Spotlight

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.

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.”

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.

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.

Paul Rudy: Life Improvisations

Paul Rudy: Life Improvisations

Composer Paul Rudy takes to heart the idea that “nature’s wisdom follows the path of least resistance.” Active listening and intuition play vital roles not only in his composing process, but also in his work as an educator and performer.

Jamie Baum: Jazz Diplomacy

Jamie Baum

For flutist and composer Jamie Baum, the formula for what she calls a “complete musician” consists of three parts: performing, composing, and improvising. In her mind, these three activities combine in an organic way to create a rich, full musical life, and she does it all—and more—in spades.

Van-Anh Vanessa Vo: Old Sounds / New Music

Van-Anh Vanessa Vo

An award-winning traditional performer and educator in her native country of Vietnam, Vo has found a particular freedom in the myriad genres and styles of music that surround her here in America—an influence that has filtered into both her musical ideas and the instruments and techniques she uses to communicate them.

Kenneth Kirschner: Pirate This Music

Kenneth Kirschner. Photo by Molly Sheridan

When you visit Kenneth Kirschner’s über-minimalist single-page website, you get a clearer sense of how central the free distribution of his work is to him. No program notes are offered, no composer bio included. Just select a track and experience the music. “I think, being an experimental composer, it’s about encouraging a listener to take risks.”

Caleb Burhans: Inner Voices

As a singer and instrumentalist who has worked in at least a dozen different musical genres, Caleb Burhans has always been drawn to the inner voices preferring to, as he puts it, “play second violin or viola than first fiddle.” This attraction spills over into his own deceptively simple, extremely meticulous musical compositions.

Paula Matthusen: Attention to Light

By reveling in the small details and rough edges of her musical landscapes, composer Paula Matthusen creates musical environments that heighten perceptions of the ephemeral nature of sound, and ensures that surprises can be found at practically every turn.

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