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  • richardmitnick 4:58 PM on June 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: NEWMUSICBOX, What’s In a Name? The Orchestra and Its Community   

    From NEWMUSICBOX: “What’s In a Name? The Orchestra and Its Community” 

    New Music USA


    From NEWMUSICBOX

    1
    Image: Ehimetalor Unuabona

    June 14, 2018
    Cas Martin

    Names influence our lives in a powerful way. Our first names give us our first inklings of individuality. Our last names can connect us to family members across generations. The names of our countries, states, and cities are the foundation of our sense of place and belonging. We are urged to live with purpose and dignity to bring honor to the names of our families and hometowns. Ultimately, a name is a legacy: a vehicle through which we relate to the world and the world relates to us. It is the label on our life’s work and the signature on our past behavior.

    To do something in the name of another, then, is an immense responsibility, which poses a challenge for locally based organizations. The name of an individual reflects on one person, but the name of a city or state can encompass millions of people. Thus, from the inception of their titles, groups from the New York Philharmonic to the San Francisco Symphony hold an obligation to represent and to serve their namesake communities.

    While the titles of most modern American ensembles accurately designate what they are, they do not convey who they are. It doesn’t take a seasoned musicologist to see the disparity between the communities inside and outside of the concert hall. Older white people dominate the demographics of the average American symphony orchestra, both on and off the stage. Despite the increasing racial and ethnic diversity of the United States, only about ten percent of orchestral players are people of color. This demographic manifests in the music itself, too: the works of dead white men top the bills of major orchestras, which still rarely venture outside the Western classical canon. Symphony staffs across the country are working towards increased diversity and inclusion, but the integration of these principles is a slow and sensitive process. In this absence of adequate representation, ensembles must double their efforts to honor their namesakes through service.

    I do not point out this obligation because of a lack of effort on the part of American orchestras. Most larger ensembles have staff dedicated to education and/or community engagement who plan outreach events such as benefit concerts and free performances in hospitals or schools. The struggle to serve lies in the divide between the orchestra and its community. Despite widespread budgeting woes, the orchestra remains a cultural symbol of wealth, which stands in stark contrast with the sleeping bags and shopping carts on the sidewalks outside many metropolitan concert halls. This socioeconomic gap is compounded by the homogeneous demographic of the orchestra, which can create tension between the ensemble and the community at large. With the right mindset, however, one can set a foundation for a healthy relationship between a city and its orchestra.

    The key: don’t help. Instead, serve.

    I first encountered the difference between help and service at a community-based learning conference in Holyoke, Massachusetts. As a panelist described the dangers of programs like Teach for America, which put underprepared white teachers into “at-risk communities,” he described their exhibition of the white savior complex—“the perception that wealthy white individuals are the benevolent benefactors of helpless ‘others’.” This definition can apply to well-intentioned orchestral representatives who enter low-income communities of color with the intention of “helping.” They provide resources such as free concerts and musical instruction to underserved populations, but rarely cultivate or maintain genuine relationships with these audiences after their generous work has been publicized to patrons and donors. Instead of being empowered, the population in need often feels belittled for needing to be “helped” at all, ultimately encouraging the systematic power dynamics of race and class which separated the concert hall so prominently from its surroundings in the first place. Service, on the other hand, implies a mutually beneficial relationship founded on equality, collaboration, and respect. Community partnerships are just that: a healthy give-and-take between one party and another. Maintaining a mindset of servitude will help musical organizations in their endeavor to improve their communities, their relationships with said communities, and the ensembles themselves.

    The Detroit Symphony Orchestra is a fantastic example of a group which thrives in service. After a difficult season of musician strikes in 2010-2011, the DSO was forced to reassess its priorities and restructure its organization. Dangerously low on resources, musicians, and patrons, the orchestra turned to its community for survival. Accessibility and community engagement became the defining tenets of the DSO. The orchestra refocused its efforts on community performances in hospitals, churches, and senior centers in metro Detroit.

    Increased visibility of the orchestra among new, diverse audiences in conjunction with “patron-minded pricing” caused subscription growth to increase by nearly 25% in three years. The DSO has since integrated free webcasting and extensive educational programming to truly become the “most accessible orchestra on the planet.” Their success is a direct result of healthy collaboration. The ensemble did not enter its community in a self-congratulatory or belittling manner: instead, the DSO simply reached out in its time of need, starting a legacy of mutually beneficial community partnerships. Most importantly, the organization brands itself as “a community-supported orchestra,” not merely an orchestra that supports its community. The DSO is living proof that community engagement is integral, not additive, to a successful ensemble.

    Between relentless budget cuts and the increasing struggle to make classical music relevant in a fast-paced world, American orchestras are seeing a steady decline in concert attendance. Ensembles are often far too preoccupied with survival to focus on any sort of community service. However, I’d like to suggest that service is a fantastic avenue to improving the financial and organizational health of symphonic ensembles. The consistent formation and retention of mutually beneficial relationships with community organizations will inevitably improve audience attendance and diversity. Furthermore, interactions with peer organizations and community members offer multiple unique perspectives, which can be invaluable in making programming decisions. Community service isn’t just an obligation: it is a promising avenue for the visibility and vitality of the American orchestra.

    See the full article here.


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    At NEWMUSICUSA, we see ourselves first and foremost as advocates. Our mission is to support and promote new music created in the United States. We do that in many ways, fostering connections, deepening knowledge, encouraging appreciation, and providing financial support. In recognition of the possibility and power inherent in the virtual world, we’ve worked to build a strong internet platform to serve our constituency. And that constituency is broad and diverse, from composers and performers to presenters and producers, casual listeners to die-hard fans. We’re truly committed to serving the WHOLE new music community.

    As we go about our work, we make a point of not defining too precisely what we mean by new music. To define is to limit. It’s a spectacular time for musical creativity in part because so much music is being made that isn’t bound by conventional limitations of style or genre or background. The music that we hear being created in such abundance all around us is definition enough. We simply want it to flourish.

    We’re fortunate to have as our legacy the history of previous decades of good works done by the American Music Center and Meet The Composer, the two great organizations that merged to form us in 2011. Their legacies have also brought a small financial endowment that mostly helps support our grantmaking. But we’re not a foundation. We depend decisively each year on the generosity of so many institutions and individuals around the country who are dedicated as we are to the advancement of new music and are devoted to supporting our work.

    New Music USA is part of an international community of advocates for the arts. We’re members of the Performing Arts Alliance, the International Association of Music Information Centres, and the International Society for Contemporary Music. Those partnerships help us represent the interests of our constituents at every level.

    John Schaefer


    For new music by living composers

    newsounds.org from New York Public Radio


    https://www.wnyc.org/
    93.9FM
    https://www.wqxr.org/
    105.9FM
    http://www.thegreenespace.org/

    For great Jazz

    88.3FM http://wbgo.org/

    WPRB 103.3FM

    Dan Buskirk Spinning Jazz Mondays 11:00AM-1:00PM
    Will Constantine Jr, Blues Bop and Beyond Thursdays 11:00-2:00 featuring Latin Jazz
    Jerry Gordon Serenade to a Cookoo Frdays 11:00AM-2:00PM with Jerry’s Room at 1:00Pm
    Jeannie Becker Sunday Jazz 10:00AM-1:00Pm


    Please visit The Jazz Loft Project based on the work of Sam Stephenson
    Please visit The Jazz Loft Radio project from New York Public Radio

    Advertisements
     
  • richardmitnick 10:55 PM on June 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Music of the Travel Ban", , NEWMUSICBOX   

    From NEWMUSICBOX: “Speak Now: ‘Music of the Travel Ban’“ 

    New Music USA


    From NEWMUSICBOX

    1

    June 13, 2018
    Dave Molk

    The Trump Travel Ban unceremoniously strips citizens from the countries on its list of their humanity, essentializing them as stigmatized non-Americans and even actively anti-American. Now on its third iteration, the so-called Muslim Ban has suspended acceptance of certain refugees, blocked immigration, and revoked visas from a shifting list of countries. Immediately after the policy announcement, thousands gathered at major airports to protest and stand in solidarity with those now denied entry. This reaction is a snapshot of the larger and ongoing resistance to the Trump agenda that ranges from daily phone calls with congressional representatives to globally linked marches involving millions, with myriad activities in between. We need not move mountains to defend our values. By leveraging power and privilege within our own spheres of influence, however modest they might appear, we can all effect real and positive change.

    For Trump and his nativist advisors, one’s nationality alone is enough to trigger the end of a conversation. My colleague Ben Harbert and I consider it the start of ours. Using the resources available to us as faculty members of Georgetown University’s music program, we organized Music of the Travel Ban [click on the link to see the schedule] as a way to resist through music and through presence. The concert series provides a space for the voices from these banned countries to be heard as people, recognized as neighbors, welcomed as friends, and celebrated as a vital part of our artistic and intellectual communities. As a model for campus engagement, this series is our rejection of policies rooted in racist ideologies and reflects our unwavering commitment to a multicultural ethos.

    2

    Within Music of the Travel Ban, resistance occurs in more and less predictable ways. As the motivation behind the entire series, the specter of the Travel Ban is ever-present and inescapable. Shockingly, however, none of the first three concerts appeared overtly political; the conversations between the audience and musicians during the performances and the subsequent Q&As were wholly devoid of Trump and of his policies. When the topic of politics finally emerged in the fourth concert, it came from the sphere of ally-ship rather than from those immediately affected.

    And yet, the refusal to engage rhetorically with or even acknowledge these policies, despite their very real and disastrous consequences for performers and audience members alike, is a mode of resistance in its own right. It is imperative that we engage forcefully and directly in a fight against policies that we find unjust. However, in the specific context of our series—itself predicated on defiance of the Travel Ban’s broader agenda—the performers’ insistence on their right to share their music freely, and moreover that we focus on their music and not on their biographies or birthplaces, becomes paramount. This form of resistance is no less potent, and presents advantages for those more directly vulnerable under the current administration. The refusal to engage is a rejection of false categories rooted in propaganda rather than reality.

    The very physical presence and proximity of the performers forces us to contend with human beings rather than abstracted ideals. The bodies on the stage in front of us defy and deny erasure. We watch them breathe and we see them perspire. They speak to us and we to them, and all the while their humanity is foregrounded, demanding that we reconcile the one-dimensional racist stereotypes this administration pushes with the living people we see. The message is unavoidable—policies impact people.

    The multicultural influences embraced by these performers complicates the current administration’s reductive narrative of an evil other. This too is resistance. Multiculturalism—practiced here on the level of the individual—reflects the global ethos of the concert series. We’re confronted with the porous nature of artificial genre boundaries, the ease with which performers cross musical borders, and the compelling artistic reasons to do so. Through Music of the Travel Ban, we come to understand that a construct like the music of Syria is problematic, that defining something necessarily circumscribes and therefore reduces it. And just what does it mean to be of a place?

    The series opened with a performance by Huda Asfour and Kamyar Arsani, whose music has a visceral, teetering-on-edge power coursing throughout. Its particular urgency doesn’t feel native to the classical Arabic traditions they both grew up listening to and eventually learned to perform. Instead, this rawness derives from their love of punk rock and their deliberate efforts to incorporate its attitude, aesthetic, and energy in their own music. By combining elements from these seemingly disparate genres, the duo successfully forges a musical identity that resonates strongly with a number of cultures without being bound to any of them.

    Asfour and Arsani exemplify the multicultural in music in a very literal way when choosing to play Bint El Shalabiya. With early roots in Andalusia, which at the time housed Jews, Christians, and Muslims simultaneously, this tune spread throughout Arabic countries and beyond, appearing in Turkey, Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, Iran, India, and Greece, among others. Asfour and Arsani discovered this cultural overlap during a fortuitous moment in a free-form jam and have since uncovered still more versions of the tune in additional countries. By explaining this intercultural context before performing their own version of the tune, the duo reminds us just how historically interconnected traditions can be.

    Lubana Al Quntar, who performed on the second concert along with Eylem Basaldi and April Centrone, is in many ways a living realization of what musical multiculturalism can be. In addition to her extensive background in traditional Arabic vocal performance, the Syrian native is the first woman of her country to earn international acclaim as a professional opera singer. This allows her to create cultural overlaps where none seem to exist. Responding to Al Quntar’s performance of Puccini’s Sola, perduta, abbandonata, an audience member described the transformative impact the experience had on her own cultural understanding, saying, “I grew up very proud of Arabic music and thinking it was the best. But when I heard you sing the opera, I realized there was another side of you that couldn’t be expressed by Arabian music but needed the opera. I think it was very beautiful.” Nor was such an epiphany unique to this woman, or its direction exclusively from Arabic music to opera. Venturing beyond the dictums of genre opens up otherwise hard-to-access musical worlds. We tend to be receptive towards something new if we can understand it within the context of something familiar. Musicians like Al Quntar, who occupy these different musical worlds simultaneously, can help to facilitate this move beyond the familiar and into the new.

