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.
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.
According to their violist, the Attacca Quartet’s decision to record the complete string quartet works of John Adams was one of the easiest they’ve ever made.
As a community of music colleagues, we have a problem—and we all share the responsibility to make it better. As it turns out, the research Sheryl Sandberg discusses in Lean In may help us.
While the Tubby the Tuba CD is certainly one tool when it comes to teaching kids about classical music, could it be that we’re underestimating children? When we assume they wouldn’t like or understand a challenging piece of music, we don’t even give them a chance.
Mode Records asked me to create a realization of Morton Feldman’s graphic orchestral piece Intersection I. This article follows the conception, execution, and destruction of my work.
Some sons go camping or on a fishing trip with their fathers when they know that time is winding down. I wanted to create a new musical work with my dad. At first he insisted he was too old to get involved. Just hours after my dad left the planet, I learned that Ansel Adams: America had received a Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Composition. This felt like my dad was winking at me, grinning and giving me a congratulatory hug from the other side.
One of the most important tools for a composer to develop is an intuition about material, about its possibilities for manipulation and development. But now that I’ve had enough practice turning off that intuition, I can see and hear how it’s not necessarily the material, or even the choice of material, that makes or breaks a piece of music.
I have regular contact with many older composers, and increasingly many younger ones, but apart from a few close composer friends from my student days I seem to have very few peers of my own generation. I was born in 1966 and that puts me in the era of “Generation X”.
A large-scale work for the bassoon by a well-known composer would not only be a giant step for the bassoon community, but it would also create a greater awareness of our instrument in the new music community.