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 […]

View from the West: Sacred Music Anyone?

Dean SuzukiPhoto by Ryan Suzuki In recent years, there has been a tiny revival of sacred music, though not necessarily liturgical music. Yet composers today, for the most part, continue to ignore a genre of music that has a long-standing and rich heritage in Western culture. Clearly, we are living in a post-Christian culture that […]

View From the East: How To Be Real

Greg Sandow New music concerts are often informal, especially if we compare them to more normal—or, if you like, stuffier, more ritualized, even constipated—mainstream classical events. This especially interests me because I teach a graduate course at Juilliard, called “Classical Music in an Age of Pop,” a course about the future of the field, which […]