Yoko Ono’s Snow

Originally published on February 7, 1977 As usual, I’ve been going to a lot of concerts. On my desk at the moment are several different programs from events which I’ve attended recently, and which I suppose I really ought to report on. But the snow that has been falling so abundantly has made me aware […]

What role has theory played in your compositions and how important is it for people to know the theory behind the music in order to appreciate it? Fred Lerdahl

Fred Lerdahl Near the beginning of my composing career, around 1970, I underwent a crisis of belief. Modern music had splintered into mutually incompatible styles, each with its own aesthetic, and any coherent sense of the historical trajectory of art music was gone. Contemporary compositional methods were often highly rationalized but inaccessible to listeners except […]

Suspended Bell Gives Concert

Originally published on December 9, 1974 The procedure had been suggested silently by a poster hanging on one wall of the Experimental Intermedia loft. ‘Letting the metal swing back and forth,’ it said, ‘making it sound when it comes to you (just by touching).’ Now six or eight of us were sitting on the floor […]

What role has theory played in your compositions and how important is it for people to know the theory behind the music in order to appreciate it? Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson One of my favorite riddles is this: What is the difference between theory and practice? Theory is when you know everything about it but it won’t work. Practice is when it works but you don’t know why. It seems to me that good composers are always concerned with both theory and practice. They […]

Victor Grauer: A Long Hum Drone Hum Hum

Originally published on December 14, 1972 Grauer Grauer Grauer Grauer Grauer Grauer Grauer Victor Grauer Grauer Grauer Grauer Victor Grauer Grauer softly reading softly reading softly reading reading reading reading reading reading softly reading reading reading reading reading reading reading softly reading reading reading reading reading reading reading reading reading reading for more than three […]

What role has theory played in your compositions and how important is it for people to know the theory behind the music in order to appreciate it? David B. Doty

David B. Doty Like any composer working in just intonation, I find a certain amount of theory necessary. When choosing from among a potentially unlimited variety of pitches and intervals, some kind of roadmap is essential. Of course, the composer’s ear should be the ultimate judge of what pitches are correct in a given musical […]

Steve Reich’s ‘Drumming’

Originally published on December 9, 1971 It’s not very often that a long complex piece of new music receives a standing ovation. What was it about Steve Reich‘s ‘Drumming‘ that brought the audience to its feet at the Museum of Modern Art on December 3? The simple fact that 13 musicians had performed intricate rhythms […]

What role has theory played in your compositions and how important is it for people to know the theory behind the music in order to appreciate it? Thomas DeLio

I have worked extensively as both a composer and theorist throughout my career and see no separation between these two complementary, mutually enriching activities. My work as a theorist has been profoundly influenced by my composition and vice-versa. I view the theorist as one whose role is that of helping to understand the innumerable ways […]

View From The West: What Happened to Contemporary Performing Arts on PBS?

Dean SuzukiPhoto by Ryan Suzuki Something has gone terribly wrong at PBS. I recall a day when one could actually see Peter Greenaway‘s documentary films on John Cage, Meredith Monk, Philip Glass, and Robert Ashley; a documentary on Steve Reich; intermedia and experimental performances, films, and videos on Alive! From Off Center; a significant proportion […]