We in Western culture have a habit of reflexively using “original” as a synonym for “good,” especially in music. I’m going to argue that originality is not actually a virtue, but rather, that freshness is. The concepts are related, but not identical.
Over nearly half a century, Ezra Laderman found a home in the academic world, then in government service at the NEA, then back to teach and administer at Yale. Through all those changes, he continued to compose on a regular schedule, turning out a stream of superbly crafted works, no matter his other duties’ demands. What a role-model!
The San Francisco Tape Music Center’s 1964 Tudorfest was more than what you could read in the reviews. It was more than its success. It was a scramble, a stretch, a compromise—the usual behind-the-scenes madness.
It is the history of music, forever communicating—what, exactly? But forever communicating, nonetheless, even as the message gets hopelessly lost in the translation to music. And it’s not a bug; it’s a feature.
I make sample-based music because I feel like it’s more worthwhile to identify existing sounds that have been overlooked, to bring them to fresh ears, and to give them fresh meaning in new contexts.
Last week’s gathering of the American Choral Directors Association in Salt Lake City, Utah was one of the largest national music conventions ever held in the United States. Thanks to a newly added composer track at this biennial conference and a greater emphasis on new music, there were also tons of composers and new music aficionados there.
I went to graduate school to study the sounds of burning pianos and squeaky rubber dolls and trash can lids. This music made people think; this music provoked discussions, This music was gutsy and political and sometimes it even required us to reconsider our definition of music.
The American Academy of Arts and Letters has announced the sixteen recipients of the 2015 awards in music, which total $205,000. The recipients will be honored at the Academy’s annual Ceremonial in May.
Caroline Shaw’s compositions are central to her musical identity and, in recent years, she has been venturing far beyond works that she has created for her own performance.
The power of making music is found in the accretion of work and thought we put in over a lifetime, not single moments of inspiration.