    The solo act for the third Music of the Travel Ban concert, Jorge Glem, is a living legend on the cuatro, the four-stringed instrument that is so fundamental to Venezuelan culture that it adorns the walls of many homes throughout the country. Along with prodigious, forward-looking techniques, Glem’s revolutionary approach to the cuatro is defined by his ceaseless incorporation of different styles of music into the traditional repertoire. Describing how he cultivated his own style, Glem stated, “I felt it necessary to play on the cuatro what I listen to on the iPod.” He brands non-traditional music with a characteristic Venezuelan sound while simultaneously continuing to transform traditional music. One such multicultural mashup was Glem’s version of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, replete with blistering bebop solos redolent of Charlie Parker and accompanied by a “salsa army” of short, percussion-derived loops played on the cuatro and looped on the fly. By transcending both geographic and stylistic borders, Glem opens up new paths for Venezuelan music and for music globally.

    Amy K. Bormet, along with Karine Chapdelaine and Ana Barreiro, led a cosmopolitan jazz trio on the fourth concert. Although a last-minute line-up change dissolved the explicit tie-in to the Travel Ban theme, this concert was the first to feature an open denouncement of the Travel Ban. Bormet used her position of privilege to speak as an ally, condemning Trump, his administration, and the Ban. Turning one of the conservative criticisms of migration on its head, she urged us to “be grateful for the people who’ve decided to come and live here.”

    Even as her actions embody our idea of what commonly constitutes resistance, Bormet uses music to reinforce her advocacy. Prefacing her slow, contemplative performance of America the Beautiful by calling for all of us to “take ownership of our country,” Bormet challenged us to discover ways in which we too can advocate for our values. The deliberate inclusion of an established patriotic symbol like America the Beautiful within the Music of the Travel Ban series is a political statement, and one Bormet reinforced by speaking explicitly about the valuable historical and ongoing roles that immigrants play in our country. Trump’s vision of a beautiful America is a bleached one, the Travel Ban in full effect, a giant wall to our south, and all refugees, asylum seekers, TPS-holders, and undocumented immigrants summarily vanished. Bormet presents her vision of a beautiful, inclusive America through her framing of the tune so that we conflate America the beautiful with a “nation of immigrants.”

    Music is a medium through which we share our cultural experience and share in the cultural experience of others. Its communal identity becomes a celebration of the I, the you, and the we. Through Music of the Travel Ban, we reflect on how we define ourselves as a country, how we reconcile ideas and ideals of freedom, brotherhood, and equality with religious persecution, racism, and systemic inequality. That these values have in practice never been as inclusive as they should have been does not make these latest aggressions any less egregious, nor suggest that we cease striving to reach these ideals.

    Music of the Travel Ban arose out of the crossroads of frustration and incredulity, a speculative “what if” that grew into eight concerts, the first four of which I’ve described here. The near-constant shocks that blast throughout the country via indecorous and vitriolic tweets, blatant and continual lies, and an endless cycle of cabinet scandals keep everyone off balance and anxious. Some consider this presidency a storm to be weathered rather than confronted, but this only works as long as you’re not directly in its path. We hope our series will inspire others to consider again the resources available to them and to speak out against injustice when they encounter it. We all have a personal responsibility for this country’s trajectory; if we lay claim to its successes, then we must own its failures. Music of the Travel Ban is our proclamation to all that “you are welcome here.”

    See the full article here.


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    At NEWMUSICUSA, we see ourselves first and foremost as advocates. Our mission is to support and promote new music created in the United States. We do that in many ways, fostering connections, deepening knowledge, encouraging appreciation, and providing financial support. In recognition of the possibility and power inherent in the virtual world, we’ve worked to build a strong internet platform to serve our constituency. And that constituency is broad and diverse, from composers and performers to presenters and producers, casual listeners to die-hard fans. We’re truly committed to serving the WHOLE new music community.

    As we go about our work, we make a point of not defining too precisely what we mean by new music. To define is to limit. It’s a spectacular time for musical creativity in part because so much music is being made that isn’t bound by conventional limitations of style or genre or background. The music that we hear being created in such abundance all around us is definition enough. We simply want it to flourish.

    We’re fortunate to have as our legacy the history of previous decades of good works done by the American Music Center and Meet The Composer, the two great organizations that merged to form us in 2011. Their legacies have also brought a small financial endowment that mostly helps support our grantmaking. But we’re not a foundation. We depend decisively each year on the generosity of so many institutions and individuals around the country who are dedicated as we are to the advancement of new music and are devoted to supporting our work.

    New Music USA is part of an international community of advocates for the arts. We’re members of the Performing Arts Alliance, the International Association of Music Information Centres, and the International Society for Contemporary Music. Those partnerships help us represent the interests of our constituents at every level.

    John Schaefer


    For new music by living composers

    newsounds.org from New York Public Radio


    https://www.wnyc.org/
    93.9FM
    https://www.wqxr.org/
    105.9FM
    http://www.thegreenespace.org/

    For great Jazz

    88.3FM http://wbgo.org/

    WPRB 103.3FM

    Dan Buskirk Spinning Jazz Mondays 11:00AM-1:00PM
    Will Constantine Jr, Blues Bop and Beyond Thursdays 11:00-2:00 featuring Latin Jazz
    Jerry Gordon Serenade to a Cookoo Frdays 11:00AM-2:00PM with Jerry’s Room at 1:00Pm
    Jeannie Becker Sunday Jazz 10:00AM-1:00Pm


    Please visit The Jazz Loft Project based on the work of Sam Stephenson
    Please visit The Jazz Loft Radio project from New York Public Radio

     
  • richardmitnick 12:12 PM on June 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Live Streaming 102: Hosting Preparing and Advertising Your Live Stream, NEWMUSICBOX   

    From NEWMUSICBOX: “Live Streaming 102: Hosting, Preparing, and Advertising Your Live Stream” 

    New Music USA


    From NEWMUSICBOX

    2
    Image: Sticker Mule

    June 11, 2018
    Adam Schumaker

    For those who are ready to add live streaming to their concert presentations, there are a pile of technical preparations and considerations to think through. Before we delve into the technology behind live streaming, let’s look at where it will be hosted.

    Hosting your live video

    The goal of live streaming is to reach people. To reach people, go where the people are. More specifically, go where your people are. Make it easy for your existing audience and your potential fans to find your live video by hosting it where they gather, and linking the video to as many other locations as possible. Personally, I have streamed to Facebook Live, YouTube, UStream, and Livestream.com. The DIY composer in me suggests you go with the free services like Facebook and YouTube. The tech-geek administrator in me likes how Livestream.com works. So let’s start with the free services. But before we do that, it’s important to know a bit of technical lingo.

    Streaming Connections

    In the next installment, we will look at how to stream with iOS and other mobile devices and beyond. Many simple stream connections can be created using just the phone in your pocket, but it’s helpful to be familiar with a different type of connection: RTMP.

    Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) is simply the way audio and video are streamed over the internet. All streaming to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter can be done via RTMP. Regardless of what you are using as an encoder, all you need for RTMP streaming is the “server URL” and the “Stream name/key.”

    The YouTube menu [YouTube → Creator Studio → Live Streaming] looks like this:

    3

    The Facebook menu looks like this:

    4

    Facebook, YouTube, and paid providers all have RTMP connections. This means that you can stream to the platform without a mobile device. Instead, you can use external cameras that send video to external encoders for fancier multi-camera systems. For the novice, try using a mobile device for your first live streaming projects. For those seeking multi-camera and alternative connections, understand which platforms are able to connect to your encoder via RTMP.

    Facebook Live

    Facebook Live is a go-to streaming platform because just about everyone is on it. With close to 2 billion users, chances are, most of your friends are on it. Despite recent changes in the algorithm, the delivery system is effective. Plus, people know how to find you and your page, and you, or a social media assistant, can feverishly share the link with other pages once it goes live.

    In my experience, although Facebook live is great at reaching people, the watch times are usually less than those captured via other platforms. Maybe it’s because we are all trained to scroll through our Facebook feeds for the next thing, or maybe the compression Facebook applies to the live videos is less appealing. The average Facebook view times have been clocking in around 1 minute per view. I like to think of Facebook Live as pure marketing rather than a true audience connection.

    For best practices, including tech specs (which will be covered next week), read this Facebook article.

    YouTube

    We typically don’t think of YouTube as a social network, but it is. If you have taken time to recruit subscribers to your channel, they will typically receive notifications when you are live, depending on their personal settings.

    YouTube has many perks over Facebook:

    1.) When you drive people to your YouTube live link via your other social media accounts and email, they statistically stay longer.

    2.) Unlike Facebook, you can embed your YouTube video link into your website, found in the “advanced settings” of the live page.

    3.) YouTube can stream at higher resolutions than Facebook’s 720p. Live streams also populate to your YouTube channel for future views, embedding, and sharing.

    Twitter & Instagram

    These social media platforms are less known for streaming, and honestly less known to me. Perhaps these platforms are ripe with opportunity! For Twitter, read How to create live videos on Twitter. For RTMP streaming to Twitter, read this article. Twitter can also connect directly with Periscope, a streaming network. For Instagram, the live video feature is part of the “stories” section of the app.

    All of these networks are less known for music, but as expressed previously, if your audience is there, then by all means stream there!

    Paid Hosting Services

    When I started streaming with The Gilmore Keyboard Festival, we chose Livestream.com as our video streaming host. This was partially because the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and several other classical music organizations used Livestream.com as their streaming host. At the time, Facebook Live and other young streaming platforms were difficult to access when using a more traditional camera setup, instead of mobile technology.

    There are a few good reasons businesses use Livestream.com as a hosting service.

    1.) These platforms offer excellent analytics, including time viewed; regions down to country, state, city; ways the stream was accessed; and on what kind of device the stream was viewed.

    2.) They can store videos, published or unpublished, and allow the embedding of these videos onto websites.

    3.) Simulcasting, which deserves its own header.

    Simulcasting

    Simulcasting is simply the simultaneous broadcasting of the video signal to multiple destinations. Social media platforms do not simulcast. Paid hosting services can. Using Livestream.com as an example, it is possible to send multiple video streams to multiple destinations at the same time. This multiplies the reach of a live stream by however many simulcasts you have access to.

    For my work with The Gilmore, we try to gain distribution through the Facebook page of the artist, the venue, presenting partners, as well as our own, resulting in a minimum of four simultaneous live streams. The increase in viewership is impressive.

    Interestingly, Livestream.com does not allow simulcasting to YouTube and Facebook, but it does allow YouTube and Twitter, or multiple Facebook pages. It’s also important to note that Livestream.com doesn’t allow RTMP connections without subscribing at one of the highest levels.

    In the next article, we will briefly touch upon hard-wiring a simulcast, if you want to step up your live stream reach without purchasing a broadcaster subscription service to do the simulcasting for you.

    Reaching Your Audience

    With marketing, usually the more you can do, the better. Assuming you are a one-person show or a small team, I recommend marketing your live stream alongside your live performance, in as many digital places as you can.

    Facebook Events are a great way to connect with your friends on Facebook, and remind them that they can join the event from afar because it will notify them of the live stream. The live stream link and info can also be posted inside the event. Facebook also keeps great stats. More importantly, if you can get a few people to co-host your event on Facebook, you will greatly expand your reach, your ability to invite audiences in your hosts’ networks, and you will also have multiple destinations for your stream (on the co-hosts’ pages).

    Twitter is more immediate, so a little pre-tweeting and then live tweeting during your event, with links to the stream, can help move online traffic to your live stream.

    Email is still a powerful source of reaching people. If you haven’t already started a virtual mailing list, now is a great time to do so! Emailing your audience about the concert, including the live stream link prior to and near the time of the event, will help bolster your stream audience.

    Blog about your concert and live stream. If you cannot get an interview on a friend’s blog, a local media interview (radio/tv/podcast), or an article in a reputable publication, then you must do it yourself! Create an interesting discussion about your upcoming concert and make sure to including streaming links, and how and where to launch the live stream.

    Recap

    There are many places to host your live stream. It can be overwhelming. I recommend you find the platform where your audience is, and host your streams there so they are accessible to the most people who support you. Then make sure you review the ins and outs of creating a live stream on your desired platform. Next week, we will cover the technology behind DIY live streaming, including some tech suggestions that I have personally used or researched.

    See the full article here.


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    At NEWMUSICUSA, we see ourselves first and foremost as advocates. Our mission is to support and promote new music created in the United States. We do that in many ways, fostering connections, deepening knowledge, encouraging appreciation, and providing financial support. In recognition of the possibility and power inherent in the virtual world, we’ve worked to build a strong internet platform to serve our constituency. And that constituency is broad and diverse, from composers and performers to presenters and producers, casual listeners to die-hard fans. We’re truly committed to serving the WHOLE new music community.

