The Folly of Endless Genealogies

While I believe composers ought to be aware and thoughtful about their art, I must admit that I feel a measure of concern about so many composers spending so much time worrying about a musical genealogy, or the comparison of American and European music. IsnÕt it especially ironic when composers emphasize their historical links to […]

American Originals

“Affirmation of parentage is the substance of rebellion.”—Harry Partch I’ve never been what you’d call a flag-waving kind of guy. But when it comes to music, I guess I’m pretty darn red-blooded. I’m captivated by Bach. I revel in Debussy and Wagner. And I admire Stravinsky. Still, I’ve never thought of these composers as family. […]

Would you call yourself a maverick? Daniel Lentz

Daniel LentzPhoto courtesy Medeighnia Lentz I suppose that I have always been a bit of a maverick; if one takes the original meaning as something “unbranded.” As a student in college I broke away from the 12-tone/serial methodologies of my teachers and began doing “live-electronic” music. Then in the late 60′s and early 70′s I […]

Would you call yourself a maverick? Donald Knaack

Donald KnaackPhoto by Skye Chalmers In music as well as in commerce, great contributions are made when someone absorbs history, synthesizes it, discovers a new path for the current time and proceeds to develop that path. And when someone finds that uncharted path, we call it innovation and, in the majority of the cases, we […]

Would you call yourself a maverick? Thomas C. Duffy

Thomas C. DuffyPhoto by Harold Shapiro I generally compose program music, designed to both captivate the attention and interest of the audience/musicians, and to connect music and subject matters far from music. I use the same orchestrational techniques as the great contemporary composers, but I tailor them to fit the capabilities of young musicians. This […]

Would you call yourself a maverick? Skip La Plante

Skip La PlantePhoto by Leora Codor If there is a tradition of non-conformity, then is someone a conformist who personally maintains the non-conformist tradition? There was a serious question as I graduated from college. Could I continue to be as I was (already a polished non-conformist as well as a skilled musician who didn’t fit […]

Would you call yourself a maverick? Judith Sainte Croix

Judith Sainte CroixPhoto by Jacqui Reher Music communicates mysteriously in its ability to speak to the soul of living things, not just the human being, but animals and plants as well. It addresses our experiences that are universal and non-verbal. The I Ching has a quote I like, something about music dissolving the obscure tensions […]

Another View: Who Owns It?

Daniel Felsenfeld I want to tell you a story about my new favorite composer. A few months ago a mass was performed by an amateur choral society. Commissioned for the occasion from a local composer/conductor Tristan Foison, the piece was given to the group gratis—they would have to pay no performance rights for this first […]