Last week it was finally time to hear my very first piece for wind ensemble premiered at Virginia’s Shenandoah Conservatory, the first of many milestones on my outsider’s journey into the Wide World of Winds.
Zhou Long Awarded 2012-13 Stoeger Prize
Zhou Long has been awarded the 2012-13 Elise L. Stoeger Prize for composers by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The Stoeger Prize is a $25,000 cash award given every two years in recognition of significant contributions to the field of chamber music composition rather than for a specific work.
A Critical Gap
After the deluge of new music concerts over the past few weeks, the dearth of dedicated new music critics in Los Angeles has felt particularly frustrating.
Arlene Sierra: The Evolution of Process
The music of composer Arlene Sierra is significantly focused on creative forms of process. Whether structures from the natural world such as beehives or flocks of birds, or human-made maps of war game strategy, sturdy foundations ground the musical content of her works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, chorus, and opera.
Sounds Heard: Shelter—Gordon/Lang/Wolfe
Shelter, composed by Bang on a Can founders Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe, is a seven-movement evening-length oratorio sung for this recording with crystalline precision by vocalists Martha Cluver, Mellissa Hughes, and Caroline Shaw (yes, that Caroline Shaw) alongside Ensemble Signal (Brad Lubman, conductor).
Making Something Work vs. Doing Whatever You Want
The current working model for orchestras does not allow musicians to spend a great deal of time on anything, and the accepted wisdom for getting music in front of an orchestra—and getting the players to do an effective job with it—is to streamline what you write: make it relatively easy to sight-read, avoid pitch and metrical things that are out of the ordinary, etc.
Working with Choreographers
Over the years I have discovered that working with choreographers and dancers is challenging not only from a technical standpoint, but also that the various limitations force me into artistic directions that I would have never explored otherwise. Now that I’m working with “emerging” composers, I try to ensure that they get those same opportunities during their studies.
Yo Dawg, I Heard You Like Brooklyn
This has been a dense couple of weeks for new music concerts in Los Angeles. A coincidence of timing (or is it?) means that LA Phil’s Brooklyn Festival overlaps with two Southern California-themed festivals, Hear Now and The LA Composers Project.