As in his music, Richard Toensing (1940–2014) embraced the challenges of teaching with his simplicity inside complexity. He had an indelible ability to be engaging, stringent, rigorous, and nurturing all at once. He was well known for his integrity, his delightful wit, and his zero-tolerance policy for what he called “that bull-hooey ego nonsense that gets in the way of hard work and real life.”
Tons of people have devoted their whole life to new music, but few people have done so to the same extent as composer/trombonist Jim Staley, who for more than a quarter of a century devoted his home to it as well. But 35 years on, Roulette has moved boroughs and has gone from being new music in someone’s home to a home for new music.
Day-dreaming drifting time is the luxury that I have out on the trail. Instead of my usual pattern of working on four or five things at once, I work on just one piece, mulling things over sometimes for days before actually writing them down. I’m not distracted by emails or petty bickering on social media.
Though Zwilich, Brouwer, and Shatin are only three of many distinguished female composers, they serve as important models of the different ways a successful career as a female composer can look. Each composer has something wildly different to offer to the contemporary music scene with new CD releases.