Posts in Blogs
Going through my mother’s effects has been like traversing an emotionally charged landscape that unrolls to reveal a fascinating design of discovered and rediscovered possessions of a person I’ve known from the start of my life. The material that currently has my attention is vinyl.
My first introduction to Oklahoma was driving up I-35 in 2003 the day after a previous tornado had hit Moore. When I left, however, my impressions were not of windswept plains but of a surprisingly strong community of musicians and audiences who are open to performing and hearing new music.
A performer friend and I were recently daydreaming about new possibilities for music commissioning—of chamber music, in particular. What if commissioning music were more a part of everyday life?
The centerpiece of the concert I attended on Saturday night was Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, a piece of music that is performed almost every season by virtually every orchestra in the world. While I attended the concert because of a new work on the program, I have to admit that most of the people in the audience wanted to hear Tchaikovsky.
Though luckily there were no drug cartel-associated mass murders in Monterrey as their had been on the opening night of last year’s festival and again on the morning after the last performance, this year’s Encuentro Internacional de Jazz y Música Viva was framed by its own internal controversy that emerged from its saxophone competition.
Obviously there are some genres–jazz quickly comes to mind–in which specific musical creative events occur and are lost on a daily basis. We can’t keep everything, so it goes, but when it comes to our musical creations, this is how we as composers are going to be remembered.
I’m curious about composers recycling their work. As useful as repurposing material can be for stimulating ideas, has it become in some instances a shortcut by which we avoid the hard work of creating truly new material “out of thin air”?
Last week I was the recipient of my first negative review! I was surprised at how angry and upset I was when I first read it, and how long it took me to calm down about it. In short, as much as I thought I was prepared for this inevitable moment, I wasn’t.
The only way that any music created on our own soil will ever be able to compete with the standard repertoire—both in terms of audience devotion to it and the high level at which it is regularly performed—is for our own music to be programmed more frequently. Luckily that seems to be starting to happen!
Recently there have been several major shifts in “umbrella” organizations that oversee granting opportunities for composers, performers, and presenters both here in the United States and in the United Kingdom. I am hopeful that these changes in grantland will assist me and my colleagues in our music-making for years to come.