In a world that increasingly relies on the economy of free, it’s important to establish that some things aren’t free, and in fact have an actual dollar value associated with them. I sincerely believe that we, as a society, can’t claim to value something—be it an object, a service, or our culture in general—if we refuse to ascribe an actual price to it or to some part of it.
It is my hope that no one—especially young musicians—should ever face the shame and the self-questioning that poverty could force on them. Music, and more importantly access to music and music education, is vital to all communities.
I believe that artists, more so than scientists or the religious, carry the seeds of miracle works inside them. And I believe we are seriously underperforming.
Despite an engineer or producer’s best attempts, a new work cannot pass transparently through a DAW; there are always stopgaps, enhancements, deletions, and tweaks being exerted that, I think, fundamentally color the recorded piece as separate from the composer’s instruction and the performer’s execution. This begs the question of how best to characterize the DAW’s everyday impact on our musical world.
The milieu of new music has splintered into factions, each with its own loyal but marginal audience. All of these groups believe that they have meaningful formulas for creating provocative work, but what good is that work if no one outside the communities where it is generated has access to it?
Conductor Susanna Malkki leading the Chicago Symphony felt like a massively successful non-event. A woman was on the podium, and everything seemed to be in order. But while Malkki is unquestionably a master, she is also, statistically, a unicorn.
I appreciated the rigor and austerity of Stockhausen’s Hymnen and Mantra and some of the Columbia Princeton recordings as a high school senior, but it was Subotnick’s Touch and Sidewinder that provided aesthetic enjoyment. The music was alive, organic in its flowing movement, and—particularly appealing to me—playful.
If you follow the American Composers Orchestra and you stay on top of your composer opportunities, you might have noticed ACO’s most recent Earshot post on Facebook: readings for emerging African-American composers. I was surprised to see some comments that weren’t so positive–comments that reflect some dangerous thinking.
Congratulations! You have made it to the end of Education Week at NewMusicBox. And, as with any educational rite of passage, for your time, trouble, and effort, you deserve that privilege of scholars everywhere: a commencement and the singing of an alma mater.
In the past several years, the San Francisco new music community has been energized by a wave of performers emerging from SFCM who are deeply, and in some cases exclusively, committed to the creation of new work, supported by a tightly knit network of composer peers and mentors.