DSO Reissues Historic CBS Records’ Black Composers Series

This month, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra reissued the CBS Records’ Black Composers Series, originally recorded between 1974 and 1979 by Columbia Masterworks and released as part of a nine LP box set. The reissue of the historically significant recordings was made possible by the DSO’s 2002 Classical Roots Celebration Committee, a group of prominent metro-Detroiters […]

Society for American Music Honors Five Writers

The Society for American Music honored five authors at its recent 28th Annual Conference held in Lexington, Kentucky. Carol Oja, who was recognized for her book Making Music Modern: New York in the 1920’s, also became the society’s president at the meeting. Allen Lott was installed as secretary and Denise von Glahn and Josephine Wright […]

The Folly of Endless Genealogies

While I believe composers ought to be aware and thoughtful about their art, I must admit that I feel a measure of concern about so many composers spending so much time worrying about a musical genealogy, or the comparison of American and European music. IsnÕt it especially ironic when composers emphasize their historical links to […]

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 […]