A Real Mess

The past week’s debacle surrounding Osvaldo Golijov’s Sidereus overture was set off by two friends attending an orchestra concert in Eugene, Oregon, and the resulting article in the Eugene Register-Guard over the weekend has brought to light a panoply of issues whose ripples are still moving quickly throughout the music community and may have ramifications far beyond the individual situation.

The Producer

Not only are we always learning—or, at least, presented with opportunities to learn—but every once in a while we find ourselves seated at the feet of a true master, from whom one cannot help but want to glean as much as possible from such a short, yet valuable, “class.”

Pushing and Pulling the Envelope

The underlying concepts upon which one creates compositions may come from relatively different directions. After some back and forth, we came up with the idea that the difference was on which side of the creative “envelope” each of us tended to start when we made our art.

Inmates Running the Asylum

Between self-publishing, creating performance opportunities through the initiation of new ensembles and concert series, managing commissions, and balancing the various challenges that accompany the life of the freelancing artist, composers find themselves in need of a wide swath of experiences outside of the classroom. Slowly over time, programs have been experimenting with ways to incorporate these additional concepts into an already-packed list of requirements.

Old Friends

You can’t have enough friends, especially while you’re a student composer. Too often we focus so much on where we’re going that we forget that we’re already somewhere and miss opportunities that are literally sitting right next to us.

Creative Spaces

We all tend to focus on the “important” stuff when we think about composers—what they’re trying to say, how they’re saying it, and what effect their work is having on the world around them. There is, of course, nothing wrong with this, but it tends to foster the habit of thinking of a particular composer as more of a concept than a person. By getting a chance to walk through the spaces in which these talented artists work, I am reminded of who they really are—not as names, but as simple, everyday people.

Proof of Life

As weeks go, this one has been none too quiet for the symphony orchestra. What I take away from these various and sundry items is that, for as much as folks like to say otherwise, the symphony orchestra is not going quietly into that good night just yet.

Finding Headspace

One of the vestiges that I have clung to from my pre-teaching days is the idea that I can compose at any time during the year, regardless of what else is going on in my life. I’ve prided myself on the fact that I could “turn it on” when I found time and could write effectively well into the night. As you might imagine, such habits are not exactly healthy.

Making Arrangements

Arranging pre-existing musical material is, in my humble opinion, a valuable and yet rarely examined tool in a composer’s toolbox, as well as a useful portal through which musicians with little composing experience can enter the wonderful world of creative musical writing.

The Inside and Outside of New Music According to the Times

It is not often that one gets such a parallax viewpoint on the subject of new music in the mainstream media, and the opportunity allows those of us who are active in the profession not only to digest and react to what is being said but also to gain a better sense of how our world is seen from “outside the beltway,” so to speak.