Talking about a “postmodern avant-garde” might well seem oxymoronic. But what at first glance appears self-contradictory might, upon closer inspection, disclose itself as a fundamental social tension within new music culture—or, rather, a tension between the ideals of that culture and the material reality of contemporary socio-economic structures.
To get the work, we need to say yes, and to keep the work, we need to produce. But to produce, from what church music has taught me, we need to write faster, rewrite when necessary, and write for the people who actually want new music. If we do, our music will keep getting performed and performed well.
The MacArthur Foundation noted that Coleman is a musician “whose technical virtuosity and engagement with musical traditions and styles from around the world are expanding the expressive and formal possibilities of spontaneous composition.”
Unlike composers who grew up in the United States where just about any kind of music seems part of our tradition, Shanghai-born Du Yun approaches all traditions as somehow exotic, whether classical, pop, avant-garde, or even the traditional Chinese music that deeply influences so many other Chinese émigré composers.
Wayne Horvitz’s music for 55: Music and Dance in Concrete, taken out of its original site-specific multimedia context, comes across as part psychedelic soundtrack (think Barbarella), part mysterious fun house (think Sleep No More).
Beware of musicologists bringing hegemonic narratives to discipline the chaos of the contemporary.
The CEOs of ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC were all together for a Texas BBQ lunch meeting organized by the Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP) in which each was individually asked about a variety of topics.
For composer and sound artist Ryan Ingebritsen, Song Path is a practice that explores guided meditation and hiking as a compositional form. Ellen McSweeney caught up with him to chat about what it means for a primarily electronic artist to lead troupes of people through the woods.
The non-professional will be the usual musician in a church environment. So when someone who doesn’t do music for a living appreciates what I attempt to do, that’s a special thrill.
The big point that critics of college teaching fail to understand is that teaching music is more than just teaching music. A good teacher connects the great musicians and musical works of the past with the present, while paving the road for the future.