Music for Difficult Days

Plot Twist

Turning to music for comfort and solace is not a subject that is talked about much—not out loud, at any rate—in our community, even though it is a perfectly natural inclination, and something that many of us engage in regularly.

Rethinking How We Teach Composition, Part 2

Igor Stravinsky & Nadia Boulanger (1937)

We still have a long way to go in terms of shifting the model of what a composition teacher can provide. First, we must address the master/apprentice mentality. I propose we to do this by continuing to allow more inquisitive learning to take place alongside modeling. Secondly, we desperately need to openly and pragmatically identify the inherent challenges of gender in composition.

You’re Doing Targeted Marketing Wrong

Dart board

You want to grow your audience, but you have limited resources, so you target your marketing efforts at the groups most likely to respond to it. Sounds familiar? Sensible? It is. But almost everybody does it wrong.

Sounds Heard: Things You Already Know

new releases from Chris Campbell, David T. Little, and Aaron Irwin

It’s always exciting to find a “new” favorite piece of music or music maker, but digging deeper into a known artist’s catalog offers its own myriad rewards. This week we apply that to new releases from Chris Campbell, David T. Little, and Aaron Irwin.

Keep Dallas Wired: The Dallas Opera Plugs Into Death and the Powers

Hal Cazalet as Nicholas in Tod Machover's Death and the Powers

While his background is as academically rigorous as it could possibly be, Tod Machover’s compositional work, as well as his instrument and software design, leans in a direction that can certainly be described as approachable to a broad audience. This was on display in the recent production of his Pulitzer-nominated opera Death and the Powers by The Dallas Opera.

Putting Artists in the Limelight

New Music USA(waveform)

New Music USA has just announced the awardees of our inaugural round of project grants. All awarded project pages, complete with artist profiles, work samples, project information, dates, and photos have been published on newmusicusa.org. This means that the world at large can explore, listen to, watch, and experience the diverse array of these awardees’ works on our website.

Great Expectations: The Composer’s Progress

compass

There are a number of composers who don’t conform to the traditional model, and the truth is that there really is no typical career trajectory for a composer. The only way to navigate a career as a composer, I have found, is to be prepared for anything.

Rethinking How We Teach Composition, Part 1

Mirar graph

Teaching composition requires a balance between the student and the teacher; between the micro and the macro. The strategy includes the teacher’s understanding of the creative process, the student’s reflection on that process, and a design of individually tailored tasks for the student—a set of activities mutually agreed upon. Constant shifting between the big picture and the small steps is critical.

Kamala Sankaram: Being One with the Performance

kamala-nmbxslide

Like many music makers of her generation, Kamala Sankaram creates and performs work which is an amalgamation of a wide range of musical traditions. But at the root of everything she does, there is usually a strong sense of narrative. Most recently, she took on the most vaunted form of “dramma per musica”—opera—with Thumbprint, which was one of the highlights of the 2014 Prototype Festival.

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