Author Archives: Isaac Schankler

Compromise and Conviction at the National Composers Intensive

wild Up in concert at the Regent Theater. Photo by: Craig T. Mathew/Mathew Imaging

The National Composers Intensive, organized by the LA Philharmonic, invited ten collegiate composers to write for wild Up. While readings of student works are not uncommon in the new music world, the Intensive was unusual in that composers had multiple opportunities to hear and revise their works.

Dying From Exposure

Desert walk

What is not problematic on an individual level can become catastrophic on a larger level, and I worry that we are rapidly ruling out pretty much every scenario that would allow a typical musician to make a living.

Games Played: FRACT OSC

Sequencer puzzle

Described as a “musical exploration game inspired by synthesizers,” FRACT OSC places you in an abstract neon landscape somewhere between Myst and Tron, and the environment is peppered with various kinds of music-making machinery. You’re in a world literally made of sound.

LA: A Spring 2014 Concertgoer’s Journal, Part 1

Claire Chase, flute

In March and April in Los Angeles, the concert calendar becomes impossibly saturated. These are just a few highlights from Maximum Minimalism, WasteLAnd, plus recent What’s Next Ensemble and Timur and the Dime Museum performances.

Vicki Ray Reflects on 20 Years of Piano Spheres

Vicki Ray

The Piano Spheres concert series, a Los Angeles institution dedicated to expanding the repertoire for the instrument, was a risky proposition at first. But the LA new music community has changed in the past 20 years, and the series has evolved right along side it.

Sounds Heard: Some American Albums

Some American Albums

In the wake of the many “Best of 2013” lists floating around, I wanted to highlight some recent album releases worthy of your time and attention. I didn’t select them for this reason, but it occurs to me that they each say something interesting and distinct about what it means to make American music right now.

A Drone Too Long

Isaac Schankler

I can’t remember exactly when I first became interested in musical drones. It was like a switch—one day I didn’t get it, the next I couldn’t get enough of it. The trouble comes when I try to integrate or incorporate this music into my usual modes of listening or composing.

Rhythm and Restlessness

Isaac Schankler

Between sparse ambience and dense texture are the rhythms we can typically make sense of, and this is the territory that most music explores. But I’m sometimes sympathetic to the modernist mission, the manifest destiny that wants to find new lands. What is the furthest we can go, in either direction, without entering completely inhospitable terrain?