I’ll take the composers over the consultants every time so thankfully music, particularly new music, was the focal point most of the time at the Chorus America conference and the concurrent ChoralConnections convening organized by the American Composers Forum.
Welch’s music is the by-product of an unlikely blend—Indonesian gamelan, Scottish bagpipes, and indie rock. While these types of music might initially seem completely unrelated, Welch has found his compositional voice in their common ground.
Without the exposure to all the music I hear in concerts and on the recordings I acquire when I’m on the road, as well as the conversations about music I have with people wherever I happen to be, the inspirational fuel I need in order to create my own music would be severely depleted.
Brandt’s music quickly moves past the New Age sound world as she piles on more and more layers of counterpoint, creating music that instead winds up sounding more akin to one of Phil Spector’s self-described “little symphonies for the kiddies,” albeit without the saccharine lyrics.
In the minds of many people, publishers are monoliths—giant, impenetrable entities that control the copyrights of others and draconically police their usage. But what was particularly heartwarming about the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Music Publishers Association was how deeply personal it all was.
A total of 49 publications, including scores of compositions by William Bolcom, Chen Yi, Valerie Coleman, John Corigliano, David Del Tredici, John Harbison, Charles Ives, Vijay Iyer, Robert Kyr, Paul Moravec, Steve Reich, David Evan Thomas, Maury Yeston, Neil Young, and Frank Zappa, were honored in the 2012 Paul Revere Awards for Graphic Excellence announced during the annual meeting of the Music Publishers Association.
The 2012 Ceremonial at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, in addition to providing its annual dose of celebrity gazing and (this year) a sing-along with Pete Seeger, offered some sage advice from Chuck Close, as well as pithy reflections from many of the award winners.
Usually I attend art exhibitions, restaurants, or perfume shops and contemplate how much music presenters can learn from what these other communities do. But this time around, the music people totally got it right.
Nine composers (ages 16-27), chosen from more than 700 applicants from throughout the Western Hemisphere, were named recipients of BMI Student Composer Awards; the winners received cash awards totaling $20,000.
While there have been many composers who have explored combining Western musical forms and orchestrations with elements from the art music of China, Japan, Iran, India, and Indonesia, very few have attempted a similar rapprochement with the music of Thailand. But the music of a Thailand-born composer now based in Kansas City, Narong Prangcharoen, has perhaps been the most effective thus far in seamlessly weaving Thai and Western classical idioms.