New Music Is Not (Necessarily) Contemporary Music


New Music is at its core an artistic project based on critique: this is its link to modernity—what fundamentally defines its nature. It questions past, dysfunctional normative models as a means to generate newer, more appropriate aesthetic fields through which another future may be built.

Music Publishers Association Announces 2016 Paul Revere Awards

A display of the 2016 Paul Revere Award winning scores

The 2016 Paul Revere Awards for Graphic Excellence were announced during the luncheon of the annual meeting of the Music Publishers Association at the Redbury Hotel in New York City on Friday, June 10. Among the award-winning publications were scores by Steven Mackey, William Kraft, John Harbison, Augusta Read Thomas, and Daniel Dorff.

Structural and Playback Issues in Current Electroacoustic Music

A table with a variety of electroacoustic music gear. Image courtesy Blake Zidell & Associates for NYCEMF and the New York Philharmonic Biennial)

I’ve composed works using electroacoustic technologies since 1963, and I want to share with you over the next several weeks some of my thoughts about the current state of the medium. Since I am trained as a Western classical composer, my comments will be from that perspective. 1. Structural Issues in Current Electroacoustic Music The […]

New Music: A Product of Modernity (and Capitalism)


As long as music is supplied in exchange for economic capital, musicians participate in the logic of capitalism. The question is whether this is perceived as an issue that needs to be addressed or, on the contrary, if it is an inevitable consequence that cannot be tackled through the music itself.

Cultivating a Sense of Belonging: Our Debate over Electroacoustic Music Terminology

A table with a variety of electroacoustic music gear. Image courtesy Blake Zidell & Associates for NYCEMF and the New York Philharmonic Biennial)

I most often still catch myself calling it electronic music, even as that term has been appropriated by popular music. But I find the term electroacoustic music works best. It distinguishes what we do from “other” music, while attempting to encompass many modes of production and performance. The term has also come into wide and less controversial usage over the past twenty years (though not without some continued confusion).

Mary Ellen Childs: Engaging All the Senses

Mary Ellen Childs

While the music of Mary Ellen Childs has a distinctive and recognizable sound, she has long been interested in engaging the other senses as well–whether it’s presenting live music for string quartet along with an immersive video projection, creating extremely tactile percussion works that are as much about choreography as they are about rhythm, or finding ways to merge listening and olfactory perception.

The Rush of Performing vs. Merely Being a Witness

Close up of a concert poster for the 10-piece ensemble live concert of Gretta Harley's Elenet 115 on a pole with other concert posters.

I get a rush when I perform, especially premiering a new piece in front of an audience, or when the musicians that I’m playing with sound exceptionally good—when we are all gelling, the stars align and we’re breathing together, and that exact moment is the only moment and it is perfect. It’s a different feeling than when I’m in the audience, listening to others play the music I write down on paper. My heart races. Time slows down and I hold my breath. I am merely a witness to the music.

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