Charlie Haden (1937-2014)—One of the Greatest

Charlie Haden and Carla Bley

Death sucks, not for the person who dies—it’s mostly a rational solution—but for the people who live on with the absence of a favorite living, breathing creature. There is a creepy scrawled note on my desk with “call Charlie” crossed off. For the past few years, we had been talking about making another Liberation Music Orchestra album.

Sounds Heard: Dan Becker—Fade

Dan Becker—Fade

This selection of chamber works composed between 1993 and 2008 suggest that Becker has an “on/off” switch resulting in either intensely energetic music, or in work of concentrated repose. There isn’t a lot in-between, but clearly such extremes suit the composer.

Why “Don’t Play for Free” Is Not Enough

Just say no to “pass the hat” gigs.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this over the last two weeks because I felt that this was an unrealistic route to change. Here are some reasons why I think that the statement isn’t sufficient to address the problem of unpaid gigs.

What Lies Ahead For Teenage Composers?

Paris Lavidis playing during a Face the Music concert at the David Rubinstein Atrium.

I believe that this merry band of students has the power to change the music world as we know it, but I fear the “bump” when they leave this environment and explore college options. Will the post-secondary world continue to foster their leadership potential? How will these “over-educated” young composers approach the college experience?

The Dangers of Secondhand Music

SecondHandMusic

There’s a lot of blame to spread around for our music appreciation downgrade, but I think there’s a single phenomenon that’s working harder than all the others: the constant bombardment of music functioning as an aspect of an environment.

Sounds Heard: Adam Berenson—Lumen

Berenson--Lumen

The more you listen to Lumen, an extremely expansive two-CD set culled from twenty years of recordings of music by Philadelphia-area composer/pianist Adam Berenson, the less aware you are of whether the music was composed a priori or improvised on the spot.

Remembering Seymour Barab (1921-2014): Composer, Cellist, Friend

Seymour Barab playing the cello

I probably met Seymour in New York City sometime in the mid 1940s. Even then, Seymour made quite an impression as he walked into a room—a large, cheerful man swinging his cello at the end of his arm. As a musician, Seymour was remarkable to work with. Seymour could articulate and explain the structural intent of a given piece of music, and his playing was void of vanity.

School’s Not Out for Summer

Face the Music

What is the best option for a student who has received a solid and complete education, academically and musically, through their pre-college years? Is there anything that will really fit the bill, or will these young students stimulate a new approach to compositional study on the college/conservatory level?

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