    As we go about our work, we make a point of not defining too precisely what we mean by new music. To define is to limit. It’s a spectacular time for musical creativity in part because so much music is being made that isn’t bound by conventional limitations of style or genre or background. The music that we hear being created in such abundance all around us is definition enough. We simply want it to flourish.

    We’re fortunate to have as our legacy the history of previous decades of good works done by the American Music Center and Meet The Composer, the two great organizations that merged to form us in 2011. Their legacies have also brought a small financial endowment that mostly helps support our grantmaking. But we’re not a foundation. We depend decisively each year on the generosity of so many institutions and individuals around the country who are dedicated as we are to the advancement of new music and are devoted to supporting our work.

    New Music USA is part of an international community of advocates for the arts. We’re members of the Performing Arts Alliance, the International Association of Music Information Centres, and the International Society for Contemporary Music. Those partnerships help us represent the interests of our constituents at every level.

    John Schaefer


    For new music by living composers

    newsounds.org from New York Public Radio


    https://www.wnyc.org/
    93.9FM
    https://www.wqxr.org/
    105.9FM
    http://www.thegreenespace.org/

    For great Jazz

    88.3FM http://wbgo.org/

    WPRB 103.3FM

    Dan Buskirk Spinning Jazz Mondays 11:00AM-1:00PM
    Will Constantine Jr, Blues Bop and Beyond Thursdays 11:00-2:00 featuring Latin Jazz
    Jerry Gordon Serenade to a Cookoo Frdays 11:00AM-2:00PM with Jerry’s Room at 1:00Pm
    Jeannie Becker Sunday Jazz 10:00AM-1:00Pm


    Please visit The Jazz Loft Project based on the work of Sam Stephenson
    Please visit The Jazz Loft Radio project from New York Public Radio

     
  • richardmitnick 9:34 PM on June 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Live Streaming 101: Why Live Stream?", NEWMUSICBOX   

    From NEWMUSICBOX: “Live Streaming 101: Why Live Stream?” 

    New Music USA


    From NEWMUSICBOX

    June 4, 2018
    Adam Schumaker

    When I jumped into live streaming in 2013, I had no idea what I was doing—and my first stream featured a world-renowned pianist performing in a packed hall. The Gilmore Keyboard Festival, where I am on staff, was presenting a concert to the community featuring Kirill Gerstein. Because the concert was being offered free to the public, someone at a staff meeting asked, “Can we live stream this concert?” And from the silence, I blurted out, “Yes!”

    At the time, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra had been live streaming concerts for two years. Today, they are a leader in classical music live streaming, presenting around 30 concerts a year online. At The Gilmore, however, live streaming repeatedly brought up one major concern. This concern resonated throughout the office, though I didn’t believe it to be true:

    “If we offer the concert for free online, won’t it negatively impact ticket sales?”

    Despite this resistance, streaming a concert live to the internet became a small obsession of mine. With some help from the local Public Media Network, great audio engineers, and the world-class performances at The Gilmore, I managed to get our concerts online, with high-quality audio and multi-camera shoots.

    As I gained experience managing small teams of videographers and audio engineers, I learned the ins and outs of the technology, the philosophy, and the social media impact. I even found ways to live stream my own new music concerts—without breaking the bank.


    1hr 15 min

    Building off my presentation at the New Music Gathering in Boston this year, during the month of June, I will explore why to live stream, preparing and advertising a live stream, the technology behind various live streaming set-ups, and how to begin collaborating with individuals or organizations to maximize reach and impact.

    New Music Gathering 2018

    Why live stream?

    If you somehow missed the memo, video consumption is, and has been, on the rise. In 2017, Facebook Live broadcasts quadrupled and 3.25 billion hours of video are watched on YouTube each month. From a marketing perspective, having video content is a no-brainer. But live streaming is a little different.

    Live streaming—the act of broadcasting an event in real-time—gives us the unique opportunity to capitalize on the energy of a live performance, while enabling others outside of our community to participate. With advances in technology, it has also become increasingly easy to broadcast live video to the internet.

    By live streaming our music, we gain the following:

    Expansion of reach and visibility (marketing, social media, locations, networks)
    Accessibly for both our current audience and potential future audience
    Increasing trust and loyalty from our fans
    Excellent content for later use (YouTube channel, website, grant proposals, sharing)

    But what about the impact on ticket sales? This is where you need to trust your audience. I would argue that most people are cognizant of the uniqueness of a live concert experience. Given a choice and with no outside barriers, most people would choose a live event over a video version of it. By offering live streams of your events at no charge, you are trusting that the audience members you have will continue to buy tickets if they can. The benefit of the stream then becomes the ability to engage the dedicated fans who just couldn’t be there (thus allowing them to continue to participate in the experience), while also potentially reaching future audience members who are not fans—yet.

    FOMO and concert attendance

    Although research is limited, current case studies and surveys point to the same conclusion: after watching a live-streamed concert, viewers are more likely purchase tickets to future concerts. It’s like giving a sample of something delicious at Costco.

    It’s important to note that many reports come from service providers like Livestream.com, who are trying to sell their services. Still, according to their 2017 survey, “67% of viewers are more likely to buy a ticket to a similar event after watching a live video.” The idea is simple: viewing a great live stream allows current fans to engage with a concert they would probably not have been able to attend otherwise, and allows potential fans to get a sample of a live event they may want to attend in the future. You are building community.

    You’re also working off two sides of FOMO. If you’ve managed to avoid current slang and abbreviations, FOMO is the “fear of missing out.” Regardless of what one thinks about FOMO’s powers of motivation, it is a factor at work that everyone on social media experiences at some level. By live streaming your concerts, you can increase FOMO for those who are on the fence about attending your upcoming programming. On the other hand, you may also be able to dissipate some of those FOMO feelings via the live stream by giving your dedicated fans a way to participate, despite not being there.

    Post-Stream Benefits

    After the live-stream event (and the real-life concert), the video lives on, and some algorithms, like those on Facebook, perpetuate the views for a short while, reminding people of what they missed the night before. If you captured audience emails at your concert, you could send attendees a thank you email with a link to the video. You can also send the video to friends and colleagues who couldn’t be there.

    The most important post-stream benefit is the content you’ve created. If you get the chance to clean and mix the audio and re-sync to the video, you have an entire concert to segment into individual pieces for your YouTube channel, your website, portfolio submissions, etc.

    Recommendations:

    Make sure all content stakeholders are aware and in agreement about how the captured media will be used and distributed well in advance.
    Don’t repost the entire concert in full. Only keep the entire performance video up as a result of the live stream.
    Segment out individual pieces and create a lead in and a closer for each video, with proper credits to performers, composers, and technicians as text overlays.
    Develop a channel/page where all of your media lives.
    Use the reposting of video content to strategically activate your social media or blog/newsletter presence.

    Upcoming articles

    Next week, we will discuss technical preparation, advertising, basic artist agreements, and a complete guide to hosting your stream on different platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter/Periscope, and other streaming hosting services.

    See the full article here.


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    At NEWMUSICUSA we see ourselves first and foremost as advocates. Our mission is to support and promote new music created in the United States. We do that in many ways, fostering connections, deepening knowledge, encouraging appreciation, and providing financial support. In recognition of the possibility and power inherent in the virtual world, we’ve worked to build a strong internet platform to serve our constituency. And that constituency is broad and diverse, from composers and performers to presenters and producers, casual listeners to die-hard fans. We’re truly committed to serving the WHOLE new music community.

    As we go about our work, we make a point of not defining too precisely what we mean by new music. To define is to limit. It’s a spectacular time for musical creativity in part because so much music is being made that isn’t bound by conventional limitations of style or genre or background. The music that we hear being created in such abundance all around us is definition enough. We simply want it to flourish.

    We’re fortunate to have as our legacy the history of previous decades of good works done by the American Music Center and Meet The Composer, the two great organizations that merged to form us in 2011. Their legacies have also brought a small financial endowment that mostly helps support our grantmaking. But we’re not a foundation. We depend decisively each year on the generosity of so many institutions and individuals around the country who are dedicated as we are to the advancement of new music and are devoted to supporting our work.

    New Music USA is part of an international community of advocates for the arts. We’re members of the Performing Arts Alliance, the International Association of Music Information Centres, and the International Society for Contemporary Music. Those partnerships help us represent the interests of our constituents at every level.

    John Schaefer


    For new music by living composers

    newsounds.org from New York Public Radio


    https://www.wnyc.org/
    93.9FM
    https://www.wqxr.org/
    105.9FM
    http://www.thegreenespace.org/

    For great Jazz

    88.3FM http://wbgo.org/

    WPRB 103.3FM

    Dan Buskirk Spinning Jazz Mondays 11:00AM-1:00PM
    Will Constantine Jr, Blues Bop and Beyond Thursdays 11:00-2:00 featuring Latin Jazz
    Jerry Gordon Serenade to a Cookoo Frdays 11:00AM-2:00PM with Jerry’s Room at 1:00Pm
    Jeannie Becker Sunday Jazz 10:00AM-1:00Pm


    Please visit The Jazz Loft Project based on the work of Sam Stephenson
    Please visit The Jazz Loft Radio project from New York Public Radio

     
  • richardmitnick 3:04 PM on June 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: An Ode to Pride Month, NEWMUSICBOX   

    From NEWMUSICBOX: “An Ode to Pride Month” 

    New Music USA


    From NEWMUSICBOX

    June 7, 2018
    Cas Martin

    1
    Image: Jens Thekkeveettil

    I used to hate talking about my major. Like many of my peers, I’ve learned to expect unpleasant responses when I say that I study music. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told that I’m going to end up living under a bridge with my trombone, that there’s no money in music, and that I’d be better off pursuing a degree in medicine or law. With time and patience, I’ve learned to smile and nod my way through these conversations. But sometimes, there’s a follow-up question that still makes my stomach churn: “Where do you go to school?”

    This dread isn’t due to a lack of pride in my institution. I’ve adored Smith College since the moment I set foot on its campus, and its music department has come to be my second family. However, there’s a major drawback to attending this elite women’s college: I’m a transgender male. That means I was born biologically female, but I view and present myself as a male, and I am most comfortable using he/him pronouns. With the help of HRT (hormone replacement therapy) and surgery, I’ve finally attained the deep voice and masculine physique that make my body feel like my home. While physically transitioning has brought me endless joy, it has also presented substantial difficulty in my college career. Unless I lie and say that I attend a neighboring co-ed institution (or that I’m an engineering major), innocent questions like “what/where do you study?” often “out” me as a musician and as a transgender person. I’ve spoken with a few people who can’t decide which is worse.

    The countless times I’ve been forced to defend the validity of both my major and my gender have caused me to look more closely at the relationship between these two identities. Through meaningful discourse with other LGBTQ+ musicians, introspection on my own identity, and poring over endless pages of queer theory, I’ve come to realize that matters of music, gender, and sexuality are deeply intertwined in queer lives. My narrative is shared by countless other transgender and gender-nonconforming (GNC) artists. We grow up in despair, feeling trapped in bodies that do not feel comfortable and lacking the vocabulary to explain why. In the chaos of dysphoria and self-discovery, our instruments end up being our most faithful companions.

    Music is so crucial to trans/GNC people because it facilitates the creation of queer space. In lieu of a crash-course in queer theory, I’ll offer a definition of “queer space” as a space which is created and defined by the presence, expression, and/or empowerment of LGBTQ+ people. (Defining the word “queer” itself is a complicated process, as the term has a complicated history of discrimination and reclamation. For our purposes, I’ll use a definition of “queer” employed in many modern social and academic contexts: “not fitting cultural norms of sexuality and/or gender identity.”) Dedicated spaces like these are hard to come by, and are often inaccessible to those who haven’t come out yet. Playing music, however, gives trans/GNC individuals a valuable opportunity to be unapologetically loud and expressive in a cisnormative world which often tries to silence them. Maintaining an outlet to visibly express oneself without fear of violence or discrimination is crucial to the well-being of any person, but especially so for trans/GNC folks. For many of us, music is our only opportunity to feel empowered without feeling afraid. As we play, we fill the hall around us with our musical interpretations and emotions. Our music is a radical act: a consistent cultivator of precious queer space.

    Music also does the crucial work of creating supportive communities for trans/GNC people. For many young people, joining a school band or choir is often an important step in forming a sense of belonging and group identity. In addition to offering a brief solace from the trials of adolescence, these musical opportunities foster collaborative relationships. This is a critical opportunity for trans/GNC youth, who often feel isolated from their cisgender peers and are overwhelmingly depressed as a result. I shudder to think where I might be without the support of my high school bandmates and directors. As I grappled with the confusion and discomfort of figuring out who I really was, music gave me the structure, stability, and support that I needed to survive. Most importantly, when I was questioning whether life was even worth this troubling business of self-discovery, music gave me a sense of purpose. I didn’t know what my gender was, but I did know that I was the lead trombonist in the jazz band: a role that gave me an identity and a motivation to get out of bed every morning. My sense of belonging in the band was the foundation for my sense of belonging in the world.

