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.

Sounds Heard: Dennis Johnson–November

Now, more than 50 years after November’s premiere and with a reconstructed score by Kyle Gann, the composition has finally been recorded in its entirety by pianist R. Andrew Lee and released as a 4-CD set and digital download by Irritable Hedgehog.

Who Owns a Musical Idea?

Should Cobra be considered a composition in the classical sense, or is it something different? And if it’s something different, what rules of ownership should apply to it?

Competition and Community

New music culture’s inability to conceive of an opportunity as anything but a competition is a big problem. We need to create more opportunities for young composers that aren’t structured this way, but can we even imagine them?

Two Lou Harrisons

What kind of a composer would Harrison have been if he had never left New York? This is an absurd hypothetical question by any measure. But I also wonder what kind of creativity the current climate of careerism is killing.