Caroline Shaw is different in many ways from previous Pulitzer Prize winners, but it is the sense of enjoyment in being a part of something bigger than oneself that, in my humble opinion, makes her stand out.

Separate Worlds

As we become more interconnected, we’re going to discover even more links between the disparate “worlds” that we all find ourselves in. Whether or not these situations call for change-of-self or change-by-others, they do signify a growing trend towards inclusivity, appreciation, and a “big tent” concept that embraces those people, sounds, and ideas that run counter to our own.

Have Some Fun

Having fun, or composing simply for the intrinsic enjoyment of creation, isn’t something that’s discussed much in education or composition circles, but I think it should be.

Consider the Brass

What comes first, the repertoire or the available and interested performers? Having written more than my fair share of brass works, I find myself asking why more composers don’t try their hand at it.

Under Pressure

For those of us who work with composition students, we are now squarely in that time of year when project deadlines begin to coincide with exams and the mid-term demands of other courses to the point that the pressure to complete a musical work can seem insurmountable.

After Kronos: Next Steps for Jeffrey Zeigler

Two weeks ago, the new music world received the news that after eight seasons cellist Jeffrey Zeigler would be stepping down from his position with the Kronos Quartet. We asked him what’s next.


When the protective relationship between union and members morphs into a threatening, punitive relationship, it is reasonable to ask whether or not more responsible and productive methods could be used to achieve the shared goals of all involved.

Turning the Page

It’s not often that you realize you’re in a time of personal transition—often you only realize that the transition has happened after the fact—but when it does happen it allows for both self-reflection and dreaming of where that transition can take you in the future.

Laughing at Ourselves

In addition to being a serious lot, composers tend to be both competitive (as the lifeblood of our art—performances—are of a limited supply) and not a little sensitive about their own self-perceived flaws. Humor, therefore, is a rare bird.

Igor’s Hand

When one looks at the actual handwriting of a 31-year-old Russian composer who had not yet achieved his place in the mythos of our musical heritage, it not only allows us to see the piece and the man writing it in a more normal, grounded manner but it allows us to see ourselves and our own work in a context that is ultimately more healthy and realistic than before.