Mary Jane Leach: Sonic Confessions


For decades Mary Jane Leach has been composing music that explores and exploits various psychoacoustic “ghost” sounds such as beat tones and combination tones. As a result, she has created numerous works for multiples of the same instrument or voice. She is also drawn to physical spaces where such sonic phenomena are at their most pronounced, such as churches, which is why she lives in one.

Composers, Performers, and Consent

Jessica Aszodi

If we want our collaborations to be satisfying for everyone involved, we need to come up with ways of working together that explicitly address two related questions:  what is each of us willing to do, and what does each of us want to do?

Complicity and the Chemical Senses

Blindfolded patrons sit around a table and eat various food items, smell perfume, and listen to music.

The visual arts and the sonic arts arrive to us from a distance, via electromagnetic radiation or fluctuations in air pressure, but taste and smell require direct contact. Philosophers have long debated whether the fundamentally different nature of these chemical senses precludes the elaboration of an art of ideas based on them, something that goes beyond the ancient and sophisticated traditions of perfumery or cuisine.

James Moore: The Hunt for Sonic Solutions

James Moore

With three guitars, fifteen balloons, a talking doll, and a serious commitment, composer and guitarist James Moore recorded John Zorn’s The Book of Heads, a challenging collection of 35 etudes now available on a CD/DVD set from Tzadik.

Vinfonies, Nessun Dorma, and Gastromorphology

A bottle of wine and a wine glass on a tale alongside an electronic keyboard, music notation paper, headphones, and a computer screen.

It’s easy to recognize several time scales to a meal, from the succession of courses (even simply saving dessert for last) to the entropy that occurs as a hot dish cools or a frozen dish melts to the succession of individual bites. Recognizing these time scales is straightforward, but synchronizing music to them is a much trickier proposition.

Music Inspired by Visual Art

A musical score in front of a framed artwork showing a landscape scene of a mountain surrounded by water.

A distinction needs to be made between music that uses a work of visual art as a source of inspiration and music that has been envisioned expressly for the purpose of illuminating, commenting upon, and conversing with visual art—music where viewing the art while listening to the music is, in some sense, essential to the full realization of the composer’s vision.

2015 Koussevitzky Commissions Announced

Drawing of Serge Koussevitsky, which is the official logo of the Koussevitsky Foundation

The Foundation has announced that it will award a total of five commissions for the creation of new musical works. The commissions, awarded to both American and international composers, are granted jointly by the foundation and the performing organizations (also both American and international) that will present performances of the newly composed works.

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