Author Archives: Isaac Schankler

Derivative Works

Almost everyone I know second-guesses themselves when creating something that references the work of the recent past. It’s true that this often doesn’t stop people from creating, but it does often affect what we can do with those works once they’re created.

Polystylism in Pop

One of the common complaints about current pop music is that it’s all hopelessly retro, and that we haven’t seen anything genuinely new in about 20 years. Pop music is eating its own tail. The irony is that this kind of self-aware self-referentiality is exactly what was prized and heralded as a savior of concert music a few years ago.

Mutually Exclusive

Practically everyone in new music feels like the victim of some kind of persecution, often while being completely oblivious to the persecutions they themselves are perpetrating.

My First Negative Review

Last week I was the recipient of my first negative review! I was surprised at how angry and upset I was when I first read it, and how long it took me to calm down about it. In short, as much as I thought I was prepared for this inevitable moment, I wasn’t.

Context Matters

By subtracting a great deal of expected context, New Lens Concerts ask us to invent our own, inviting us to let go of our preconceived notions about composers new and old, or so the theory goes.

A Critical Gap

After the deluge of new music concerts over the past few weeks, the dearth of dedicated new music critics in Los Angeles has felt particularly frustrating.

Yo Dawg, I Heard You Like Brooklyn

This has been a dense couple of weeks for new music concerts in Los Angeles. A coincidence of timing (or is it?) means that LA Phil’s Brooklyn Festival overlaps with two Southern California-themed festivals, Hear Now and The LA Composers Project.

Classical Pantomime

Notions of what’s authentic in music have changed in recent years, and it’s difficult, maybe impossible, to pinpoint when exactly this shift occurred.

Artful Deception

Sometimes I like to think of musicians as stage magicians. There is a kind of artful deception that’s a part of performance, but it’s rarely acknowledged and often downplayed, especially in the concert music world.