Claiming Chaya Czernowin as an American composer is somewhat disingenuous. Although she currently resides in the United States where she is the Walter Bigelow Rosen Professor of Music at Harvard University and holds degrees from Bard College and the University of California, San Diego, the Haifa-born Czernowin has spent a great part of her life in many other places.
Coming to the USA from Serbia not only jump started Aleksandra Vrebalov’s compositional career early on, it also transformed her and led her to write deeply emotional music which, even though it clearly echoes the centuries-old traditions of her native land, she probably would not and could not have composed had she stayed there.
As a co-founder of the New Amsterdam record label and the NOW Ensemble, composer Judd Greenstein thinks deeply about the changes he wants to see in the field and dedicates his time and talents to putting them into action. He is by turns idealistic and pragmatic, motivated by a desire to challenge artists and audiences, but also to keep pace with economic and social developments. “The world that we as composers and performers were operating in expanded exponentially,” Greenstein explains. “Now the conversation is with everyone.”
Christopher Campbell, who released his Sound the All-Clear on a three-sided LP, contends that the process of listening to music on “long play records” allows for a more personal relationship with the music as well as more focused listening, despite the possible mechanical imperfections of the medium.
Tristan Perich’s 1-Bit Symphony stands quite eloquently in contrast to the 21st century’s love affair with the endlessly copyable digital file. While CDs have been traded for the instant gratification of the easily distributed MP3, Perich has shifted the frame and managed to make the fragile plastic jewel case once again worthy of shelf space.