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.

Submission, Discomfort, and Transcendence

The metaphor of “submission” as my ideal audience intake position has now reached a whole new level for me. Last week, for the John La Bouchardière production of Lera Auerbach’s opera The Blind I attended at Lincoln Center, the entire audience is required to be blindfolded.

Sounds Heard: Christine Southworth–String Quartets

A couple of months ago, I came across a new disc devoted to Christine Southworth’s music with an immediately identifiable title, String Quartets. But after hearing the truly new sound world she created in her earlier disc—called Zap! Music for Van de Graaff Generator, Tesla Coils, Instruments & Voices—I was quite sure she’d create something totally unusual despite using the most popular instrumental combination in all of chamber music. She did not disappoint!

Winners and Losers

While music and sports are both are mostly group activities, team sports is ultimately about one group against another group—in order for one group to win the other must lose. But once a group comes together to actually make music, everyone wins.

Sounds Heard: Luke Cissell—Cosmography

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.”

And Away I Go (Again)

We’re less than halfway through the year, but by this time next week I will have been in a total of 12 cities in 4 different countries. I believe I have gained many valuable experiences from these trips, but I haven’t had time to completely process all of them.

Not Satisfied

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.

Sounds Heard: Sean Hickey—Concertos

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.

2013 BMI Student Composer Awards Announced

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.