Scientific research shows that listening to music is an activity that fosters cohesion and synchronicity in brain function, which is very good for social messaging across large numbers of people who are listening at the same time, whether or not they’re listening to the same thing. I believe the research also shows that improvising music requires a similar mode of cognition, allowing for a kind of “disembodied cognition,” as one researcher calls it.
After four decades, Kronos is still a new music group that takes its citizenship in the new music community seriously: show me another ensemble that has given more composers both the opportunity and the benefit of a meticulous, passionate performance. The music they cultivate might be geared to what they do well, but what they do well, they do better than anyone.
Charles Ives, George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, and John Corigliano have all used music to promote social commentary, but these are all individuals who use their talents to create great music and see it performed. To the Great American Culture Machine, music is still mainly seen as a pastime marketed primarily to sexually frustrated adolescents with enough money to buy new product.
Sometimes we need to set aside the training that can shackle us to what can or should be done and instead to tap into the sense of “play” that comes so naturally to us when we’re young and have no concept of boundaries or rules or expectations. One of the biggest challenges along these lines is that many of us don’t recognize when we’ve stopped “playing,” especially after so many years of accruing the necessary tools to perform/create at a high level.
Rosner was one of the true maverick composers of his generation. His music was predicated on the modal polyphony of the Renaissance and early Baroque, as well as on the pre-tonal harmony of late Medieval dance music, and the free triadicism and rhythmic phraseology of that music underlay his entire output, regardless of how far from those sources he ventured.
Ten x Ten: 2013 is a collaborative venture between ten Chicago visual artists and ten composers. Working in pairs, they crafted joint “statements of intent” and created pieces of music and art which speak to each other. Andrew Tham and Edie Fake speak here about their journey from collaborative “blind date” to finished piece.