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.
Last week amounted to a floodgate of new music being opened: from a few new subscription-series pieces per season from major figures and some encouragement to young talent by way of CONTACT! commissions, the Philharmonic and partners performed well over 60 pieces from composers of all stages and many walks of life.
There is freedom in the holes. The holes remind you that the universe is still expanding, the world is still a work in progress, and there is space for your own contributions.
Lee Hyla (1952-2014) was the “Alpha Composer”—charismatic, at the center of things. Not only composers, but jazz musicians and creative improvisers revered him, his creative energy was infectious. Everybody wanted a part of it, and he was happy to oblige.
Kevin Puts, whose contract extends for three seasons, will begin planning for the next Composer Institute, which will be held in January 2015.
Elodie Lauten (1950-2014) loved and respected music as a spiritual force and, with the wisdom of a sage, passionately instilled in others its importance, power, and significance. Using music, she nobly changed lives; there is no greater compliment.
New music proponents are uniquely qualified to stop worrying about the Major Symphony Orchestra in favor of much more productive—and yes, more American—channels.
Andy Biskin’s quartet Ibid contains clarinet, cornet, trombone, and drums; it’s a quirky group, playing some appropriately zany tunes, to the point where, if you close your eyes for certain tracks, it’s easy to picture a tiny cartoon marching band dancing its way across your field of vision.
Five jazz legends and 36 emerging talents were honored at the 2014 ASCAP Jazz Wall of Fame Induction Ceremony. It was an extraordinary celebration of the past, present, and future of jazz.
For many young students there is an ingrained belief that classical music is not a part of mainstream culture. It isn’t “hip” or “new.” They find it boring. But do you know what isn’t “old and irrelevant”? New music—by definition, no less!