    This reflection on the importance of music in my queer life comes at an appropriate time. June is Pride Month: a time dedicated to LGBTQ+ communities in honor of the 1969 Stonewall riots. As I celebrate both my musical and queer identities, I also mourn the fact that not all trans/GNC youth have access to supportive artistic communities like I did. It pains me to think of how many young people are forced to hide their authentic selves without any opportunity for relief. With limited resources for healthcare, education, or emotional support in a tumultuous political climate, trans/GNC students are feeling increasingly unsafe and unwelcome in their schools and the country at large. Now more than ever, it is imperative that the artistic programs which serve trans/GNC youth remain intact. Music presents a unique opportunity for community building and self-expression that can be life-changing for a transgender child. Its accessibility could prove invaluable for trans/GNC students’ continued success, comfort, and even survival. This Pride Month is not just a celebration: it is a call to action.

    See the full article here.


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    At NEWMUSICUSA, we see ourselves first and foremost as advocates. Our mission is to support and promote new music created in the United States. We do that in many ways, fostering connections, deepening knowledge, encouraging appreciation, and providing financial support. In recognition of the possibility and power inherent in the virtual world, we’ve worked to build a strong internet platform to serve our constituency. And that constituency is broad and diverse, from composers and performers to presenters and producers, casual listeners to die-hard fans. We’re truly committed to serving the WHOLE new music community.

    As we go about our work, we make a point of not defining too precisely what we mean by new music. To define is to limit. It’s a spectacular time for musical creativity in part because so much music is being made that isn’t bound by conventional limitations of style or genre or background. The music that we hear being created in such abundance all around us is definition enough. We simply want it to flourish.

    We’re fortunate to have as our legacy the history of previous decades of good works done by the American Music Center and Meet The Composer, the two great organizations that merged to form us in 2011. Their legacies have also brought a small financial endowment that mostly helps support our grantmaking. But we’re not a foundation. We depend decisively each year on the generosity of so many institutions and individuals around the country who are dedicated as we are to the advancement of new music and are devoted to supporting our work.

    New Music USA is part of an international community of advocates for the arts. We’re members of the Performing Arts Alliance, the International Association of Music Information Centres, and the International Society for Contemporary Music. Those partnerships help us represent the interests of our constituents at every level.

    John Schaefer


    For new music by living composers

    newsounds.org from New York Public Radio


    https://www.wnyc.org/
    93.9FM
    https://www.wqxr.org/
    105.9FM
    http://www.thegreenespace.org/

    For great Jazz

    88.3FM http://wbgo.org/

    WPRB 103.3FM

    Dan Buskirk Spinning Jazz Mondays 11:00AM-1:00PM
    Will Constantine Jr, Blues Bop and Beyond Thursdays 11:00-2:00 featuring Latin Jazz
    Jerry Gordon Serenade to a Cookoo Frdays 11:00AM-2:00PM with Jerry’s Room at 1:00Pm
    Jeannie Becker Sunday Jazz 10:00AM-1:00Pm


    Please visit The Jazz Loft Project based on the work of Sam Stephenson
    Please visit The Jazz Loft Radio project from New York Public Radio

     
  • richardmitnick 1:42 PM on June 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Carol Ann Cheung, , NEWMUSICBOX   

    From NEWMUSICBOX: “Removing Barriers to New Music” 

    New Music USA


    From NEWMUSICBOX

    1

    May 24, 2018
    Carol Ann Cheung

    My job as a marketing communications manager at Boosey & Hawkes brings me out to multiple concerts a week, at venues large and small, fancy and scrappy, spread out around New York City. Still, you go to enough new music concerts and you start to notice a lot of the same faces. That’s not necessarily a bad thing—part of what I enjoy about this industry is its strong sense of community and support for one another’s work. But it begs the question: Can we develop a broader, more diverse audience base for the new music scene?

    As a marketing person, when I consider concert-marketing strategy it’s helpful to think about what barriers keep people from attending a concert, not just identifying the people who would likely come to a show.

    So what keeps people from checking out new music concerts?

    1. The Unknown. Will I like this music? What’s it sound like? Does anyone I know like this music? Contemporary music as a niche genre is a big risk with a lot of question marks, with generally lesser-known composer and performer names, and few points of reference in daily life for what the music sounds like. People want to know if they’re going to like something before they invest the time and money.

    Can we build points of reference? How much does your music overlap with a more traditional classical music sound, and how much does it overlap with other more broadly recognizable types of music, like pop, electronic, jazz, or rock? Can we appeal to the crossover nature of some of the music being produced today to reach a new audience through different channels, outlets, and creative collaborations?

    We should think about how to remove some of the unknowable risk of going into the concert experience. Can we make other aspects of a concert more familiar? An organization like Groupmuse is an example of making classical music less formal and bringing chamber music groups into people’s everyday lives and spaces. LoftOpera has made the experience of attending the opera feel like a huge warehouse party, something that can more easily align with a person’s lifestyle than, say, a standard opera performance. Several larger institutions like Carnegie Hall host free concerts in community venues that invite people who wouldn’t normally go to a concert hall to experience music in a more accessible space.

    2. Insecurity. Experiencing new music live can sometimes feel opaque. Will I understand what’s happening on stage? Do you need a degree in music in order to enjoy it? Will I get bored? Will I be uncomfortable?

    Those insecurities have proven time and again to be well founded, as new music is indeed often presented in an intimidating way. I once attended a concert that was marketed as welcoming to neighborhood community members and families with children. The lights went down, and two hours of continuous drone sounds passed in almost complete darkness. Then the lights came on and the show was over.

    Part of the problem is that even people within the new music scene are unwilling to admit when they don’t enjoy an experience (which feels unhealthy on many levels).

    How can we challenge and encourage each other to create better art and produce better, more welcoming concerts? Can we communicate what makes the music interesting both at the concert and ahead of time? Can we dive into a single moment in the music and share what’s meaningful about it?

    The podcast Meet the Composer with Nadia Sirota spotlights a composer in each episode, illuminating his or her history and mindset, and dives into the heart of what makes a piece of music so vital, interesting, and emotionally compelling. This past season, Alarm Will Sound presented a podcast-in-concert hosted by Sirota and Alan Pierson at Zankel Hall about the life and work of Gyorgy Ligeti. The performance portions of the evening were energized and informed by the exploration of the dramatic events in his life, and the format gave audience members points of connection from minute to minute.

    How else can we create the experiences you want to (and can) engage with?

    3. Not belonging. A very real barrier for many people is not seeing composers or performers who look like themselves—age, gender, or race-wise—represented on stage. People read this as a cue for whether or not they will feel like they belong at this concert and if there will be other people who look like them attending.

    Who are you inviting to your concerts? Whose events do you attend yourself? Who do you collaborate with? When we ask ourselves how to broaden our audience base, the best solution I’ve come across is to strengthen and expand our community from within, by seeking out and listening to the ideas and experiences of people from diverse backgrounds.

    Helga Davis discussed these questions, among many other illuminating matters of diversity, in her powerful keynote address at last week’s New Music Gathering.

    New Music Gathering 2018

    She challenged the audience to earnestly look at the makeup of the new music field and reflect on what the industry needs to do in order to connect with and be relevant to a larger community.

    One hour

    I’ve asked a lot of questions in this space, all summed up by this: How can we create a new music concert experience that is more welcoming, more engaging, and more inclusive? The new music industry has great potential to improve the classical music concert culture. Composers and musicians are already stepping out of the box to create music and experiences beyond the traditional setting, taking risks with the performance experience, and constantly grappling with how to move the art form forward.

    What are your thoughts for reaching new audiences? What concerts have you seen that made the music experience more engaging and welcoming?

    See the full article here.


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    At NewMusicUSA, we see ourselves first and foremost as advocates. Our mission is to support and promote new music created in the United States. We do that in many ways, fostering connections, deepening knowledge, encouraging appreciation, and providing financial support. In recognition of the possibility and power inherent in the virtual world, we’ve worked to build a strong internet platform to serve our constituency. And that constituency is broad and diverse, from composers and performers to presenters and producers, casual listeners to die-hard fans. We’re truly committed to serving the WHOLE new music community.

    As we go about our work, we make a point of not defining too precisely what we mean by new music. To define is to limit. It’s a spectacular time for musical creativity in part because so much music is being made that isn’t bound by conventional limitations of style or genre or background. The music that we hear being created in such abundance all around us is definition enough. We simply want it to flourish.

    We’re fortunate to have as our legacy the history of previous decades of good works done by the American Music Center and Meet The Composer, the two great organizations that merged to form us in 2011. Their legacies have also brought a small financial endowment that mostly helps support our grantmaking. But we’re not a foundation. We depend decisively each year on the generosity of so many institutions and individuals around the country who are dedicated as we are to the advancement of new music and are devoted to supporting our work.

    New Music USA is part of an international community of advocates for the arts. We’re members of the Performing Arts Alliance, the International Association of Music Information Centres, and the International Society for Contemporary Music. Those partnerships help us represent the interests of our constituents at every level.

    John Schaefer


    For new music by living composers

    newsounds.org from New York Public Radio


    https://www.wnyc.org/
    93.9FM
    https://www.wqxr.org/
    105.9FM
    http://www.thegreenespace.org/

    For great Jazz

    88.3FM http://wbgo.org/

    WPRB 103.3FM

    Dan Buskirk Spinning Jazz Mondays 11:00AM-1:00PM
    Will Constantine Jr, Blues Bop and Beyond Thursdays 11:00-2:00 featuring Latin Jazz
    Jerry Gordon Serenade to a Cookoo Frdays 11:00AM-2:00PM with Jerry’s Room at 1:00Pm
    Jeannie Becker Sunday Jazz 10:00AM-1:00Pm


    Please visit The Jazz Loft Project based on the work of Sam Stephenson
    Please visit The Jazz Loft Radio project from New York Public Radio

     
  • richardmitnick 5:10 PM on June 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , NEWMUSICBOX   

    From NEWMUSICBOX: “The Syncopated Stylings of Charles Wuorinen” 

    New Music USA


    From NEWMUSICBOX

    June 6, 2018
    Ethan Iverson

    Ethan Iverson 2016 photo by Jimmy Katz at http://www.jimmykatz.com, with permission

    Charles Wuorinen by Nina Roberts. jpg

    1

    When the arguments were over, only a few famous composers younger than Milton Babbitt and Elliott Carter remained committed to old-school high modernism. Two of the best were Peter Lieberson and Charles Wuorinen. Lieberson died in 2011 at 64, Wuorinen turns 80 on June 9.

    There were easy to bracket because they were friends, had a similar circle of New York City advocates, and shared something of an aesthetic trajectory inspired by the late music of Igor Stravinsky. Both Lieberson and Wuorinen had met Stravinsky in person and Vera Stravinsky asked Wuorinen to “finish” sketches from her late husband, which became his A Reliquary for Igor Stravinsky.

    Stravinsky had jumped into the twelve-tone pool after the passing of his rival Arnold Schoenberg, and his last great work, Requiem Canticles, is as instantly charismatic as dodecaphony has ever been. While the early works of Lieberson and Wuorinen are relentlessly esoteric products of the hardcore Babbitt school, at some point both followed Stravinsky’s lead into comparatively accessible territory. Lieberson worked on softening the lyric line, culminating in glorious song cycles for his wife Lorraine Hunt-Lieberson, and Wuorinen took on the challenge of creating modernist composition informed by perceptible pulsating rhythm.

    In his way, Wuorinen’s “perceptible pulsating rhythm” was a return to ragtime. Before Babbitt and Carter, American formal composition frequently contained the echo of Scott Joplin, a patron saint of Charles Ives, Conlon Nancarrow, George Gershwin, Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, and Leonard Bernstein.

    This ragtime perspective also fit with the Stravinsky influence, as Stravinsky found syncopation a natural source for his cubist phrases. Perhaps Stravinsky’s Movements for Piano and Orchestra is close to Babbitt’s rigorous discontinuity, but much else in the Stravinsky canon has a taste of ragtime, especially after he emigrated to America. Ebony Concerto (written for the Woody Herman band) is still one of best pieces in the conventional European concert idiom scored for jazz ensemble, and Stravinsky’s late non-tonal Agon (made famous by the George Balanchine ballet) is full of syncopation.

    Wynton Marsalis says of The Rite of Spring: “Stravinsky turned European music over with a backbeat. Check it out. What they thought was weird and primitive was just a Negro beat on the bass drum.” If we pressed Marsalis further, he certainly would add there’s actually no “just” about that “Negro beat.” Asking musicians who are most comfortable with the European tradition to play with a groove is dicey territory. For that matter, composers themselves have seldom allowed a drummer to make up their own part.

