Profiles

Bora Yoon: The Weight of Magic

Bora Yoon. Photo by Leslie Van Stelten

Although composers are always constructing new sonic worlds, Bora Yoon is super-charging that idea through her multimedia and site-specific works. Her performances create immersive environments that, as she puts it, “transport people somewhere, and return them, hopefully changed from the experience.”

Miya Masaoka: Social and Sonic Relationships

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Whether she’s using a koto as an expressive vehicle for anything from jazz standards to electronic experimentation, writing idiosyncratic music for chorus and now orchestra, or creating music with plants and even insects crawling over her body, Miya Masaoka has been making us look and listen to the world around us in totally new ways for decades.

Dave Malloy: Singing for His Soul (Not His Supper)

Dave Malloy

Composer Dave Malloy took NYC musical theater by storm with his Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, but his path to Off-Broadway success began in San Francisco’s experimental theater community—and he’s holding on tightly to that non-traditional approach.

Aaron Parks: Make Me Believe a Melody

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Before his 18th birthday, Aaron Parks had released four CDs. After a five-year stint with Terence Blanchard and now 30, he participates in a wide array of musical endeavors, from his own polyglot material to guesting on an indie-rock album and collaborating with Korean-born vocalist Yeahwon Shin. In everything he does, he is fully present.

Juan Orrego-Salas: I’ve Written All I Have to Write

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Juan Orrego-Salas (b. 1919) is the last surviving member of a major group of mid-20th century American composers. He was a protégé of Aaron Copland, Randall Thompson, and Luigi Dallapiccola, and a personal friend of Irving Fine, Lukas Foss, and Pablo Neruda, among others. He also founded the Latin American Music Center. His is an important story in the annals of American music.

Joel Puckett: Real Life Inspiration

Joel Puckett

“Write what you know” is a commonly heard piece for advice for artists, but composer Joel Puckett has taken to heart a slightly different version of this sentiment, which could be stated, “Write what you live.”

Marc Neikrug: An Outlet for Emotional Experience

Marc Neikrug

Part of why Marc Neikrug’s compositions have attracted the attention of so many high-profile soloists is that for many years he was a member of that exclusive club himself—a concert pianist who performed standard repertoire with Pinchas Zukerman in most of the world’s major concert halls. Yet for that reason his music hasn’t always been immediately embraced by the new music community. But he’s perfectly O.K. with that.

Kamala Sankaram: Being One with the Performance

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Like many music makers of her generation, Kamala Sankaram creates and performs work which is an amalgamation of a wide range of musical traditions. But at the root of everything she does, there is usually a strong sense of narrative. Most recently, she took on the most vaunted form of “dramma per musica”—opera—with Thumbprint, which was one of the highlights of the 2014 Prototype Festival.

Andrew Norman: Empowering Performance

Andrew Norman: Empowering Performance

For composer Andrew Norman, the process of composing feels like a tug-of-war between opposing forces. From start to finish, he is constantly questioning, and pushing back on his own ideas in his efforts to create meaningful musical experiences for performers and for audiences. He revels in the visceral experiences of music making, and thoughtfully challenges performers to bring their own ideas to the interpretation of his music.

Eric Nathan: Making It as Clear as Possible

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While Eric Nathan doesn’t have a secret strategy for garnering so many compositional accolades (top awards from ASCAP, BMI, and SCI, the Rome Prize and a recent commission premiered at the ISCM World New Music Days), he is extremely pragmatic. But there’s also something of an element of whimsy as well as a deep love for visual art that fuels his creative process.

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