After having toiled in the fields of Golden Books, television, and commercials (my wife can still sing you her Prince Spaghetti TV jingle), Mary Rodgers’s first breakthrough work was Once Upon a Mattress. By the time I worked with her, she had pretty much pushed Mary the composer to the back burner. But there were several of us who didn’t think the composer should retire completely.
New Music USA has awarded 57 projects in its second round of New Music USA project grants. We received 1,174 project requests this round. Those numbers are humbling, but also inspiring; these submissions only capture a glimpse of the overwhelming creativity resonating throughout the United States today.
Paul D. Miller (a.k.a. D.J. Spooky, That Subliminal Kid) is among 14 recipients of the National Geographic Society’s 2014 Emerging Explorer Awards. The only composer among this group of awardees (who will each receive a $10,000 award to aid further research and exploration), Miller was chosen because his work raises awareness about climate change, sustainability, global culture, and the role of technology in society.
On paper, the June 17 concert presented by the Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice, part of the institute’s annual week of new music training, festivities, and shenanigans, made some piece-to-piece local connections but seemed more miscellaneous on a global scale. In performance, though, a theme kept peeking around the edges.
Jim’s own music exemplified human oddity. It certainly did not aspire to impress or even express; it revealed. He was way out there. But Jim didn’t just get washed up on these exotic shores for lack of ability to navigate the waters around the mainland. He chose to make music a rare and deep experience.