Can orchestral music and electronic sound comfortably coexist? Joshua Cohen, Contributing Editor, Sequenza21

Joshua CohenPhoto courtesy Joshua Cohen To intermingle the orchestra with electronic sound or not to intermingle is not the question. At least not the question that interests me. The discussion may better be framed in the context of compositional choices rather than aesthetic territory. Any composition is the result of choices made; at any level […]

Composer Calling: Cell Phone Symphony Premieres

A mirror reflects the “performers”, who are also the audience in Levin’s DialtonesPhoto courtesy When the cell phones started ringing during a performance at an electronic arts festival in Linz, Austria, the conductor didn’t storm off the stage in a rage. He was the one making the calls. “Dialtones: A Telesymphony,” was given it’s premiere […]

Live Jazz Fills City by the Bay

San Francisco Jazz Festival Founder and Executive Director, Randall KlinePhoto courtesy of SFJAZ At the end of the month, SFJAZZ kicks off its 19th annual San Francisco Jazz Festival, presenting a range of live performances from classic jazz to the avant-garde, tributes to legendary artists, and premiere performances of specially commissioned works. The festival performances […]

Can orchestral music and electronic sound comfortably coexist? Laurie Spiegel, composer

Laurie SpiegelPhoto by Joel Chadabe, courtesy Laurie Spiegel Certainly the two media coexist extremely well, because they are complementary in many aspects of compositional process, realized result, socio-economics of availability, presentation venue, etc. If you have an orchestra, why would you need electronic sound sources? To do whatever an orchestra can’t, because by now they […]

View From the East: Music in a Time of War

Greg Sandow In the wake of our disaster, I want to ask why music moves us so much. “Music is the nutrition of the soul,” I heard Zarin Mehta say about a week after the events as he introduced a memorial performance of the Brahms Requiem by the New York Philharmonic. “Music is the soul […]

Stars, Stripes, Batons and Circuits: American Music For Orchestra and Electronics

Elliott SchwartzPhoto courtesy Ohio State Universi The launch of the American Symphony Orchestra’s “Orchestra Tech” Initiative this October seems an appropriate occasion to survey the history of American music for orchestra and electronics. Before beginning, however, we need to define our terms and set boundaries. Specifically, three words–”American,” “electronic” and “orchestra”–can be, and have been, […]

The New Sound Machines

In Roald Dahl’s story “The Sound Machine,” Klausner, the inventor of a machine that made inaudible sounds audible, explains his concept by saying, “I believe that there is a whole world of sound about us all the time that we cannot hear…there is a new exciting music being made, with subtle harmonies and fierce grinding […]

Bringing the Orchestra into the 21st Century

Frank J. OteriPhoto by Melissa Richard For years, I’ve entertained a fetish for being in spaces that took me away from the present day: walking through ancient ruins like Macchu Picchu in Peru or Volubilis in Morocco, sleeping in Colonial B&Bs in the Northeast or Antebellum homes in the Deep South, or even drinking in […]