Last week’s gathering of the American Choral Directors Association in Salt Lake City, Utah was one of the largest national music conventions ever held in the United States. Thanks to a newly added composer track at this biennial conference and a greater emphasis on new music, there were also tons of composers and new music aficionados there.
I went to graduate school to study the sounds of burning pianos and squeaky rubber dolls and trash can lids. This music made people think; this music provoked discussions, This music was gutsy and political and sometimes it even required us to reconsider our definition of music.
The American Academy of Arts and Letters has announced the sixteen recipients of the 2015 awards in music, which total $205,000. The recipients will be honored at the Academy’s annual Ceremonial in May.
Caroline Shaw’s compositions are central to her musical identity and, in recent years, she has been venturing far beyond works that she has created for her own performance.
The power of making music is found in the accretion of work and thought we put in over a lifetime, not single moments of inspiration.
A casual, musicological meandering developed into a hunt for forgotten music and transformed into a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of music, art, fathers and sons.
William Thomas McKinley was a true American original and, to my knowledge, the first American classical composer who was also a major post-bop jazz pianist. He abolished this duality and saw creative music from a perspective of higher unity. Tom demonstrated how, musically and spiritually, one could embrace both—through notes, gestures, and at every imaginable level.
There are highly visible musicians who are bravely sticking their necks out. They are not programming what the audience wants, they are programming what the audience needs. Contrast this with the classical groups that program rock or pop transcriptions and advertise it as out-of-the-box thinking.
The award includes a $30,000 commission, residency at the Hermitage Artist Retreat, a performance by a professional arts organization, and assistance with future performances.
What happens when you stop practicing under the weight of worship and start playing to see what you can add to the conversation?