Blogs

Still B.A. After All These Years

A large clock displaying the time 5:32 in front of a building.

I’m staggering, this late December, to the end of my first semester in graduate school, pursuing a master’s degree in composition, but I am thrilled to report that my comrades in the department are just as worn out as I am. This counts as a win because I am 58, and they are younger than my own children.

Get Vulnerable

Matt Marks, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Lainie Fefferman, and David Smooke standing outside Peabody.

I’m hoping that the 2016 New Music Gathering can be a space where we can all shed the need to project individual strength and can take the time out of our shells to ask the questions and voice the concerns we might usually refrain from sharing.

Good Old-Fashioned Human-to-Human Connection on a Very Honest Level

People sitting across from each other in pairs in a room. In front a woman listening to music with an earbud that is emanating from a man's laptop.

When I heard that Daniel Felsenfeld, Lainie Fefferman, and Matt Marks were creating this conference, I wanted in even though I didn’t really like conferences–they make me think of barriers and give me the heebie jeebies. But take self-aggrandizement and/or alienation away, and you’re left with conversations and ideas being exchanged between people who simply want to create art and people who want to facilitate the making of that art.

Tempering My Friends Anxiety and Doubt

Lainie Fefferman, Matt Marks, Mary Kouyoumdjian, and Daniel Felsenfeld sitting together at a round table.

My first reaction was: “Yes! Hell yes! Let’s do it and let’s kick ass at it!” My second reaction was: “Matt, there is no goddamned way on Earth you could do something as complicated and high-stakes as starting a brand new music conference.” Enter my good friends Anxiety and Doubt. They set up shop and didn’t leave until after this whole thing was finished.

We Need More (On-Demand) Films of New Operas

Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick

Imagine the possible impact of a subscription streaming service that included a substantial library of contemporary operas. How might such a service expand audiences for new opera? Further the artistic development of the field?

The Gathering Storm: How We Made a Conference

Claire Chase, Lainie Fefferman, Daniel Felsenfeld, Mary Kouyoumdjian, and Matt Marks standing together in an empty room.

It began, as so many things do, with a moment of discourse on social media, a Facebook thread that got—as these things tend to do—heated on a topic I cannot recall. I messaged Matt Marks privately—the modern equivalent of repairing to the hotel bar for the sanity of a quiet drink—and said, simply, that we needed an actual space where these things could be talked about

Complicity and the Chemical Senses

Blindfolded patrons sit around a table and eat various food items, smell perfume, and listen to music.

The visual arts and the sonic arts arrive to us from a distance, via electromagnetic radiation or fluctuations in air pressure, but taste and smell require direct contact. Philosophers have long debated whether the fundamentally different nature of these chemical senses precludes the elaboration of an art of ideas based on them, something that goes beyond the ancient and sophisticated traditions of perfumery or cuisine.

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