When we elevate a certain kind of craft and its formal concerns above all else, this kind of gatekeeping doesn’t just hurt young composers, it also shuts out other potential voices, marginalized voices, voices that could bring new life to new music. It is completely inimical to the spirit of creativity that should animate and drive us.
Whether Cage originally meant it in this way or not, 4’33” is an open invitation to critically engage with silence as a renewable pedagogical act. Andy Costello explores stories of silence—both inside and beyond the traditional classroom—that have little to say and plenty to teach.
If you happen upon an offensive or meaningless piece of visual art, you can just walk away. A live performance, on the other hand, holds you hostage. What responsibilities does this place on the presenter?
Online projects are meant to open up new forms of musical participation to people who would normally take part only as audience members. But they also bring up important issues regarding access, representation, and inclusion. Who ends up participating, and what does their participation mean?
Entrepreneurialism is celebrated by many in the arts scene, but the reality is less sunny than the image often projected by consultants and administrators. Because it valorizes flexibility, opportunism, and social relationships, entrepreneurialism demands constant work. When every moment has potential meaning, it can be hard to relax.
The first half of the 20th century saw the demise of the great operatic heroine and out of the fracture arose a focus on male roles, ensemble casts, and female roles singing in a completely new way. And as opera became a more racially integrated affair, new disconnects emerged while similarly allowing for new audiences to see their bodies presented as operatic vehicles.
Essential to the construction of community is the creation of a shared history: a rhetoric and a narrative about who the community is, and what its values are. And in order to create a new kind of community, Bang on a Can had to overplay its hand. Community had to be performed.
Sometimes radical new art needs an institutional network of support to be fully realized. Attributing Philip Glass’s success entirely to his creative iconoclasm ignores the substantial community of impresarios and patrons who have influenced his work and reception history.
The cultivation of community is fundamental to new music. Philip Glass’s first commissioned opera, Satyagraha, was the product of this collaborative ideal. But how does this communal ethos actually translate into music?
Steve Reich has been awarded the $100,000 Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition from the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University.