Putting Away Childish Things

Only works that a composer explicitly wanted published should be published. Obviously, the reality is rarely that simple. In some cases, though, it should be. Samuel Barber had over 50 years during which to consider whether he wanted his early pieces published. He did not choose to do so, and I believe strongly that those wishes need to be respected.

Setting Cold Spring in Motion

At its core, Sean Griffin’s intermedia opera Cold Spring is an attempt to bring museums and archives together with performing institutions and local artists for mutual self-reflection and appreciation of each other as cultural thinkers. The work initiates and empowers an active interpretation of our lives as they relate to science and our notion of what constitutes meaningful progress.

The Musical Interconnectivity of Man and Beast

If we follow the lead of Cage, whose final definition of music is “sounds heard,” it seems that one could infer that music is not merely a human creation or experience; sounds—all sounds, any sounds—created by humans and non-humans alike, exhibit a kind of music.

Translating Innova: The New Opera Work of Object Collection

There are no typical divas in Object Collection’s operas, no heroines or heroes in the traditional sense. This is opera that, while distinguishing itself as such, takes into account the cross-pollination of media and art forms following the radical aesthetic transformations that began over half a century ago.

Nuclear Introspection: A Cantata for Contemplation

In a year or two, the world’s attention will have moved away from the urgent questions raised by Fukushima. Therefore I feel that far from showing disrespect, the nature of this cantata and the spirit in which it was created make it a powerful means to show and magnify precisely the deep respect and attention we need at this moment.

The Art World That Isn’t (And the Music World That Is)

If today’s art world truly resembled today’s musical world, “popular art” would be a thriving multi-billion dollar industry, but there’d also be “classical art” exhibited in small, subsidized museums catering to the rarefied tastes of a small minority of connoisseurs who believed strongly in the intrinsic superiority of long-dead artists, and “contemporary high-art” populated by un-popular living artists.

Making 2011 the Year of the Composer

On February 17, 2011, Governor Peter Shumlin declared this the Year of the Composer in Vermont; what had happened in 30-plus years to bring Vermont from artistic backwater to being the first state to declare its commitment to new music?

A Journey to Aaron Cassidy’s Second String Quartet

As Cassidy talked me through the many stages of planning, sketching, and composing the quartet, it occurred to me that each step was carefully designed to advance the music’s richness without, first, sacrificing the structural propositions of the previous step and, second, requiring him to resort to the limitations of his human imagination.

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