Michael Hersch: An American in Berlin

Michael HerschPhoto courtesy Michael Hersch People are talking about 30-year-old composer Michael Hersch. Love his music or not, his rapid rise to prominence has been turning heads in his direction for several years now. Hersch’s biographical sketch would give pause to even the most cynical in the field, especially since his involvement in classical music […]

Is minimalism still relevant? Wendy Mae Chambers

Wendy Mae Chambers Minimal music has long preceded western music in the form of chants, particularly in eastern religions. Indeed, these chants were literally a jumping off point for some of the first American minimalist composers. Hinduism is the oldest organized religion that still exists today. Buddha was born a Hindu. Om Mane Padre Om […]

Jennifer Higdon Promoted at Curtis

Jennifer Higdon: Professor of Composition, Theory, and History at CurtisPhoto courtesy Jennifer When I call Jennifer Higdon to talk about her recent promotion to Professor of Composition, Theory, and History at the Curtis Institute of Music, she seems surprised that anyone has been paying attention. When it happened, she says, “It didn’t seem like a […]

Is minimalism still relevant? Randall Woolf

Randall Woolf What has minimalism meant to me? First of all, because of minimalism, I have the feeling of continuity with an older generation of composers. I find the older American minimalists (Reich, Glass, Riley, and M. Monk) to be the musical parents that the other older composers never were. They seem so much like […]

New Music Advocate Don Gillespie Steps Down At C. F. Peters

Don GillespiePhoto by Sabine Matthes In September, Don Gillespie stepped down from his post as Director of Copyright as well as Vice President and Director of the Board at the C.F. Peters Corporation, bringing to a close a career that has spanned 31 years. During that time, Gillespie established an outstanding reputation among friends and […]

Is minimalism still relevant? Charlie Hoyt

Charlie Hoyt It’s going to be a while before we see people roaming the streets in Steve Reich t-shirts and blasting Górecki from their car stereo systems. However, minimalism seems to be permeating pop-culture at an amazing rate. Keeping in mind that the term ‘minimalism’ is used to define a very broad genre of music, […]

A View from the West: Take an Artist to Lunch!

Dean SuzukiPhoto by Ryan Suzuki Morton Feldman once said to a group of student composers and their teachers at Darmstadt, "If you don’t have a friend who’s a painter, you’re in trouble." A more cogent, profound, and brilliant truism would be hard to find. The arts are always a reflection of their culture, their zeitgeist, […]

View From the East: The Talented Donal Fox

Greg Sandow One night about a year ago, Donal Fox sat down at the piano in Merkin Hall and began to play “The Star-Spangled Banner.” This was the start of “Transformations, Variations, Improvisations,” a half-concert (someone else shared the program, I can’t remember who) on which Donal played some partly improvised compositions, none of them […]

Minimal Music, Maximal Impact

Minimalism hit me in my teens like a bolt of fate. About 1972 (I was 16), Steve Achternacht on radio station WRR-FM in Dallas played Terry Riley’s In C on the air. His janglingly repetitive octave C’s started up (which we learned years later had been Steve Reich’s suggestion to hold the piece together), and I didn’t know how to react. This was crazy. All that pulsating repetition gave me a headache, every time I listened. But I kept listening anyway.

Survey Says…A Fictional Feud between the Minimalists and the Serialists

Einstein on the Beach is not the only production celebrating a silver anniversary this year. I’ll give you three clues to guess the other show that made it’s pilot run in 1976: 1) Frozen silhouettes that come to life; 2) a “hi-tech” board involving flipping panels; and 3) you probably watched it with either your […]