    Film composer Howard Shore had this to say about his experience trying to find an authentic “feel” for the soundtrack for Ed Wood:

    “Beatnik dance music—a conga player and a bongo player. At the time I recorded the score there were no studios available in Los Angeles…We ended up going to England—I recorded the score with the London Philharmonic—and it was very fortunate that we did. The British percussionists were so square, but it was the perfect sound! The bongo player was English! He was a good player and a good musician, just a little square, a little straight. In Los Angeles, they probably would have been too hip. As soon as I heard this English guy, I thought, oh, we’re so lucky to have this guy play this bongo track.”

    This “a little square” place is important to the soundscape of 20th-century American formal composition. It isn’t as rhythmically profound as jazz or hip hop (or another dozen American musics); it is simply basic syncopations and polyrhythms played “correctly.” The outsized pop version is found in musical theater. Leonard Bernstein is the emperor of that uninitiated energy—West Side Story is never better than when done by a college group—but a dollop of that “naive swing” has been a factor in many good performances of American concert music from Ives onward.

    To bring this back to Wuorinen: the default setting of high modernism is Very Serious Indeed. Wuorinen’s post-Stravinsky “perceptible pulsating rhythm” pieces are Very Serious, but they also ask for European-style concert musicians to drive syncopations in a reasonably straight line, or at least straight enough for Wuorinen to claim they are “a hip-swinging wing-ding” (his comment on the finale to the Third Piano Concerto).

    Honestly, it is as goofy as hell but remains a pleasure to listen to, especially for those who want to clear their ears out with some proper atonality once in a while. Like West Side Story, these pieces are well suited to talented college students who are reveling in their vitality: YouTube is full of smart kids nailing difficult Wuorinen scores.

    For my own private 80th Wuorinen birthday celebration, I’ve been repeatedly listening to four works from the early ’80s, when he seemed to give high modernism a proper injection of “ragtime.” I imagine the composer’s smile hanging over the proceedings like a 12-tone Cheshire Cat.

    2

    The Blue Bamboula (1980)

    Wuorinen has four pieces with “Bamboula” in the title. This is a tip of the hat to Scott Joplin’s notable predecessor Louis Moreau Gottschalk, who’s once-famous Bamboula from 1848 is a fantasy on two Creole themes.

    Commissioned by Ursula Oppens, The Blue Bamboula is, in Wuorinen’s words, “A single-movement piece in which I tried to respond to Oppens’s request that the work embody the spirit of an earlier work of mine, the Grand Bamboula of 1971.” Amusingly, a quote from Tchaikovsky is fed through the modernist meat grinder. Carla Bley told Amy Beal, “To me, the piece Blue Bamboula with Garrick Ohlsson playing it, is the best piece of piano music in the world.” At one point I had a playlist of the Ohlsson and Oppens performances in rotation. Both are beautiful. (This was before the comparatively recent Molly Morkoski issue, which is also excellent.) It didn’t take long before my ears tuned up enough that I could follow the narrative smoothly: The whole work might be seen as a move from C to D-flat, and Wuorinen even gives a few repeat signs near the end.

    Admittedly, if you aren’t intrigued by the style to begin with, the surface of The Blue Bamboula may still seem incoherent. It’s possible that high modernism is mostly for fellow professionals. Steve Swallow said about Carla Bley: “She has perfect pitch and can sing the notes in the voicing of incredibly dense harmonies. I’ve heard her do this to music of Charles Wuorinen, perhaps her favorite composer.”

    New York Notes (1982)

    Violinist Miranda Cuckson suggested I listen to this piece, which has attained the status of a classic. There are two excellent recordings. It’s common at colleges, and was one of the earliest pieces rehearsed by the important new music group eighth blackbird. For his 60th birthday it was played by the New York New Music Ensemble at the Kaye Playhouse, and for his 75th, the composer conducted it at the Guggenheim.

    New York Notes refers to New York New Music Ensemble, who commissioned the work, but it is also the title of a book by celebrated New Yorker critic Whitney Balliett: New York Notes: A Journal of Jazz, 1972-1975. I doubt Wuorinen was attempting to make a connection to Balliett, but nonetheless there are many pretty jazz chords in Wuorinen’s chamber piece. Of the Wuorinen I know, New York Notes is the closest to Peter Lieberson, who was perhaps the greatest American master of sensuous, “jazzy” atonality.

    Wuorinen writes, “The six members of the ensemble (flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, percussion) are all engaged in virtuoso play, but I also think of their music as comprising three duets of the related pairs of instruments, as well as six solos.” This explanation may obscure the real fun of New York Notes, which is simply that almost all fast-moving material is doubled. Usually “duets” in new music-speak means conversation and counterpoint, but not here, where “duets” literally means, “play the exact same material.”

    For the first recording with New York New Music Ensemble, Daniel Druckman does a herculean job of managing all the percussion himself. On the later version with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, there are two percussionists and a few intriguing “cadenzas” from computer generated sounds.

    It might be a stretch to say that New York Notes is “grooving,” but the rhythmic excitement is palpable. The phrases are usually in obvious duples like sixteenth notes and the occasional triplet. Wuorinen told Tim Page in 1989: “From my vantage point, it is a little difficult to say what’s happened—I’ve just kept on scribbling…. [but] my use of rhythm is more periodic, more regular, more intimately related to the background pulse than it used to be—which is a long, complicated, and rather pompous way of saying that the beat is clearer.”

    In New York Notes, that clearer beat powers near-vamps in the low registers and near-bebop at the top, perfect for the city of jazz, subways, and skyscrapers.

    Piano Concerto No. 3 (1983)

    It’s a hell of a thing. Garrick Ohlsson begins with an intense toccata that barely lets up. The percussion enters, tentatively at first, then swarming the pianist. A hypnotic slow movement gently pulses away before the coruscating finale. Like New York Notes, duples and doubling are major features: The piano plays almost the whole time and various sections of the orchestra double the piano exactly, especially in the outer movements. (This must have been a real help in rehearsal!) The language is of course atonal, but there are plenty of harmonic puns: The first movement ends with G major over D minor, the last ends with G minor over D major.

    As mentioned above, Wuorinen calls the finale “a hip-swinging wing-ding.” The rhythmic excitement is perfectly judged. It’s not too square, but there’s just enough “beat” to feel propulsion.

    It’s interesting to compare Peter Lieberson’s Piano Concerto played by Peter Serkin from the exact same vintage. Lieberson’s harmonies speak more naturally; they are perhaps more glamorous and “Stravinskyian” in the best sense, but Wuorinen has the syncopated edge. I have tried to listen to as many of the 20th-century piano concertos as possible, and there’s no doubt in my mind that Lieberson’s First and Wuorinen’s Third are two of the best.

    These composers were producing this great music on a reasonably well-lit platform. Ohlsson and Serkin were and are two beloved pianists, accompanied on record by Seji Ozawa/Boston Symphony and Herbert Blomstedt/San Francisco Symphony respectively. Lieberson’s concerto was commissioned for the Boston Symphony centennial, Wuorinen’s piece commissioned by a consortium of five orchestras. Both works were given technically insightful rave reviews by Andrew Porter in The New Yorker.

    That was then. At this point it is hard to imagine either concerto entering the general repertory, but I presume both composers were taking the long view and hoping to create music that will give at least a few people pleasure in perpetuity. The virtuosity of new music performers keeps improving (a process partially kickstarted in New York by the Group for Contemporary Music founded by Wuorinen and Harvey Sollberger in the early ’60s), and I suppose it is just barely possible that future young players will be able to put up a performance of Lieberson 1 or Wuorinen 3 as easily as Beethoven or Rachmaninoff. Time will tell. At this moment Wuorinen’s public face, a grouchy, “you kids get off my lawn” personality—a personality he seems to have had for decades, if not his whole life—has probably done harm to his status as an essential composer.

    Before the performance of Brokeback Mountain this past Monday night, Miranda Cuckson quickly introduced me to Mr. Wuorinen in the foyer of Jazz at Lincoln Center. The conversation went like this:

    EI: Hello! I’m a fan.

    CW: (grumpy) Hello.

    EI: I have the score to your Third Piano Concerto in my bag.

    CW: (less grumpy) Well, that’s an antique.

    EI: It seems like some of the same material is used in Spinoff.

    CW: (smiling) Yes! That’s true. I totally ripped off the Concerto for Spinoff. That was the same year.

    EI: Well. Thanks for all the music. You’ve written so much.

    CW: (grumpy) It’s not so much. I’m 80 and there are 275 pieces. But I do work all the time.

    Spinoff (1983)

    Patrick Zimmerli told me about this piece in 1992, so I searched out the Speculum Musicae 15th anniversary LP. Spinoff remains something I play for jazz students who are interested in combining modernist notes with pulsating rhythm. It’s only six minutes. For the first minute, the violin and bass sound like “normal” discontinuous modern music, but then Howard Shore’s beatnik conga enters and all bets are off. And, yes, a few of the lines are exactly the same as from the first movement of Piano Concerto No. 3.

    It’s appropriate to compare Spinoff to another valuable item for jazz students, All Set by Milton Babbitt. Spinoff might be a bit dorky, but All Set is more dorky. If this admittedly subjective judgment is true, it’s because the beatnik conga in Spinoff holds the thread together more convincingly than Babbitt’s fragmented drum set notation for All Set.

    Congas star in Spinoff, but over the years Wuorinen has written for the full percussion arsenal extensively—and well. In the liner note for his mammoth Percussion Symphony, Wuorinen says he likes drums not just for clarity, but for a “very ancient, layered set of associations, reaching well back into our distant past. Thus, modernity and antiquity are pleasingly conjoined.” Daniel Druckman (who recorded New York Notes for one percussionist) has said of Wuorinen, “He’s one of the two or three most important people for us in terms of central works and stretching the limits of what the instruments can do.” (See also Tyshawn Sorey’s note below.)

    The only professional recording of Spinoff remains the first by Benjamin Hudson, Donald Palma, and Joseph Passaro. It’s good (especially from Palma, who can play jazz), but upon finally looking at the score for the first time last week, I’ve realized that some of Wuorinen’s obvious syncopations could and should be articulated more clearly.

    Big Spinoff is a fun amplification of the work for Alarm Will Sound, which does justice to the “finger snapping” moments in the piece. AWS Artistic Director Alan Pierson explains, “AWS got excited about the idea of arranging it years ago. The propulsive energy and driving rhythms felt like a great match for us. We actually originally proposed doing the arrangement ourselves (Stefan Freund was gonna do it) and asked Charles’s permission. But he said he wanted to do it himself! And we love the result.”

    Peter Lieberson’s note to the original LP is now hard to find. After recapping Wuorinen’s relationships to Igor and Vera Stravinsky, Lieberson offers the following observation:

    Spinoff is itself replete with little homages: one cannot help but hear echoes of L’Histoire du Soldat, the music from scenes one and two, with the characteristic “breathy” rhythm of the violin against the regular pizzicati of the bass acting as a refrain throughout. The ending sounds like a pitched version of L’Histoire’s and there are other smoky echoes in the congas from Ebony Concerto. Because Wuorinen’s voice is strong and recognizably his, such homages are agreeable adornments to the direct and exuberant discourse.”

    If I’m arguing that Spinoff is at least a little bit goofy, there’s no way to leave out Cicadas of the Sea’s excerpt of Spinoff with vocalese and hand puppets.

    I have been re-listening to early ’80s Wuorinen because I’ve kept these pieces in rotation over the last 25 years. Since then, he hasn’t given up on a syncopated style—indeed, that aspect has proven perfect for several dance commissions—but among other things there has been an abundance of vocal music and an overt engagement with early European composers like Machaut and Josquin.

    At Rose Theater for Brokeback Mountain, there were several audience members in cowboy hats and jeans, apparently doing a kind of cosplay based on the hit movie. I hope they enjoyed the opera as much as I did. High modernism is a fabulous fit for the classic operatic themes of sex and death: indeed, I think opera might be the one place where a civilian can enjoy rigorous atonality as much as a professional. Unlike some reviewers, I didn’t find Brokeback overbearing or contrived. Indeed, there was a lightness in orchestration that suited the sparse set and simple story. There were even many comic moments… I mean, let’s face it, the meeting of cowboys and 12-tone music is already absurd and amusing. In the final analysis, I have only one criteria as to whether an opera is good: I need to be crying by the end, and Brokeback Mountain passed the test.

    A common interpretation of Schoenberg’s Moses Und Aron is that Schoenberg thought of himself as the mute prophet Moses, offering the glories of 12-tone music to a society mostly deaf to his vision. When the lonely rancher in Brokeback Mountain swears fidelity to his dead lover, it was easy to imagine the last remaining high modernist Charles Wuorinen promising continued fealty to his beloved palette of uncompromising sounds.

