For composer Andrew Norman, the process of composing feels like a tug-of-war between opposing forces. From start to finish, he is constantly questioning, and pushing back on his own ideas in his efforts to create meaningful musical experiences for performers and for audiences. He revels in the visceral experiences of music making, and thoughtfully challenges performers to bring their own ideas to the interpretation of his music.
Though lip service (if not actual airtime) is given to a whole host of musical traditions from Tejano to bluegrass to opera, Album of the Year and Record of the Year (for a single) are still the most important Grammy awards and are inevitably given to commercial popular music, making all the other awards somehow feel like consolation prizes.
I believe Dr. Reed was capable of holding at least a 15-minute conversation with just about any English-speaking person, regardless of that individual’s background, education, occupation, etc., at the end of which the other person quite likely would be thinking: “What a nice guy he is!” But I also learned from him that there are times and contexts when it’s appropriate to discuss almost any topic, and other times and contexts when it is completely inappropriate to discuss almost anything.
Boston Modern Orchestra Project never seems to run out of juice. It fills a need. It mounts concerts that manage to be both one-stop shopping for the merely curious and essential for professionals. The “modern” in the name has always been as much stylistic as calendrical, but its concert at Jordan Hall on January 17 was aggressively new: three world premieres in wildly disparate styles.
What I love about the concept of “sometimes music” is that it sidesteps the thorny, problematic, and anachronistic implication that some musical styles are more advanced than others. It allows its advocates to encourage others to tune in, rather than to engage in tedious, insulting dialogues about which kind of music is up or down.
“Come, then, into the music room,” she said, and I followed her into an apartment finished, without hangings, in wood, with a floor of polished wood. I was prepared for new devices in musical instruments, but I saw nothing in the room which by any stretch of imagination could be conceived as such. It was […]
Discussions of cultural appropriation often frame the problem in one of two ways: in terms of cultural property or in terms of what composers are “allowed” to do. Both of these approaches tend to result in the conversation getting sidetracked. Another way of framing things would be to say: music is a kind of social interaction. Denying the social aspect of music-making doesn’t make it stop happening; it just means that when it does happen, you don’t see it.