Author Archives: Greg Sandow

A Nest of Sound

Greg Sandow I had my first musical experience with a bird many years ago, when I was a total city guy. I was frantically orchestrating an opera one December, in my studio apartment in the Village, trying to finish the piece before the premiere. I’d stayed up all night, and just before dawn, with the […]

Pulitzer Follies

Greg Sandow It’ll be old news by the time you read this, but it’s worth revisiting: The Pulitzer Prize for Music has changed its guidelines. This was all over the press when it happened back in May, because from now on film scores, musical theater pieces, and jazz works will be eligible for Pulitzers. Nominees […]

View From New York: Wouldn’t It Be Nice?

Greg Sandow In the past few weeks, I’ve gone to a scattering of new music concerts in New York where I live, and I’ve noticed that there doesn’t seem to be any consistent audience. People who give concerts seem to have their own little crowd, their own network, their own circle of friends, and to […]

View from New York: Tearing Tonality

Greg Sandow We were on the bus, my wife and I, coming downtown from Lincoln Center, when we overheard two people talking about something they’d just seen. The best performance in 30 years, they said. We were not in work mode that night; we were coming home from the movies, and smiled when we saw […]

View from the East: Learning from Proust

Greg Sandow Proust‘s In Search of Lost Time—as we’ve now learned to call his novel, whose name used to be rendered as Remembrance of Things Past—is very long, published in seven separate volumes. Scenes that another writer would treat in a single chapter (conversation at a dinner party, a visit with a friend) might, in […]

View from the East: The Homemade Music Revolution

Greg Sandow If you go to Apple’s site for GarageBand, the company’s new and wildly hyped music software, you’d think you’d encountered a revolution. All of us—without even a speck of musical training—now can make our own music. Well, it’s been done before—check out Sonic Foundry’s ACID (well, now Sony Pictures’ ACID, now that Sony […]

View from the East: How We Can Save the World

Greg Sandow Well, maybe not the world, but—just maybe—classical music. By “we” I mean all of us active in new music. And I know I’ve written before, either in a column here or in a response to a comment, that we can’t replace the classical music world. It’s too big, too mainstream for the way […]

View from the East: My Atonal Soul

Greg Sandow I learned atonal music because I had to. But don’t worry—I’m not going to write another “composer forced to write atonal music” piece. I wanted to learn atonal music. I was hungry for it. I’d decided in 1969 to become a composer, without much formal music education. So I taught myself, and later—still […]

View from the East: Learning from Nick Hornby

Greg Sandow Nick Hornby‘s Songbook is the most satisfying book on music I’ve read in a long time. Hornby has an advantage, of course, over most music writers, because he’s a real writer, the kind non-music people read, and in fact a novelist (though it’s not really relevant here, two of his books have been […]

View From the East: Naming Names

Greg Sandow We might wish that music spoke for itself, and that we didn’t need special genre names to identify it. But that’s not how the world works. You ask someone what music they like. “Jazz,” they say, and you know what they mean, and whether you like jazz, too. So if they want you […]