Spotlight

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.

D. J. Sparr: Playing Well With Others

Composer and electric guitarist D. J. Sparr draws energy and inspiration from interacting with other musicians. “That’s why I compose,” he says, “to get to the point where I can be actively working with other musicians.” A full schedule of composition commissions, performances of his own music and that of other composers, and educational residencies ensures that he gets his fill of that vitality.

Troy Herion: Sonic Imaging

Troy Herion’s interest in making movies grew directly out of making music. It was a way to further extend the possibilities of what music can be. And in works like Baroque Suite and New York: A City Symphony, Herion has fused visual and sonic elements together so symbiotically that it is difficult to imagine them independent of one another.

Marcos Balter: Hyperactive Unity

There is an arresting, high-voltage energy that often infuses presentations of Marcos Balter’s music, and an obvious fascination on the part of the composer with exploring new sonic possibilities while keeping the human element—the living, breathing performer—center stage.

Katherine Young: Notes of Collaboration

Composer, improviser, and bassoonist Katherine Young is at home in a variety of musical communities: from the DIY band scene in Brooklyn to the improvised music scene in Chicago to the academic composition department at Northwestern where she now studies.

Matthew Burtner: Engaging the Natural World

The music of composer Matthew Burtner is in large part inspired by his childhood experiences of the Alaskan landscape where he grew up. That influence applies not only to the content of the music, but to the way it is created.

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