    Coda: With a canon as large as Wuorinen’s, it only makes sense that responses to his work will vary widely. On a hunch, I sent Tyshawn Sorey my piece and asked him if he found Wuorinen relevant. He replied:

    “In my view, not only is Wuorinen totally relevant to me, but his works should be considered relevant for anyone who is interested in the study and presentment of contemporary music! Wuorinen’s music has a very direct relationship to my life in several ways. I’m mostly familiar with his 60’s and 70’s work, both as a performer and as a listener. Not so much his music from, say, the late 80’s up to now, except for New York Notes, which I really like. Since we’re discussing his 1980s music, it was also a wonderful experience preparing his Trombone Trio (1985) for performance by myself on tenor trombone and two other professors at William Paterson University from the New Jersey New Music Ensemble (a sub-group from the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble), but further opportunities to rehearse and perform the piece together fell through due to insanely crazy schedules. I’d still play that piece in a heartbeat if a pianist and percussionist would ever want to do it with me!

    But if you want to talk about the side of Wuorinen’s work I admire most, then I should mention being one of the percussionists in an exhilarating, life-changing performance of Ringing Changes (1969), a staple in contemporary music literature along with the incredible Percussion Symphony (1976), which as far as I’m concerned should be considered a ‘standard.” Even though the music itself is not nearly as rhythmically complex or discontinuous as his earlier pieces, these works are fascinating on every level—the last section of Ringing Changes featuring the tubular bells, for example, is probably some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard anywhere. It brought me to tears, playing the tubular bells in that section. That sound world was revolutionary for its time, and so full of life!

    It should also go without saying that I am very much in love with his earlier, more ‘rhythmically disjunct’ pieces—the ones that really did it for me were the Piano Variations, Flute Variations I & II, all of the 60s Concertos, the First Piano Sonata (Robert Miller’s performance is for me the definitive performance of this masterwork), Time’s Encomium, Arabia Felix, String Trio and the list goes on and on… And last (but certainly not least) there is my favorite composition of his, Janissary Music, which I think is one of the most virtuosic works ever to exist for one percussionist alone. The performance of this piece exemplifies a whole different kind of complexity and rigor; it’s not ‘new complexity’, and it’s not even trying to be that—it’s simply Wuorinen’s genuine compositional language. Hell, it’s new complexity done Wuorinen’s way! The percussion writing is full of extreme rigor and technical fluidity as well as some mesmerizing moments. That music truly ‘grooves’ in its own way, and doesn’t sound rhythmically ‘square’ at all! After happening upon the original CRI LP record of the piece at the William Paterson Library, I asked the genius percussionist Ray Des Roches (for whom Wuorinen composed this piece) what was it like for him to prepare this piece. He then informed me that it was so difficult to play, that it took him over a year to learn it! (This—coming from one of the most revered, pioneering figures ever to exist in the performance of contemporary music—was quite the news to hear! Des Roches’s classic recording also remains definitive!)

    I continue to listen to Wuorinen to the very present day. In fact, I was recently blasting and sort of ‘dancing’ along to one of his pieces in my car in downtown New York while waiting on a friend… folks stared, but I didn’t give a damn who was staring at me because the music excites and inspires me to move. The music is both “serious” and enjoyable, to my ears. I like to sit and read the scores, and sometimes I like to just listen and enjoy it to my heart’s content—it is totally possible to do this. Wuorinen remains a huge influence in my own work, both in terms of the rigor with which he deals with pitch selection and form, as well as the sense of melodic and rhythmic gesturing that is evidenced in all of his compositions. One of the greatest to ever do it, in my opinion!”

    See the full article here.


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    At NewMusicUSA, we see ourselves first and foremost as advocates. Our mission is to support and promote new music created in the United States. We do that in many ways, fostering connections, deepening knowledge, encouraging appreciation, and providing financial support. In recognition of the possibility and power inherent in the virtual world, we’ve worked to build a strong internet platform to serve our constituency. And that constituency is broad and diverse, from composers and performers to presenters and producers, casual listeners to die-hard fans. We’re truly committed to serving the WHOLE new music community.

    As we go about our work, we make a point of not defining too precisely what we mean by new music. To define is to limit. It’s a spectacular time for musical creativity in part because so much music is being made that isn’t bound by conventional limitations of style or genre or background. The music that we hear being created in such abundance all around us is definition enough. We simply want it to flourish.

    We’re fortunate to have as our legacy the history of previous decades of good works done by the American Music Center and Meet The Composer, the two great organizations that merged to form us in 2011. Their legacies have also brought a small financial endowment that mostly helps support our grantmaking. But we’re not a foundation. We depend decisively each year on the generosity of so many institutions and individuals around the country who are dedicated as we are to the advancement of new music and are devoted to supporting our work.

    New Music USA is part of an international community of advocates for the arts. We’re members of the Performing Arts Alliance, the International Association of Music Information Centres, and the International Society for Contemporary Music. Those partnerships help us represent the interests of our constituents at every level.

    John Schaefer


    For new music by living composers

    newsounds.org from New York Public Radio


    https://www.wnyc.org/
    93.9FM
    https://www.wqxr.org/
    105.9FM
    http://www.thegreenespace.org/

    For great Jazz

    88.3FM http://wbgo.org/

    WPRB 103.3FM

    Dan Buskirk Spinning Jazz Mondays 11:00AM-1:00PM
    Will Constantine Jr, Blues Bop and Beyond Thursdays 11:00-2:00 featuring Latin Jazz
    Jerry Gordon Serenade to a Cookoo Frdays 11:00AM-2:00PM with Jerry’s Room at 1:00Pm
    Jeannie Becker Sunday Jazz 10:00AM-1:00Pm


    Please visit The Jazz Loft Project based on the work of Sam Stephenson
    Please visit The Jazz Loft Radio project from New York Public Radio

     
  • richardmitnick 9:18 PM on June 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Andy Akiho, Frank J. Oteri, John Cage, NEWMUSICBOX, , Prepared piano, Steel drum, West African drumming   

    From NEWMUSICBOX: “Andy Akiho—Inside The Instrument” 

    New Music USA


    From NEWMUSICBOX

    1
    Andy Akiho by Patti Sapone/The Star-Ledger

    June 1, 2018
    Frank J. Oteri

    Having a conversation with Andy Akiho is a lot like listening to his music; it’s a high-energy adventure bursting with ideas and full of all sorts of serendipitous synchronicities. The first of these synchronicities is that Andy lives on Monroe Street in Lower Manhattan, which is where we met up with him. This is the same street where John Cage lived when he wrote many of his important compositions for prepared piano and percussion ensembles, idioms that have played a significant role in Andy’s output since Cage is one of his heroes. And perhaps an even more extraordinary coincidence is that Cage wrote those pieces at the same age that Andy is now and that Andy only discovered all of this after he moved to Monroe Street.

    Of course, while Andy’s earliest compositions were scored for percussion ensemble and one of his most significant pieces to date is the solo prepared piano tour-de-force Vicki/y, the instrument that has figured in Andy’s music more than any other is the steel drum. As it turns out, around the same time that Cage was creating his landmark prepared piano and percussion ensemble works in the late 1930s and early 1940s, musicians in Trinidad started incorporating struck pieces of metal into their ensembles, eventually tuning discarded industrial oil containers and thus was born the steel drum.

    But again, Andy becoming obsessed with steel drums also happened somewhat by accident. He was initially attracted to hip-hop and rock—his older sister played in various bands—when he was growing up in South Carolina. But at college, also in South Carolina, he got exposed to an extremely broad range of approaches to percussion including bebop and West African drumming, and then a couple of his teachers introduced him to steel drums. After he graduated, he went down to Trinidad to immerse himself further and was hooked for life.

    Andy eventually found himself in New York City arranging music for weddings in the Caribbean-American community for large ensembles of steel drums. But he wanted to expand his timbral palette and find a way to combine steel drums with other instruments. Another chance encounter, a conversation with his former classmate Baljinder Sekhon, convinced him to audition for the Bang on a Can Summer Residency Program and to apply to Manhattan School of Music to pursue a master’s degree. He was accepted to both and found some formidable mentors in David Cossin and Julia Wolfe, with whom he eventually also studied composition privately.

    The rest, as they say, is history. Though not completely. Andy’s story is still being written. He is still trying out new ideas and is open to discovering other approaches. He’s eager to write more vocal music, as well as score a film. But he still usually begins almost every composition he writes—whether it’s a string quartet or a concerto for two ping pong players and orchestra—by tinkering around with ideas on the steel pan. But not always, as he explained:

    “I’ll do other things, too, like I’ll go to an instrument I can’t play, like a piano, and come up with material and then apply that to the pan. I try to do it all different ways. But I do want to say it’s not weird to me; it’s weirder to me to think about a guitar, even though that seems like it’s more linear. If I try to pick up a guitar and try to think of melody, or learn it, or understand where the notes for the chords are, I’m a mess. At the same time, I accidentally discover some things that I wouldn’t do on the pan because I’ve been playing it for so many years. You go to certain comfortable places. Taking yourself out of that comfort zone can bring new life to the vocabulary.”

    May 10, 2018 at 1:00 p.m.
    Andy Akiho in conversation with Frank J. Oteri
    Recorded in Akiho’s apartment in Two Bridges, Manhattan
    Video and photography by Molly Sheridan
    Transcription by Julia Lu

    Frank J. Oteri: I was thrilled when I learned that you live on Monroe Street because this is where John Cage once lived.

    Andy Akiho: A year after I was here I found that out doing a paper at Princeton about his Sonatas and Interludes that he’d lived here. He was the exact age I was when I was doing the paper. So I felt really connected somehow. He’s one of my heroes. I’ve always felt that way, but especially now. It was like “You’ve got to be kidding me, because [Monroe Street]’s only three blocks long.

    FJO: But sadly, the building where he lived is no longer there.

    AA: I walked over to see. It’s a school now, I believe.

    FJO: He was forced to move when the building was torn down in 1953.

    AA: Oh, I didn’t realize that.

    FJO: But it’s interesting that you didn’t know about this until after you moved here. It’s quite a coincidence, since during the years he lived here he wrote most of his prepared piano pieces and many of his pieces for percussion ensemble—and both the prepared piano and percussion ensembles have figured very prominently in your own music.

    AA: I’ve always been influenced by those pieces, even before I was a composer.

    FJO: I’d like to learn more about the period before you were a composer. I know that you were trained as a percussionist, but how did you become interesting in being a musician in the first place?

    AA: My older sister practically raised me; she’s almost exactly ten years older than me. And when she was a teenager, she was like kind of a rock star. She never took it too seriously, but she had a double bass and a drum set and she was playing in bands. I wanted to be like her, so she would teach me drums. And that’s kind of how I started. I think I was around nine or something, but then I got a little obsessed with it. So by the time I got in middle school and then high school, I drummed all the time. I couldn’t read music, but I was trying to drum, starting with drumlines and then I started learning to read notes more in college.

    FJO: And you have a couple of performance degrees as a percussionist.

    AA: There was such a gap. I never thought I was going back to school. I went to University of South Carolina. That’s where I grew up and I just went to college where I grew up. I was very fortunate to even have an opportunity to go to college back then. I was kind of obsessed, so I just majored in percussion. But I got involved in a lot of different ensembles—everything that had to do with drumming: playing West African drums, steel pan, orchestra, band, a little bit of everything.

    FJO: I was wondering about how you first got involved with steel pan because I wouldn’t necessarily associate steel pan with South Carolina.

    AA: It was a really awesome time when I was in school there. It was just a lot of new opportunities and a lot of great influences. We had a Professor Chris Lee who was really into West African drumming and steel pan and going to Trinidad. And my professor down there, Jim Hall, was really into that, too. So they had a steel pan program. Around the time when my colleagues and I went to school, we were really into different things. I was the steel pan guy, one guy was the jazz guy, and another guy was more the composer-percussionist. We were all different, but while we were there, we were into everything. I was probably even more into West African drumming then; my goals and plans were to go to Guinea like a lot of my friends did. But for some reason, I really got into pans, and then I went to Trinidad a lot, especially right after undergrad.

    FJO: So you studied with players in Trinidad.

    AA: When I was finishing up, I also did a student exchange program. I went to North Texas for a year and I got really into bebop. I wanted to play steel pans with that. I think it was the combination of being really inspired by the jazz musicians out there and being inspired to bring something new to steel pan, then going to Trinidad and playing with large orchestras and feeling that energy. It was like a full orchestra of these things; it was symphonic. I played I guess the equivalent of a violin in the orchestra for the steel pans. Everything was taught by rote. I remember one year I learned my part from like basically the “cellist.” That’s how well they knew everybody’s parts. And these are like crazy, intricate things. It was almost easier to learn by rote than reading because you feel the rhythms different. It’s really internal.

