Nerd Composer

Photo of finger painted to look like a nerd ,with glasses etc.

Growing up, I was ashamed of being a nerd. This was pretty typical. At the time being labeled a nerd was considered about as bad as showing up to school in nothing but your underwear. Times have changed. It is now a badge to be worn proudly by all of us. We all finally grew up. And took over.

Listening to the Journey: Hypersensitive Hearing on the Trail

Sun on the Pacific Crest Trail

Since I started walking the Pacific Crest Trail seven weeks ago, I’ve undergone a number of physiological and mental changes. One of the biggest changes that has occurred, however, relates more specifically to working with sound and music as a composer—an alteration in my sense of hearing.

March: Virginia and the Dancers

Mary Page Evans's March Mountain #2

The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts sits on a hillside from which little is visible but trees. The setting fosters extended walks and quiet minds. The place itself almost disappears as your thoughts take the foreground. There is only you, and the work.

Readers Respond to Death of Klinghoffer Simulcast Cancellation

The Death of Klinghoffer

It came as no surprise that the cancellation of the scheduled simulcast of John Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer, slated for production at the Metropolitan Opera this fall, has inspired some very active comment section action. But have you heard the work yet? Let’s listen and chat.

Bora Yoon: The Weight of Magic

Bora Yoon. Photo by Leslie Van Stelten

Although composers are always constructing new sonic worlds, Bora Yoon is super-charging that idea through her multimedia and site-specific works. Her performances create immersive environments that, as she puts it, “transport people somewhere, and return them, hopefully changed from the experience.”

Metropolitan Opera Cancels Death of Klinghoffer Live HD Transmission

John Adams

The Live in HD transmission of The Death of Klinghoffer has been cancelled after concerns were raised that the Metropolitan Opera’s plans to transmit the opera might be used to fan global anti-Semitism. Adams describes the decision as “deeply regrettable” saying it “goes far beyond issues of artistic freedom, and ends in promoting the same kind of intolerance that the opera’s detractors claim to be preventing.”

Sounds Heard: Akropolis Reed Quintet—Unraveled

Akropolis Reed Quintet - Unraveled

Unraveled features works written for the group through their ongoing commissioning project. The album is filled from stem to stern with tight writing by young composers, and the spectacular playing engages both intellect and emotion throughout.

Boston: Bromp Treb Busts the Matrix

Bromp Treb (Neil Young Cloaca) at Café Fixe, June 10, 2014. Photo by Susanna Bolle.

Neil Young Cloaca is an irrepressible showman. Bromp Treb is an opportunity for him to apply that carnival-barker enthusiasm to a table full of mismatched gear. Cloaca circled the table, triggering highly distorted samples while playing up theatrical befuddlement, as if he was trying to decipher a recalcitrant machine—or defuse an eccentric bomb.

Lessons from the Central Valley

Fresno from the air

Poor attendance at a new music concert is nothing out of the ordinary. However, one of my best-attended concerts featured what was arguably some of the most abstract and adventurous programming that I have placed on Fresno New Music’s calendar.

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