It’s hard to imagine Roberto Sierra’s new guitar mini-concerto Folias not becoming one of the most popular pieces of new classical music: it’s tuneful, soloistically flashy and has some ethnic exoticism thrown in to boot. Hopefully it will be the piece that makes Roberto Sierra a name known outside circles of contemporary music aficionados. Perhaps […]

Talk Show Host

As a fiercely loyal Radiohead fan, I confess I have long been suspicious of Christopher O’Riley’s transcriptions of the band’s music. Surely it would sound like a lounge pianist working his way through a fake book? I considered the whole thing an affront to my hipster pride and, as usually happens in situations of this […]

One7 [From One13]

The title might look like some sort of algebra problem, but here’s the deal: Cage never finished One13, but evidence suggests that the piece was intended for solo cello with three prerecorded cellos composed entirely of single tones. Furthermore, it seems that each cello would play the same pitches for approximately the same duration, each […]

Parvum Organum

Donald Berman, pianoFor years I’ve been decrying Sony for not re-issuing the only collection of the complete music of Carl Ruggles (a 2-LP set I treasure which features performances by Michael Tilson Thomas and others). But now I find out that set is not complete after all! It turns out that although Ruggles only officially […]

The Yos

So far there haven’t been many successful connections between hip-hop and so-called “new music,” but composer Keith Obadike cites as his heroes both Nam June Paik and James Brown. Check this out: The Sour Thunder, described as an “internet opera” created by Keith and his wife Mendi Lewis Obadike, poet, media artist, and here, rapper. […]

Chanson Orientale

Peter Kairoff, pianoIf “classical” audiences absolutely must have the constant comfort of their Tchaikovsky, Chopin, and Saint-Saens, at the very least we might stir into their diets the sounds of the American composers who employed a similar vocabulary. Largely forgotten, the piano music of George Whitefield Chadwick (1854-1931) isn’t likely to ruffle any programs. His […]


The latest release from Philip Glass’s archival label Orange Mountain Music is his world music epic Orion which combines the sound of his own Philip Glass Ensemble with important traditional music innovators from around the world including some he has worked with in the past—Chicago-based Gambian kora master Foday Musa Suso, the experimental Brazilian ensemble […]


Though surely there are enough cellists in the world to avoid the necessity of it, recording technology means that if you want to play chamber music all by your lonesome, you can. Cellist Stephanie Winters gives it a whirl on her “solo” CD release Through the Storm. Though arguably less stylistically adventurous than that other […]


Before listening to this disc, Carei Thomas was completely unknown to me, although this sixty-year-old African American composer/pianist has been creating wild free improvisational music in the Twin Cities for over 30 years. Perhaps that’s because apart from a few self-produced homemade cassettes, his music only just started to appear on commercially released CDs. “Ibidem,” […]