Bringing the Orchestra into the 21st Century

Frank J. OteriPhoto by Melissa Richard For years, I’ve entertained a fetish for being in spaces that took me away from the present day: walking through ancient ruins like Macchu Picchu in Peru or Volubilis in Morocco, sleeping in Colonial B&Bs in the Northeast or Antebellum homes in the Deep South, or even drinking in […]

Can orchestral music and electronic sound comfortably coexist?

Laurie Spiegel“The few times I’ve tried to combine the two media, I have not personally found any aesthetic benefits…” Alvin Lucier“Often the sounds of one seem to grow out of the other, causing a confusion of identities which creates intense listening moments for the audience…” Joshua Cohen“This process of compositional inquiry and the integrity implicit […]

Orchestra Tech: Introducing Technology into the Orchestra

Ray Kurzweil, Gil Rose, and Tod Machover Ray Kurzweil, Gil Rose, and Tod Machover September 24, 2001 Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA Moderated and Videotaped by Frank J. Oteri Transcribed by Amanda MacBlane What is an Orchestra? Why Introduce Technology into the Orchestra? Convincing Audiences and Administrators The Repertoire and the Venue Standardization and […]

What Makes Your Music “American”?

What is “American” classical music? For one thing, I suppose you had to be born in America to write it? Well, what if you were born in another country, moved here and became an American? O.K., let’s say you were born in the U.S. What makes your music distinctly “American”? Perhaps, the lines are so […]

The World Trade Center Tragedy and New Music

In these completely surreal and horrific times, I count myself among the lucky who have not lost any family, friends or colleagues in the horrible tragedies that occurred at New York City’s World Trade Center, at the Pentagon in Washington DC, and 80 miles outside Pittsburgh. Thankfully, the same is true for all of us […]

Both Ends Across the Middle

Whatever the reason, the music that speaks most directly to me has always been older and newer. And it’s always seemed to me that new music and early music are a lot alike.

California Symphony Taps Stacey Street

Stacy Street assumes the role of executive director of the California Symphony The California Symphony has appointed Stacey Street, currently the interim executive director of the Bay Area’s Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, as the new executive director. She assumes the post after Labor Day. Street comes to the position with a number of successes behind her […]

Hechinger Encores Commission Composer Tina Davidson

Tina Davidson “I have plans, I just don’t know what they are yet,” Tina Davidson admits when asked about early ideas for her Hechinger Encore. Though distracted by a deadline for another commission, she’s expecting that writing the piece for the National Symphony Orchestra is going to be a lot of fun. “I’m assuming they […]

Hechinger Encores Commission Composer Michael Abels

Michael Abels Michael Abels, halfway through writing his Encore composition, has made a discovery. “I think I now get how a dessert chef feels,” he says, laughing. “Because you’re definitely not what people are coming to the restaurant for, and yet you’re their last impression. I think ideally an encore is something that should achieve […]

Hechinger Encores Commission Composer Jefferson Friedman

Jefferson Friedman can’t divulge when his Encore‘s commission will be performed exactly (the National Symphony Orchestra wants to make sure the performances are a surprise to the audience), but he will say that the work will be performed in the early fall and that it has already been signed and delivered to the NSO. “This […]