I contacted a limited number of professional composers both here and in Europe and asked them if they could give me a list of ten composers from the 20th and 21st centuries that they would want to give to an undergraduate or graduate student composer to listen to in depth. What names would you include?
For as much as we would like to have our music be the true conduit through which others can understand who we are, it is increasingly necessary for living composers to allow musicians and audiences to discover who the person is behind the score.
The more performers compose, the greater their understanding, appreciation, and insight will be of works by other composers, and the more creative voices we include in our musical community, the further our musical boundaries will ultimately reach.
A new project has gotten me thinking about how film scoring techniques can fit within a concert composer’s toolbox.
This is the first time (that I’m aware of) that a major distributor has recognized the growing strength of self-published composers in our industry and is willing to allow the individual to jump into the marketplace.
For today’s composer, having a recording is more than just an archive of a performance or a “calling card”—it is an important and necessary tool in the creation and sustainability of a career, as well as the external expression of who a composer is.
One interesting (and sometimes frustrating) aspect of being a composer is the potential hybrid nature of our career models. While many career paths require one to have a diverse skill set, there are few paths that allow for, and in many cases encourage, an individual to pursue and engage in other careers simultaneously.
Ever since I was very young I’ve tended to “jump into the deep end,” so to speak, in so many aspects of my life—even if I had never been taught to “swim.” This, of course, has not only been the cause of much consternation for my family over the years, but it has shaped the way I think about what I do as a teacher and advocate of new music.
What American concert work or works have somehow influenced you personally, artistically, or otherwise? What American concert work or works would you add to NPR’s list of music that you think has had an important impact on the country as a whole?
Scheduled to be available in December, Beck’s new album will consist of a collection of 20 new songs published only as sheet music. Here, for what they’re worth, are my initial takes on the project.