    2

    FJO: So, perhaps a dumb question, is there a consistency from steel pan to steel pan about where the different notes are?

    AA: No, that’s a really good question. There is, but there’s a lot of differences, too. There’s a tradition of so many changes. For example, my steel pan is called a tenor pan, but it’s actually soprano range. It starts from middle C, and it goes to about the F above the treble staff.

    FJO: Is it fully chromatic?

    AA: Fully chromatic. In Trinidad, they normally start on the D above that, because they can pierce through the orchestra more. So for range, and to play with 30 others—any of the altos, the “cellos,” the bass—it actually sounds better orchestrationally and acoustically in a different range. Mine’s called a Spiderweb fourth and fifth lead, so it’s a circle of fifths, upside down from the diagrams you see in schools. My C is right next to me, and then it goes in fourths and fifths. But that’s a newer invention. It’s probably 40-ish years old now, 40 or 50. Before that, there was an Invader’s lead, and on that the octaves aren’t even next to each other. It’s incredible how it’s set up. There’s like this random F-sharp right in the middle. But it actually sounds better, because of the way the overtones work. But it wasn’t as practical as a learning device, because it was just everywhere. And they have other pans. I wrote a steel pan concerto for Liam Teague, and his is completely different. So I took a picture of his, and wrote the notes and put it up on the wall to work out something idiomatic. His is a completely different pan and he’s the only one in the world that plays that one. But they’re all about the same range.

    FJO: So no one else could play the piece you wrote for him.

    AA: No, I’ve played it. I always had it in mind that I wanted it to work on both. So it was more like if I was doing something with four mallets, I just wanted to make sure he could reach it, that it was physically possible.

    FJO: Another thing that’s really fascinating about the placement of the notes on all these steel pans is that they don’t go left to right from low to high like many instruments around the world or even from low in the middle to high on opposite ends like African koras or mbiras.

    AA: Well, if you’re thinking in patterns or shapes or colors, it’s just another platform. Like with the human language, we might structure a sentence different: you put the verb first or you put the noun first. It’s the same kind of thing. I feel fortunate that when I was first learning how to read pitches, it was the same time I was learning how to play steel pan. I was quicker at learning pan than I was at marimba or piano, because it just came to me; it was all right there. With marimba, I got so worried about missing a note that’s a millimeter off. But with the pan, I just felt like it was all right there, and I just felt really comfortable. So it made sense to me more.

    FJO: The tactile element of it is very interesting. The other thing I wonder about, too, is that because of the way it’s patterned, it probably gets you to think about different combinations of notes than you would if you were creating from a piano or a marimba. People always talk about how Chopin’s music is so pianistic; it’s really based on the tactile experience of him sitting at a piano and working through ideas. As a result, certain kinds of figurations emerge in that music which are directly based on how the instrument is designed. Same with like Paganini on the violin, Jimi Hendrix on the electric guitar, Ravi Shankar on the sitar, all the great virtuosos who created their own music. But because steel pan has this other way of setting things up, when you then take those ideas and work them out for other instruments, say, writing for a string quartet, since steel pan is in the DNA of how you think, it creates a different kind of music.

    AA: Exactly. That’s why I feel very fortunate that I can come up with material on the pan for other instruments. I recently wrote a clarinet quartet piece for David Schifrin and there’s a whole movement that’s a clarinet solo. I wrote it all on pan. Then I worked out phrasing and slurs, but it was all on the pan first. Hand written, then I adapted it to clarinet. But I didn’t change the notes or anything. So it was really coming from that place. I wrote a saxophone quartet one time, and it was all written on the pan. All the parts. As was my first string quartet.

    I’ll do other things, too, like I’ll go to an instrument I can’t play, like a piano, and come up with material and then apply that to the pan. I try to do it all different ways. But I do want to say it’s not weird to me; it’s weirder to me to think about a guitar, even though that seems like it’s more linear. If I try to pick up a guitar and try to think of melody, or learn it, or understand where the notes for the chords are, I’m a mess. At the same time, I accidentally discover some things that I wouldn’t do on the pan because I’ve been playing it for so many years. You go to certain comfortable places. Taking yourself out of that comfort zone can bring new life to the vocabulary.

    FJO: You mentioned earlier that when you were in school there was a composer-percussion guy and you were the steel pan guy, but you became a composer-percussion guy, too. When did that happen?

    AA: I looked up my friend Baljinder Sekhon and he was going to Eastman after we were roommates in undergrad. After we finished, I moved to New York eventually, this was within a few years, and he moved to Rochester to study composition. He started taking that more seriously than percussion. And while he was up there, I was here playing on the streets and playing in weddings in the Caribbean community. I was also arranging for these steel orchestras in Brooklyn. I would arrange stuff for like a hundred players, but it was only steel pans. I loved it, but I felt like I wanted to experiment a little more with timbres. I’d love to write for a violin one day, or cello. But I didn’t know anybody. I remember calling him one day in January, and I was like, “Man, it would be kind of cool to write for other instruments.” And he was like: “You got to go back to school, because you don’t know one classical musician in New York.” I’m like: “No, I only know the Caribbean community.”

    So he told me about the contemporary performance program they started in 2007 at Manhattan School [of Music]. I’d been out of school for over six years by then. I hadn’t read a sheet of music in six years. I was just playing gigs and trying to make it as a steel pan artist in the city. When he told me about that program, he also told me about [the] Bang on a Can [Summer Residency Program]. I found some old footage of me seven years ago in college playing and I submitted that. I had like two days to submit it and I didn’t know what I was submitting it to. I just knew it was cool because he did it. And I got lucky. I got to do that, and then I went and auditioned at Manhattan School. I had to relearn marimba and relearn percussion. I went and auditioned there and that’s where I met classical musicians. And I was really inspired because I was around a great group of really hungry and inspiring musicians. So I just started writing for them. It was just very organic. It wasn’t like I’m going to try to study composition. But at that same time, I was fortunate enough to be able to study with Julia Wolfe outside of school. So I was in school as the contemporary percussion guy, playing with all my friends in that program and then I was able to write for them in a very awesome experimental laboratory in school there.

    3

    FJO: Nice. The earliest piece you list on your website, Phatamachickenlick, predates all of that. I’ve looked at part of the score, but there’s no audio for it. Is that your first piece?

    AA: I guess officially, yeah. I mean, that was my drumline days. I used to skip class in high school and just go in the woods with a snare drum and play for hours. That just came out of me playing with my friends, coming up with rudimentary solos. It’s not a good piece. I didn’t ever think of it as a composition or anything. It was just like: “Hey, play this.” I could write out the rhythms, because I knew rhythms, but I couldn’t read notes back then or anything.

    FJO: But you’ve got a score of it on your website.

    AA: Yes. It’s fun. I think literally everything I’ve ever written is available, unless it was like some random assignment like: “Hey, write for your friends in one hour for tomorrow.” Maybe I should take that down, but I’ve kept it up there.

    FJO: So do people actually order it?

    AA: Yeah, I got two orders yesterday. But that’s also a coincidence, because not many people do. I always feel bad. I’m like: “Man, I hope they don’t think this is like a real piece.” But it is what it is. It’s a duet; it’s a rudimentary snare drum duet that I wrote in my hard core drumline years.

    FJO: And then there’s another really early piece for much bigger ensemble called Hip-Hopracy.

    AA: I consider that my first composition. I definitely didn’t consider myself an aspiring composer or anything. I just wanted to write a piece for my senior recital at University of South Carolina. So I wrote it for all my friends I was telling you about. We were a really tight crew. And I was like: “I’d love for you all to play on my recital.” So I wrote for the whole percussion department and wrote each individual part based on them. It was more like Duke Ellington style. Like you’re the right guy, you’re the right gal. My girlfriend at the time was in a hip hop dance class. She was a dancer. So they choreographed it; it was a kind of collaborative thing. We were always working with dancers. It was just a way to end my recital and a fun way to be creative. What’s funny is that piece is like Cage or Lou Harrison, but I didn’t even know really what that was back then. I knew when I studied it, or when I played in percussion ensemble, getting those influences. It’s written for ceramic bowls. I’m still writing for these same bowls. I literally have like ten sets right here. I remember going into stores back then and picking out the right pitches, then I based the piece off of those. I just found sounds; it was just a natural way to do it. I could do that before I could write on a piano, for sure.

    4

    FJO: So that piece is more like Cage and Harrison than hip hop, even though you titled it Hip-Hopracy.

    AA: I just called it that because it was for a hip hop class. It wasn’t trying to do anything. But I grew up on rock and hip hop, and probably everything else except classical music. I never grew up listening to Beethoven or anything. I do now.

    FJO: So you didn’t have a connection to so-called classical music. But what you wound up doing was finding a way to incorporate the ideas that you had into the medium of writing down music that other people play, which is kind of an odd way of doing music to most of the world. You said before that you wanted to write for violin. You thought it would be cool.

    AA: I guess it’s not that straight forward, even though I said that. It was more that I wanted to experiment with pan, mixing with other timbres, whether it’s a ceramic bowl or a violin. I just wanted to have a bigger playground to work in and different timbres to explore. It wasn’t just for the sake of doing it or trying to write for strings. I really enjoy just working with any kind of new timbre combination, so it actually felt very natural and organic. It didn’t seem that odd to me because at first, it was to write pieces for myself to be able to play with friends. It was almost like being in a rock band when you’re a teenager: “Let’s come up with some material. I got these ideas. Hey, you play this on the bass.” That kind of thing. But I was old enough to know that I need to be pretty clear about it. I was pretty aware that the notation had to be pretty clear. So I learned as I was doing it. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I would meet with friends, and be like: “Hey, what’s the range of this? What’s possible? Can I write a few things down? Can I record a few things?” I would learn how the instruments worked based on having to do it.

    FJO: So some practical things about making these instrument work together—two things immediately come to mind if you’re combining strings and pan. There’s finding the appropriate acoustical balance, getting the volumes right, so there are questions of where to position everyone. Are there things that work, things that don’t work? And then there’s the whole question of intonation. How closely do the pans match the pitches of the other players?

    AA: With pan, there are so many overtones that I think it can blend with any family of instruments. And if it’s tuned really well, I think there’s a lot of potential for that. It’s funny because I think about these questions more now than I did then. Then I was just naïve and just going for it. And I think that was more exciting sometimes. I didn’t think about intonation. I didn’t think about balance, or any of that. I was just like: “Let’s just do this.” I didn’t have anything to lose, either. It wasn’t like I had a commission deadline. It was like: “Oh, we’re going to have a concert at school; let’s put something together.” It was a lot of experimentation without any pressure of it having to work. And for some reason, sometimes it worked better. It was not a fatal mistake if you do something wrong.

    FJO: So what would be something wrong?

    AA: That’s all subjective. I don’t know. I do things wrong all the time. In the first piece I wrote at Manhattan, I just literally tried to do everything. There was a huge fan that a trumpet played through. There was a 16-foot pipe that the trumpet played through and it bounced off the walls. And a contrabass flute—the first time I wrote for flute, it was for contrabass flute, alto flute, and regular flute—plus trumpet, steel pan, percussion, piano, and bass clarinet.

    FJO: Yeah, that sounds like a real practical piece.

    AA: And we were also shattering glass everywhere.

    FJO: I didn’t notice that piece on your website. That one’s not up there, is it?

    AA: I’m not sure.

    FJO: So you didn’t put everything up.

    AA: I might have, if I had the parts, then it’s up somewhere. Or I have to find the parts maybe.

    5

    FJO: So the next step after writing these pieces to play with friends is that you started writing pieces that you were not playing in. How did that whole transition happen?

    AA: This was all a very compact year. This is 2007 and it was all pieces that I played in. And in 2008, I got into the Bang on a Can [Summer] Festival, as a composer this time. My first year was as a performer. I somehow faked my way in. Got lucky. Then I wrote all year. And, I don’t know, for some reason they let me in as a composer in 2008, and the instrumentation they gave me didn’t have myself in it. It was for the performer fellows. The first time I didn’t write for myself was that piece. It’s called to wALk Or ruN in wEst harlem. I don’t even think I started it on the pan. It was a really interesting exercise for me.

    FJO: So you started composing it in your head.

    AA: No, I played around the piano. I remember I experimented a lot with the vibraphone, and I was messing around with rubber bands a lot back then. I put these rubber bands on there. And I just kind of improvised for hours and hours, then I started to record myself.

    FJO: But you eventually rearranged that piece for percussion ensemble.

    AA: Yeah, that was for the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Dave Hall, who runs the percussion department there, asked me to write a new piece. But it was a very short timeline and I wouldn’t have had time to rewrite a brand new piece. He was really into harlem, so somehow we came up with the idea to just make a new arrangement of it. But I didn’t want it to be just an arrangement. So I was like, “Let’s take the same music, but I’m really going orchestrate it, not just make it work, not just take the clarinet part and put it here. Just rework the entire piece.” The piano part is pretty much exactly the same, though. That’s the one thing I kept. I spent a day with them working out some of the kinks, and then they performed it, and they did that video and I thought it came out really nice. It was really great.

