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?
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
While Joseph C. Phillips Jr.’s music sometimes incorporates improvisation and his ensemble features several prominent jazz musicians, he does not consider himself a jazz composer. An adept multitasker who balances creating music for film, dance, symphonic bands, and his own 25-piece ensemble with teaching music to kindergartners, Phillips creates very clearly 21st-century music—incorporating a broad range of styles while being ultimately beholden to none.
Clapping is undeniably a tremendous sonic phenomenon—a spatial microphony of non-aligned irregular rhythms which can be as complex as anything in a Henry Brant or György Ligeti score. But imagine if there could be other viable ways to use everyone in attendance as part of the performance.