Obituary: Composer Lou Harrison, 85

One of the most significant musical figures of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, American composer Lou Harrison, died while in transit from Chicago to Columbus, OH, Sunday night.

Moving Images

To 19th Century composers such as Wagner, opera had the potential of being a “total art,” integrating drama, dance, visual art and design, philosophy, and poetics within the grand embrace of music. And then along came the cinema. Putting a silver screen across a stage revolutionized the potential of location and reality in telling a […]

Are there things you can write in a film score that you can’t write for the concert hall? Roger Tréfousse

Photo by Kathleen Tréfousse Concert pieces are like oil paintings: drawing on the canvas in charcoals, weeks of underpainting, then working and reworking the final canvas. Working this way, I’ve explored many creative possibilities and approaches and even elements eventually discarded are sometimes new beginnings for my next work. A film score has to be […]

Are there things you can write in a film score that you can’t write for the concert hall? Laura Karpman

Photo by Catherine Byrd Composing for film is probably most closely related to composing an opera. Whereas in most 20th-21st century concert music, formal structure is an issue—whether one chooses to revert to 18-19th century forms, chooses serial techniques, or to invent one’s own structures—in film music the structure is dictated by the film’s narrative. […]

View From the West: Swing Your Partner ‘Round and ‘Round’—Banjo Anyone?

Dean SuzukiPhoto by Ryan Suzuki With all of the interest in and investigation into world musics, from scholarly studies to the integration of non-Western styles, forms, instruments, and compositional techniques to popular world fusion styles, it is curious that more composers have not tapped into uniquely American musics. The appeal of various world music styles, […]

View From the East: Big Statements

Greg Sandow Last month, I celebrated the diversity of new music—or, more exactly, how impossible it is to find a central style, tone, or meaning in what composers do right now. All of us are on our own; it’s fun to learn to live with that. This month, I want to go to an opposite […]

Picture Perfect: A HyperHistory of Film Music in the United States

Nicole ZarayPhoto by Sean Gullette Do film composers ever get the fame they deserve? Probably not… They toil long hours for the Hollywood machine behind the heavy curtain of post-production, while the film’s stars and director are already sauntering through candid clips on Entertainment Tonight. Rarely do we see a film composer on prime time […]