Spotlight

Aleksandra Vrebalov: Finding Your Roots by Replanting Them

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.

Judd Greenstein—A World of Difference

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.”

Oscar Bettison: Outsider Sounds

Upon first listen to composer Oscar Bettison’s music, most striking are the strangely disconcerting yet beguiling sound worlds that are created with relatively standard instrumental forces.

Christopher Campbell: For The Record

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.

Lei Liang—Taking Sound to the Extreme

Following in the footsteps of composers such as Tan Dun, Chen Yi, Bright Sheng and Chou Wen-chung, composer Lei Liang was able to learn a great deal through their example, but he has also felt a particular need to make his own way and develop a voice uniquely his own.

Mary Halvorson: Saturn Sings

The upcoming release of Saturn Sings (Firehouse 12 Records) featuring the Mary Halvorson Quintet, is very much an outgrowth of Halvorson’s exploratory spirit.

Tristan Perich: Getting to the Essence of the Sound

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.

Ben Hackbarth—Worlds That Are Whole

Ben Hackbarth, a product of UC San Diego now working at IRCAM in Paris, is a composer dealing with acoustically and electronically generated phenomena while seeking out meaningful artistic experiences in new territories.

Duane Pitre—Discipline and Freedom

Pitre writes music that just sounds good. The tuning schemes he uses are not the ends themselves; rather, they serve to further open up the acoustic worlds that can be elicited from the instruments, creating a rich, meditative space for listening.