Is Serialism Still Relevant? Erik Schaepers

Erik SchaepersPhoto by Edi Portmann On “Historic Necessity” “My invention of twelve-tone music will guarantee the supremacy of German music for the next hundred years,” said Arnold Schoenberg after developing his concept of what is now commonly known as atonal music. The claim itself represents an intellectual misconception, which may, for the sake of brevity, […]

Music America Needs Now

Do audiences need to be protected from provocative art?Picasso: Mère et Enfant, 1902. In the current social and political climate, what kind of art do audiences need? And what’s more, who should be deciding what they should see or what they can handle? That delicate question has been falling on presenters, conductors, and executive directors […]

Is Serialism Still Relevant? Victoria Bond

Victoria BondPhoto courtesy Victoria Bond Out of the Serial Box The question, “Is serialism still relevant?” deserves attention. There was a time in the not-too-distant past when such a question would seem frivolous, when 12-tone was the accepted contemporary language, and anyone who wrote tonal music was considered hopelessly retarded. However, today we live in […]

View From Eastman: Good News, Bad News, Hopeful News, a Challenge

James UndercoflerPhoto by Laurie Beck Tarver [Ed. Note: This article, originally given as the 2000 Convocation Address at the Eastman School of Music, is reprinted with the permission of the author from the Spring 2001 edition of Eastman Notes.] The good news is that people are participating in music more than ever. And we have […]

View From the West: The Next Big Thing

Dean SuzukiPhoto by Ryan Suzuki We appear to be due for a new musical style to make itself known. It has been a long time since the last ‘big thing’ in music, and I have been waiting for the next big thing to come down the pike, whatever it might be. Major upheavals in musical […]

View From the East: Abstract Atonality

Greg Sandow A while ago I annoyed some readers by comparing atonal music to abstract art. I’d thought that the comparison was a cliché in conversations about 20th-century culture, but the readers I annoyed didn’t see it that way. They thought I’d called atonal music a dirty name, as if I’d said atonal music was […]

Dirty Dozens: A HyperHistory of Serialism

James Reel Originally, Retrograded, Inverted, and Retrograded & InvertedSerial permutations by Amanda MacBlane A fad diet called serialism swept the American academy some 40 years ago. It promised to shed the fat of Romanticism, loosen the gristle of Futurism, tone the flab of Impressionism. Serialism was scientific, developed and refined by the leading minds of […]

Not Just for Breakfast Anymore?

Frank J. OteriPhoto by Melissa Richard As a high school student, my favorite subject after music was probably math. So, as soon as I learned about serial music and its mathematical underpinnings, I was intrigued. I spent the better part of my senior year mulling over the 12-tone score of Alban Berg’s Lulu and when […]