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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Does the national new music community need a professional conference of its own? How would such an endeavor actually work? Who would be the intended audience? Would it be a yearly or biennial event? What umbrella organization would or could provide logistical support?
The Chicago Composers Orchestra concert at the Garfield Park Conservatory and the Third Coast Percussion concert at the University of Chicago each demonstrated how new music concerts can be diverse in content, in venue, and in audience to great effect.
With his “The Music They Made” feature, the NYTimes Magazine editor Wm. Ferguson is using his position to shape his idea of the “mainstream” by adding a few names that only indie, rock, and punk devotees would recognize while, at the same time, protecting it by disavowing not only classical music but jazz and Broadway as well.
As with the Instagram debacle, it will take a concerted effort by many to attract the attention of a company as large as Spotify and motivate them to make changes, and we should not be adverse to putting forth that effort.