Author Archives: Jenny Undercofler

Soundtracks: June 2001

For various periods of time since high school, I have found myself trying to “be” Asian, as silly as that may sound. I suppose that having grown up “above average” (to use Garrison Keillor’s words) and white in the ‘burbs, there is nothing unusual about that; many of my closest friends have been (and continue […]

Computer Programming and the Expanding Compositional Frontier

Nick Didkovsky and Phil BurkPhoto courtesy of Nick Didkovsky Part I: Nick Didkovsky and Hell Cafe While most of us are happy enough to use computers to send email, surf the web, and write documents, there are people out there who use these machines for far more. These innovative programmers see computers and the Internet […]

Soundtracks: May 2001

I was going to organize this month’s SoundTracks around the subject of composers and conductors, but I got distracted (chalk it up to spring fever). Remember that silly game, a few years back, “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon?” Well, I got to playing that with the CDs. Take Tan Dun’s soundtrack for Crouching Tiger, Hidden […]

Soundtracks: April 2001

The relationship between music and theater has always been controversial – and productive. On one end of the spectrum are pieces in which text is obviously or completely dominant. Though there are no solely text-based pieces in this month’s new discs — if you want one, try Randy Hostetler’s Happily Ever After, featured in the […]

New Music and DVD-Audio: A Marriage Built to Last?

Immersion DVD [Author's note: When I first got my hands on Immersion, the new DVD-Audio from the Colorado-based Starkland, I was disappointed to find that there was no accompanying movie. After I missed the mark in last month’s SoundTracks column, Steve Smith, the classical music columnist at Billboard, was kind enough to drag me over […]

Soundtracks: March 2001

It’s a funny thing how our weaknesses work, sometimes. My improvising abilities are pitiful – put something down on paper, I’ll play it, but ask me to make it up, and I’m just reading the inside of my eyeballs. The good aspect of the situation is this: I stand in awe of composer-performers who improvise. […]

Soundtrack: January 2001

While we wait to see if “Dubya” manages to unite Donkey and Elephant, we will have to content ourselves with music in which there is some kind of tentative “coalition” between styles. Two discs jumped out at me as superlative examples of such blending: Mark Kuss’s chamber music, on Gasparo, and Martin Bresnick’s two-volume Opere […]

Soundtracks: December 2000

Many musicians and hard-core music lovers will swear to you that they never ever listen to music “in the background” while they work. Only some of them are lying. For me, music in the background generally has the same tantalizing effect as the smell of food coming from the kitchen — I just have to […]