Posts in Blogs
How one discovers what material will work in a particular piece and the decision-making process by which the end result is created are two important aspects of the creative process that define and differentiate each composer from his or her colleagues.
Finished products are great, but if we living composers have anything to offer that dead dudes like Beethoven cannot, surely it’s the creative process itself. Why can’t workshopping a new composition be an important community event?
Musical performance is an inherently theatrical experience. Like all performance art, its paradigms evolved from the religious ritual and community meetings that were conducted publicly on the edge of towns where people gathered, at the crossroads. Part of the enjoyment we take in live renditions of our favorite music derives from the rituals surrounding these shows.
According to Adrian Hamilton, the emerging visual artists are more concerned with “craft and their ambitions to become professional” than with “being revolutionary.” I’ve heard the exact same comment made about many millennial composers. But such assertions are difficult to corroborate since determining whether something is “revolutionary” or “reactionary” at this juncture is as subjective an undertaking as determining whether something is “beautiful.”
Drummer Pete “La Roca” Sims, a man who exemplified a philosophy of music that ran counter to the corporate culture that established and disseminated jazz as America’s music, lost his battle with lung cancer at the age of 74 on Monday, November 19. Best known as the original drummer in the John Coltrane Quartet, Sims later also played an important role in jazz history as a lawyer, assisting attorney Paul Chevigny in changing New York City’s oppressive cabaret laws in the 1980s.
We should be celebrating Michel van der Aa’s Grawemeyer win—a massive achievement—but we can use that celebration to reevaluate our own place in the world as well. If we’re really going to think about why the Grawemeyer does not have much recognition outside of the new music community, there are several questions that need to be raised.
A lot of ground has been covered in Part 1 and Part 2 of this little series on working with an orchestra. Here are a few final points, based largely on questions people have asked about the process and timeline of this composition for the Seattle Symphony.
Yesterday, a colleague posed the following question to a group of composers: “How important do you feel analysis of your work is for its performance?” As someone who has given this issue a great deal of thought, I was happy to weigh in with my opinions; I’m hoping NewMusicBox readers might have different takes on this issue and will share their thoughts in the comments.
The Grawemeyer has yet to be as widely an acknowledged accolade—even among new music aficionados—as other honors like the annual Pulitzer Prize. Did your morning newspaper (those of you who still read such things) run a story on the Grawemeyer Award this morning?
Last week I attempted to fill the ears of an international guest with live new American music almost every night in as many formats as possible given the limited time of his visit. On his docket were performances by a chorus, a jazz quartet, indie rock bands, and several different chamber groups.