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.
Chamber Music America (CMA) has announced the recipients of grants totalling $557,000 which will support the composition of new works and community-based residencies.
I’ve long been a fan of Sergio Cervetti’s Guitar Music: The Bottom of the Iceberg but having only heard any of his music on compilations led to aesthetic experiences which were ultimately unfulfilling. Each of his compositions created such an evocative sonic universe, so I found it extremely frustrating every time I was jolted into another reality when someone else’s music appeared on a subsequent track. Therefore I was delighted when earlier this year Nazca and Other Works, an entire disc devoted to Cervetti’s music, was released on CD by Navona Records.
Although Christian Marclay’s The Clock consists of a total of exactly 24 hours of unique content, a mash-up plundered from literally thousands of film and television segments in which the exact time of the day is depicted (either visually—e.g. an image of an actual clock—or in spoken dialog), it is a seamless loop that hypothetically could repeat in perpetuity. Marclay, however, does not expect anyone to sit through all of it; he admitted that he himself has never done so when I asked him if he had. (I had to ask.)
My feelings about the possible discontinuation of the Sibelius music notation software program are somewhat colored by my attraction to abandoned technologies. They are also informed by the fact that I, for the most part, abandoned pen and staff paper for music notation software more than a quarter of a century ago.
Nowadays music is rarely experienced without interruption; most people engage in other activities as they listen, and the music that they listen to is primarily on recordings which enable the ability to start and stop and skip at will. Curiously, how most people experience music is very similar to the way most people read books.
Many ingredients go into Judith Shatin’s music. While it is informed by a deep sense of musical history, it is just as much a by-product of her profound desire to search for new sounds. It is also deeply inspired by history itself, but not as an artifact. Rather it is something that is malleable and very much alive, something that we in the present can continue to engage with to better understand ourselves.
Remaining mindful of how music might be more effectively disseminated and appreciated, and ensuring that it can be an economically viable activity, is of paramount importance to anyone interested in the future of music. And such discussions need to happen everywhere, even in a place surrounded by ancient history.
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.