Author Archives: Sean Shepherd

On the Good and the Great—Wrapping up the NY Phil Biennial

New York Philharmonic 2014 Biennial

Last week amounted to a floodgate of new music being opened: from a few new subscription-series pieces per season from major figures and some encouragement to young talent by way of CONTACT! commissions, the Philharmonic and partners performed well over 60 pieces from composers of all stages and many walks of life.

NY Phil Biennial: Scads, Oodles, and Heaps of Composers

New York Philharmonic

As the NY Phil Biennial continues, with events every day through this Saturday, I’ve begun to realize how many new pieces and how many composers I’ve heard over the last week or so. My rough count comes to 56 people, with only one name appearing on more than one program.

What’s In a Festival? NY Phil Biennial Pre-Game

nyphil-biennial

This week marks the start of something big, busy, and possibly brilliant in New York: the first edition of the NY Phil Biennial. Beyond what look like some exciting programs, I’m waiting to make any grand assessments on something so damn grand.

The Ties that Bind, Part II

Out of all of the possible composer-in-residence responsibilities discussed in my early conversations with the Reno Philharmonic, education made me the most nervous. But due to a strong, long-forged partnership between the orchestra and the local school district, it became clear that a large focus of my time in Reno would be devoted to facing my fears. As we began shaping our plans, I began researching.

The Ties That Bind, Part I

Like nearly all arts organizations, the mission of many orchestras (in the U.S. and abroad) has grown to incorporate the hazy nebulae of “Education and Outreach.” Of course, it’s the obvious thing to do. But, for me, it’s another symptom of the precarious position of art in our culture. Over the last 50 years, one could point to a shakedown and oversimplified sorting-out of art and entertainment.

Native Son

My experiences as a Reno native will certainly inform my time there, but whether I will be more relevant as a resident composer than anyone else is a different question.

Back To Earth, Ever So Slowly

After spending at least a year lying awake at night imagining all the ways my New York Philharmonic premiere might not go that great, I have to admit it: I’m pleased.

My Job, My Life

I understood that if I wanted to keep writing music under any circumstance like this for a long time, this piece had better be all I had to give. If not my best work, certainly my best effort. I felt that I was writing for my life.