Viewpoint

Judged By Its Cover

Batman: comic sans

An album of music begins at track one, but you start setting the scene long before this. Most musicians have some sort of a plan in mind for their next album. That plan should already include the cover. In this article, I’ll tell you why it matters and how to avoid screwing it up.

I’m a Trans Composer. What the Hell Does That Mean?

In the last few months, there have been a number of highly circulated articles about women and contemporary classical music. Reading all these articles got me thinking about the role that gender plays in my own musical life. So here are some thoughts on what it’s like to be a composer on the trans-female spectrum in the early 21st century.

Acknowledging the Rhino: Talking Art In a Capitalist World

With my antennae more or less permanently oriented toward music and the arts, the defining mood of this year’s commencement season has been realism. This is a year in which, it seems, society is determined not to let students of the arts out into the world without making sure they’re painfully aware of what awaits them.

My Bill Evans Problem–Jaded Visions of Jazz and Race

Throughout my life, it had been drilled into me that jazz was created by blacks and represented the apex of African-American musical civilization. Against that historical backdrop, I also practiced a form of racial profiling of musicians. To like a “white sound,” or worse, a white musician who “sounded black,” was cultural treason. But jazz at the beginning of the 21st century is appropriately black, brown, and beige.

Ageism in Composer Opportunities

Discrimination against someone of the “wrong” color, ethnicity, sex, or sexual orientation is generally frowned upon in modern society. But progress is still needed in the area of discrimination on the basis of a person’s age and ageism is very much alive in the emerging composer arena. In short, once you get to a certain age, you’re considered too old to tango.

What’s The Matter With Being Academic?

We all know what is meant when the accusation of academicism is lobbed: that person (or their line of thinking) is cloistered, out of touch, has little bearing on the real world. But really, there is no “real world” and no “general public.” They are ghosts we chase or sticks with which we composers use to beat ourselves up.

There’s Something About Charlie

In presenting the four numbered symphonies by Ives during the course of one concert, the Detroit Symphony is taking listeners on a journey unlike any other in music. It is a serious examination of how American music evolved and how one composer brought that about.

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