When I looked through the Metropolitan Opera’s 2014-15 brochure, I was saddened by their lack of other contemporary repertoire. Then I flipped through the pages of the new issue of OPERA America’s magazine and experienced something very different. Pages full of contemporary opera, American and otherwise. Quite a study in contrasts.
New Music USA has awarded 57 projects in its second round of New Music USA project grants. We received 1,174 project requests this round. Those numbers are humbling, but also inspiring; these submissions only capture a glimpse of the overwhelming creativity resonating throughout the United States today.
The product of a collaboration between composer/guitarist George Heathco and soprano/lyricist Misha Penton, Ravens and Radishes is a song cycle for guitar, cello, and voice that takes inspiration from classic fairy tales and, unlike the recent film Maleficent, recasts them in a new and interesting light instead of, say, ruining them.
Pablo Ziegler, who has been the de facto source for the interpretation of Piazzolla’s music for over twenty years, is an important composer of nuevo tango in his own right. Now based in Brooklyn (though he’s constantly traveling to perform all over the planet), Ziegler has a particularly strong affinity for improvisation and loves to mix tango and jazz.
Paul D. Miller (a.k.a. D.J. Spooky, That Subliminal Kid) is among 14 recipients of the National Geographic Society’s 2014 Emerging Explorer Awards. The only composer among this group of awardees (who will each receive a $10,000 award to aid further research and exploration), Miller was chosen because his work raises awareness about climate change, sustainability, global culture, and the role of technology in society.