At 87, Samuel Adler remains steadfast in his determination to preserve and build upon the Western classical tradition–as the composer of six symphonies, five operas, a dozen concertos, tons of sonatas, and ten string quartets (eight of which he still acknowledges), as well as a teacher for 63 years and the author of definitive tomes on orchestration, choral conducting, and sight singing.
Although his chosen means of expression is music, Jerome Kitzke describes himself as a storyteller. Kitzke’s musical stories have frequently dealt with the plight of Native Americans and other examples of social injustice. If his music inspires people to explore some of these issues on their own he considers himself successful.
Composer, conductor, and Trinity Church music director Julian Wachner believes that all music is meant to induce a transformative experience upon the listener and believes that changing listeners’ lives through music is a “moral responsibility of the compositional craft and the performative craft as well.”
For Daron Hagen, working on an opera is so immersive that his life can be fairly neatly divided into chapters corresponding to each of the operas he has written. Nowadays, even though he is principally concerned with being a father, opera continues to inspire him, in part because he sees parallels between writing opera and parenting.
Paul Dresher has done work in at least three distinct musical streams with equal vigor and equally significant results. But whether he’s creating a fully notated piece of post-minimalist chamber music, a poly-stylistic score for an intense musical theater work, or an idiosyncratic experiment for one-of-a kind instruments of his own design, he’s always operating with the same basic assumptions about his audience.
Composer, improviser, and pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn came up playing country and western music, but her ear eventually led her down a decidedly more singular experimental path. “You’ve got be naked in your mind to be able to play and express yourself—you have to be naked and fearless and that’s not easy, especially the older you get.”