Summer Rewind: 10 Posts To Read Again

bullhorn

An inspiring list reflecting how passionate the field is when it comes to discussing everything from race, age, and gender diversity to industry concerns surrounding vital tools of the trade. Did you miss any of these conversations?

Musicians at Work: Ensemble Residencies as Social Relationships

Eighth Blackbird fits in a rehearsal during their Curtis residency.

Entrepreneurialism is celebrated by many in the arts scene, but the reality is less sunny than the image often projected by consultants and administrators. Because it valorizes flexibility, opportunism, and social relationships, entrepreneurialism demands constant work. When every moment has potential meaning, it can be hard to relax.

John King: It All Becomes Music

John King standing against a wall covered with a few branches.

John King composed 14 pieces last year which clock in at more than six hours. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. To date he has created well over 200 works in a staggering array of styles and formats–from 28 string quartets and 7 experimental operas to electric guitar solos, orchestra pieces, canons for chorus, and even a few Baroque imitations and a North Indian classical raga exposition. What ties most of his work together is a commitment to indeterminate processes.

New Music USA Awards $310,820 to 60 Projects

Spring 2016 Project Grants

New Music USA has announced its sixth round of project grants awards, totaling $310,820 in funding to support artistic work involving a wide range of new American music. The 60 awarded projects include concerts and recordings as well as dance, theater, opera, and more, all involving contemporary music as an essential element.

Electroacoustic Music is Not About Sound

A table with a variety of electroacoustic music gear. Image courtesy Blake Zidell & Associates for NYCEMF and the New York Philharmonic Biennial)

Narrative structure and pitch specificity are now rarely considered in electroacoustic music. To claim that pitch specificity is important is to risk being labeled a reactionary or, worse yet, conventional. An even more profound change has taken place in our discourse regarding time. There is the strong suggestion that it is quaint to think of music as a narrative form, unfolding in time.

Queer and Loathing in Las Vegas: Performing Community in Hagen’s Vera

Vera of Las Vegas

The first half of the 20th century saw the demise of the great operatic heroine and out of the fracture arose a focus on male roles, ensemble casts, and female roles singing in a completely new way. And as opera became a more racially integrated affair, new disconnects emerged while similarly allowing for new audiences to see their bodies presented as operatic vehicles.

Towards The Future: New Music in the 21st Century

What is New Music

At a time when our most immediate collective reality is not only mediocre, but also dangerous and pathologically against the creation of fairer worlds, I would like to believe that there is some work to be done in our field, where perhaps we can reclaim creativity and imagination.

Timbre, Envelope and Variation in Electroacoustic Music

A table with a variety of electroacoustic music gear. Image courtesy Blake Zidell & Associates for NYCEMF and the New York Philharmonic Biennial)

Timbre and envelope are intricately related and are major determinants of how effective a sound event in music will be, whether in acoustic music or electroacoustic music. Since the sound events used in electroacoustic music often have little or no distinct pitch characteristics, traditional contrapuntal sequencing devices often may not generate identifiable or interesting variations, but other techniques, including models borrowed from rhetoric, can be used effectively.

Imagining Community at Bang on a Can’s First Marathon

Bang on a Can poster

Essential to the construction of community is the creation of a shared history: a rhetoric and a narrative about who the community is, and what its values are. And in order to create a new kind of community, Bang on a Can had to overplay its hand. Community had to be performed.

The Defeat of New Music

University of Arkansas

Because of Babbitt and others, contemporary music gained access to academia and did find some solace, but the price of admission was nevertheless very high. By fundamentally treating contemporary music as a field of scientistic exploration, this type of music neglected most of its bonds with modernity and its emancipatory project based on self-critique.

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