Spotlight

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.

Elliot Cole: Hunger for the Opposite

It’s easy to get caught up in the role text and stories frequently play in Elliot Cole’s compositions, but the core of his inspiration turns out to trace more of a pendulum swing: insider vs. outsider, text-rooted vs. pure sound, composer vs. performer, a musician dipping his toes into a wealth of styles and methods along the way.

Beata Moon: Finding Her Own Voice

While Beata Moon eschews conforming to any particular compositional camp, generous melodicism and unusual metrical patterns have been a hallmark of her music since she veered away from her rigorous training as a concert pianist and began composing in her late 20s.

Nat Evans: Outward Bound

Over the past two years in cities throughout the U.S., groups of people have been gathering, digital music players in hand and headphones in place, to watch the sun rise or set. It must be an odd sight for anyone stumbling across these scenes—25 to 50 people all “plugged in,” intently facing in the direction of the sun. They are all listening to the same music by composer Nat Evans.

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