chasing Diversity

Many years ago I remember John Corigliano giving a speech in which he compared classical music cognoscenti who catalog the minutiae of interpretive deviations to wine snobs who spent all their time contrasting various vintages of high-end bottlings of the same wine grapes.

Elliott Carter (1908-2012)

Virgil Blackwell has confirmed that Elliott Carter died this afternoon in New York. Just a little over a month shy of his 104th birthday, Carter (1908-2012) was writing music almost up to the end of his life.

I of the Storm

In the middle of all of the post Sandy mayhem, I actually ventured out of my apartment to attend a performance last week—Thomas Adès’s The Tempest. It was extraordinarily cathartic. What did you do?

Glenn Branca: Where My Ears Want To Go

Glenn Branca has had a deep and lasting impact on several music scenes, but he was never really a part of any of them. With Theoretical Girls, he created a new kind of punk rock music that came to be known as No Wave. Later on, he redefined what a symphony could be. Making music that was more visceral and louder than anything in the new music scene, he even frightened John Cage. Thirty years later, he’s still making waves.

Sounds Heard: Guy Klucevsek—Polka from the Fringe

In Guy Klucevsek’s Polka from the Fringe, which is similar in spirit to the roughly contemporaneous Waltz and Tango Projects, composers directly engage in the squeezebox’s more quotidian roots. The next time someone comes up to you claiming to be able to define new music, tell him or her to listen to these recordings.

Isolating the Senses

Although I tend to listen to music in the foreground even when it is intended as background, I’m still aware that optical components are part of any auditory experience, whether they are conceptually part of the design or not.