Michael Harrison’s Revelations

Michael HarrisonPhoto by Junghee Choi, courtesy Michael Harrison When composer Michael Harrison sits down at his piano and begins to play, the sound is distinctive. Listen for a minute and you may pick up on the fact that his normal-looking grand piano has been tampered with—Harrison has customized its tuning and in doing so has […]

Temperament: The Idea that Solved Music’s Greatest Riddle

An excerpt from the book by Stuart M. Isacoff. Reproduced here courtesy of the author and Alfred A Knopf, publisher. Read an interview with Author Stuart Isacoff Chapter 14: Coda Hefts of the moving world at innocent gambols silently rising, freshly exuding, Scooting obliquely high and low. —Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself” The change was […]

Bang On A Can Breaks Into Amazon’s Classical Top 5 with Riley’s In C

Bang on a Can Plays Terry Riley: In CImage courtesy Bang on a Can Bang On A Can‘s recording Terry Riley: In C, the latest release from upstart label Cantaloupe Music, has been riding the waves of amazon.com‘s top 20 classical sellers throughout November. The disc held its own and, surprising even the optimists in […]

Is Serialism Still Relevant? Dan Welcher

Dan WelcherPhoto courtesy the Theodore Presser Company Like most US-trained composers my age, I was “forced” to learn serialism in graduate school. And, like most of my colleagues, I was also told that this was the only way to be taken seriously as a composer (this was in the early seventies). But unlike many of […]

Copying Assistance Program Awards $20,300 to Composers

Sixteen American composers have been awarded grants totaling $20,300 through the American Music Center‘s Margaret Fairbank Jory Copying Assistance Program (CAP). The awards go directly to the composers, ranging in age from 26 to 92, to assist in the production of materials for the premiere performance of their proposed large-scale work (four or more performers). […]

Is Serialism Still Relevant? Donald Erb

Donald ErbPhoto by Janet Century, courtesy the Theodore Presser Company No one could have had a more complete exposure to serialism than I did as a student of Marcel Dick. Marcel was a student of Schoenberg who played viola in the Kolisch Quartet, and often performed the music of Schoenberg and Webern as part of […]

Florida Philharmonic Throws New Music Overboard Trying to Save Ship

New music left in the wake of Florida Philharmonic revampPhoto by Ian Britton A program to present new music to Florida residents has become a casualty of the financial crunch facing the Florida Philharmonic. The orchestra has cancelled its Brief Encounters, a concept (credited to Music Director James Judd who has since resigned) that was […]

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 […]