Fanfare for the Common Orchestra Musician

It is hard for me to read this month’s issue and its consideration of composers thinking big for large ensembles, without the back of my mind drifting to the well-publicized troubles of our symphony orchestras. Certainly, there is a bit of a tired refrain at work, and the latest foldings or cutbacks are nothing we […]

Wire Magazine’s Undercurrents

The Wire magazine’s UNDERCURRENTS, a series of articles which appeared monthly during 1999, is a great introduction to some of the important trends that have affected the trajectory of music over the past century.

Orchestration: Composers Reveal Tricks of the Trade Maria Schneider

Maria SchneiderPhoto by David Korchin I approach composing and orchestrating for big band in a way that might be considered unusual. Instead of delineating each section, I try to dissolve the obviousness of sections. I look at the band as a chamber group having limitless solo or combined possibilities. There’s far more than the obvious […]

Orchestration: Composers Reveal Tricks of the Trade Dave Holland

Dave HollandPhoto by Laurence When I arrange for an ensemble, I think both about the instruments and the specific players. I might choose a certain instrumentation but then I think about the personal sound each musician makes and consider that when I am orchestrating. I also like to write to feature the style and sound […]

Orchestration: Composers Reveal Tricks of the Trade Meyer Kupferman

Meyer KupfermanPhoto by Howard Dratch On reflecting upon my approach to orchestration, I discovered that I had been doing lots of things exactly the same way from the very beginning of my long symphonic odyssey: choice of instruments for any given episode had to have a challenge of “absolute freshness!” As a result, I always […]

Orchestration: Composers Reveal Tricks of the Trade

Steven GerberPhoto by Brian Palmer My approach to orchestration is traditional, in that while I don’t think of it as merely arranging pre-existing material, I also don’t think of color, of sheer orchestral sound, as primary. Most of the standard repertoire—even The Rite of Spring, in spite of its astounding use of orchestral color—sounds good […]

Orchestration: Composers Reveal Tricks of the Trade Jerry Gerber

Self-portrait by Jerry Gerber A looming debate in the electronic music community has been, for some time now, whether one should stick to timbres that can only be produced by computers, software, and synthesizers or whether all sounds are fair game, particularly digital samples of acoustic instruments. The answer for me is quite clear: Both […]

Orchestration: Composers Reveal Tricks of the Trade Daniel D’Quincy

Daniel D’QuincyPhoto from video by Brian Hoopes On the New Art of Orchestral Simulation Oh, ye gods! Have mercy for the innovators. What the world likes least is change, even when the status quo is widely held to be unsatisfactory. Better to go on and on, repeating endlessly all the age-old patterns of tired familiarity, […]

View from the West: American Mavericks on Public Radio

Dean SuzukiPhoto by Ryan Suzuki After much grousing and bellyaching about the pathetic state of affairs at PBS, at least in their music and performing arts programming two columns ago, and the decline of music programming at public radio stations with the ever increasing all news and talk formats in a column sometime last year, […]