    FJO: I think so, too. What’s interesting is that it’s clearly the same piece, you can hear the melodies and harmonies, but it has a different flavor somehow.

    AA: Yeah, definitely.

    FJO: The timbres really shape what you’re hearing.

    AA: Yeah, it’s so important. I mean timbre and rhythm are the world I live in.

    FJO: That’s the mindset of a percussionist.

    AA: Yeah, I guess so.

    FJO: Another key ingredient is the tactile element. Of course playing any instrument is a tactile experience but there’s something about percussion that heightens that aspect, I think. And I would venture to say that your sensitivity to this tactile element informs how you write for other instruments. One example that is particularly striking to me is the two-harp piece you wrote for Duo Scorpio, Two Bridges. It’s totally unexpected, because it isn’t what harp music usually sounds like, because you approach the harps like percussion instruments, which is why I think it’s so cool.

    AA: Oh, thanks. I met with them many times. The harp or the piano, anything I can touch and feel, even strings, they’re the closest thing to percussion to me. If I can start to understand it and wrap my head around it, I feel I can work with that instrumentation better, so I was lucky. I was up at Avaloch Music Institute up in New Hampshire and I was finishing up my piece for Duo Scorpio, and there was a harp duo there, a different harp duo. They went out to lunch one day, and I was like: “Can I mess around? I might use some credit cards and stuff. Is it cool?” And they were like: “It’s cool.” They knew I would respect the instruments, and I wrote the whole first movement in like an hour or two. I videotaped myself just playing on these techniques, messing around with a finger cymbal, a chopstick—I created that first movement just from this experimental place.

    It’s also kind of parallel to bridges being built. We’re in [the] Two Bridges [neighborhood] right now, and that’s what the piece is about. So the Brooklyn Bridge is those kind of industrial sounds. But then the second movement is all harmonics. I met with them and learned all I could about how that technique worked—the best kind of range for it. And they taught me how the pedals work. And then in the third movement, I just tried to put everything together.

    6

    FJO: Now the titles for the first and third movements are numbers. Are those the years those bridges were built?

    AA: I think the years that they were officially opened.

    FJO: But that one in the middle that’s all harmonics you called “Audio Sun.”

    AA: I just pictured being in the middle of the East River—it would be kind of gross. But if you were down there, playing these bridges as if they were harps, the reverberations you would hear underneath the water would be very echo-y. I had to try to capture that.

    FJO: There’s a guy named Joseph Bertolozzi who makes music from playing on actual bridges.

    AA: Oh, that’s cool.

    FJO: But you’ve come up with this other idea, using the harps as a metaphor for the bridges. It’s also really effective and just beautiful.

    AA: Aw, thank you.

    FJO: But it’s interesting because I heard the piece way before I saw the video of the performance, so I didn’t know how a lot of those sounds were being made because I couldn’t see it. It still totally worked as abstract music thing. Another piece of yours along those lines is Vicki/y, the piece you did for Vicky Chow.

    AA: It was inspired by Vicky Chow and Vicki Ray. When I was at Bang on a Can in 2007 as a performer, Vicki Ray did a masterclass on preparation, and it reminded me of learning about this in undergrad with Cage and stuff. So it brought all that back. She was showing us that you could bow the strings and you could pluck them. Then she showed us the dime and I was just blown away with the way the dime sounded woven in between the three strings in the piano. That stuck with me. After that, when I started school at Manhattan, I met Vicky Chow. She’s phenomenal. I was always inspired by her being able to play in an ensemble and I learned from her and a lot of the other musicians in that program. And then that next year, I wrote a piece based on those techniques.

    FJO: So you didn’t come up with the dime thing.

    AA: No, I didn’t. Though, what was crazy is I really couldn’t find examples of that. I was influenced by Vox Balaenae by George Crumb. That blew me away, too, but I was trying to find examples. I didn’t really see anything, so I really credit Vicki Ray for showing me that. And what I tried do is I experimented with exactly where it was. I found out if you pushed [the dime] all the way up the sound board, or whatever the end of where the strings are, it keeps the fundamental, but it has crazy overtones, so it’s basically like a gamelan or like a steel pan. It’s like a super-saturated steel pan. So I felt at home writing for that, and then I just based the whole piece on that. It’s only on eight pitches, but I didn’t want to create it all to be about that.

    A lot of people think I’m trying to do novelty things, but it’s really the world I live in where I feel I can create the most. It’s not just a cool effect. A lot of people will think it’s like trying to be some kind of gimmick, but it’s really just where I feel at home. So I did that and I experimented with it. I created this scale that was like a palindrome, and worked around with that. I remember finishing the last page—it was all hand written back then—and handing it to Vicky about two hours before the concert at the Stone. I think it was November 1st, 2008. I remember handing her that last page and she killed it.

    FJO: Yeah, her performance of that piece is awesome. But before we leave the dime thing, dimes are so thin. I’m curious if you experimented with other coins: quarters, nickels.

    AA: I think I did, but I realized really quickly that even a penny’s too big. It will touch the other strings. Even a dime sometimes can be too big. I did a piece for Anthony de Mare, an adaptation of the prologue of Into the Woods by Sondheim. There are two dimes and a poster tack. I remember we recorded up at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the dime was actually too big. It was touching the other strings. I remember going to a car shop when we went on lunch break and they were soldering stuff and welding. I found some washers and I was like, “Hey man, can you take a millimeter off this?” We just needed a little less than a dime. Zzzzzhh. I went back and it worked perfectly, because it was thin enough. It was as thin as a dime, and it worked, and it kept the fundamental without making the other pitches ring, too.

    FJO: I thought you were going to say you went to a convenience store, got some change and tried other dimes, since they’re not all necessarily exactly the same.

    AA: That’s true. Yeah. But I needed to take off more than just the little nuances. For some reason, the strings were thin in that model of piano. I never really had that problem with dimes before.

    FJO: Interesting. Once again, this is another thing that no one would know if they only experienced it on an audio recording. Now, with Vicki/y, I heard Vicky Chow’s recording of it before I knew how any of those sounds were made and I hadn’t seen a score for it, but then I saw the video for it you posted online which lets everyone in on its secrets. It was really interesting to actually see how the sounds were being created, but the video is actually so much more than that; it’s almost like a pop music video.

    AA: Oh, thank you. Gabriel Gomez did that video and did a really incredible job. He’s a friend of Vicky’s, and she really loved the work he did before. He works in all kinds of mediums. Definitely not just music. He did a really cool film with Robert Black, and we were just blown away, and we all kind of hit it off when we first were talking. We set up a Dropbox folder and put a bunch of videos in that inspired us, just random stuff, not necessarily music videos and photos, and a description of what I was thinking with the piece, and he just came up with this very beautiful narrative.

    FJO: One of the details I love about this is that it’s clearly her performance, but it’s your piece, and the film weaves you into it as the composer; you’re like this like creepy bystander.

    AA: I know. I’m such a creeper in that film. It’s hard to watch that, because it’s hard to see me on something like that. But Vicky’s an incredible artist. She came up with that transfer. It was just a really beautiful concept. We filmed some of it in New Haven, in East Rock Park, and we saw this blue heron. And then he incorporated that in the film, too.

    The white piano we used in the end of that is the one I found on 131 and Broadway, when I lived in West Harlem. I lived on 133 and Broadway and found that piano outside of a church; I saw it there for like two days. So I went and asked. I was like: “What are you guys doing with this thing?” And they were like: “You can take it.” I never owned a piano in my life. I pushed it up the hill, right by the 1 train, on these really crappy wheels that were all rusted. Luckily my building had an elevator.

    Every note had three notes because every string was so out of tune. A friend of mine was in town from West Virginia that tunes pans. He tuned the piano; it was the first time he was tuning a piano. So then I had that piano, that same white piano, and that’s how I wrote Vicki/y. I wrote it on that primarily. I was messing with it. It was a cool piano. And I would just put the dimes in and everything. So then we were like: “We got to use this in a video.” It was living in New Haven because I was there for two years and my landlord let me keep it up there in the house that she owned. I called her to say we’re going to do a video and we want to finish it up here. So we took that piano out of there, did the video at East Rock Park and then we left the piano there. We left it in the woods. I don’t know why. We just thought it would be cool. But then my friend Sam and his friend Molly wanted to get the piano, so it’s in Brooklyn now, I think. They got it the very next day. They got a U-Haul and got it. So that piano has seen a lot.

    FJO: You don’t have a piano here, except for a Schoenhut toy piano.

    AA: I write with that a lot.

    7

    FJO: And you also have a big digital keyboard.

    AA: Yeah, there are like seven MIDIs all around. They just sample. They get the job done. I have to picture the orchestra sometimes, the range, like okay, I know the trumpet’s here, I know the trombone, I just kind of picture it and sometimes I work with scales. Like I have one up there, and it’s got a million stickers with Sharpie notes all over it. So I can’t even really use it right now. It’s got duct tape; it’s for me to know where I am. I was creating on that for one particular piece.

    FJO: Interestingly the thing that those keyboards are probably least good at is working on stuff that’s for an actual piano because you can’t prepare them.

    AA: Oh yeah.

    FJO: You can’t stick dimes in them, or if you do it’ll sound like something else.

    AA: I’ll sample it. But if I do that, I’ll work at a real piano, and sample each note, and then plug it in there.

    FJO: I have two thoughts that grew out of what you were saying about being this creepy bystander in that video. Composers who write music that other people play usually just sit in the audience. You are kind of a bystander. You’re not part of the performance. But you came from this background of playing music, and all of a sudden you’re now this guy who like lurks in the back. You wrote the piece, but to a lot of people who aren’t knowledgeable about this stuff, it’s difficult to understand what that means. Who’s that guy? What did he do? Oh, he wrote the piece.

    AA: Oh, right.

    FJO: What does that mean? I thought that video really effectively captured that relationship. There’s this transference in the video of that tattoo, which seems like a really nice metaphor for what happens when someone interprets music you wrote down. The music is transferring to somebody else who realizes it and makes it into sound.

    AA: It’s also the importance of the performer bringing the piece to life. I could write all day, but it takes a life of its own through the performers—the way they interpret it. Even more so with pieces where they’re in charge of picking out the timbres. In that piece, with Vicky and the preparations, the subtlety of moving things a millimeter or two makes a big difference. There are so many parameters. I guess you could say that with every piece of music, but I felt that especially with that piece, and working with Vicky, like it was really written for her.

    FJO: We talked about the video being really effective, but you’ve posted extremely well-done videography of performances of many of your compositions. The video of Duo Scorpio performing Two Bridges is also really tremendous. And then there’s even a fascinating video for to wALk Or ruN in wEst harlem which is this really intense and disturbing silent film about human trafficking. Overall you’ve really set a high visual standard for how you present your music to the world online, which is unusual in our community I think.

    AA: Well, I grew up on MTV. I would stay up for anything from Yo! MTV Raps to Headbangers Ball, back when MTV was videos all day long. Most Wanted, I was so into that. I think I’m more visual than, than aural. I learn things visually more. Even when I’m writing music, it’s visual; it’s synesthetic. I think in shapes and colors way more than I do the actual pitches. I’m kind of tone deaf. I can’t sing Mary Had a Little Lamb without going off key. It’s pretty rough.

    FJO: We might have to make you sing that now.

    AA: You don’t want me to do that. That could be dangerous. This is like so masochistic, but I used to take singing lessons just to try to get develop my ear. I was always the worst in ear training classes and I was super self-conscious about it, so it made it even worse.

    FJO: This might explain why there hasn’t been a ton of vocal music in your output. There’s that really cool piece for loadbang based on haikus. That’s such an oddball ensemble. And none of them play an instrument that’s necessarily tactile. Right? It’s brass and winds and then a singer. That’s totally taking you out of your comfort zone.

    AA: Right, but I love being out of my comfort zone, so my comfort zone is being out of it. I also wrote a piece called NO one To kNOW one, in 2009-2010 and that was one of my only pieces with vocals. And the piece I was telling you about that I wrote at Manhattan School that had a soprano.

    FJO: Right. And NO one To kNOW one is really interesting because at the end, she’s rapping.

    AA: Yeah, I never thought of it as rap, but I guess maybe I grew up on that a little bit. I was just thinking of a rhythmic way to say these words, but I wasn’t like I was going to try to mimic rap music and then people started calling that a rap. I just wanted to mimic the rhythm that was going on, and when I wrote the lyrics, it just all fit together naturally. I messed with the lyrics, and then came up with the rhythm and how that would be set, and then came up with the music, and it just kind of morphed.

    I want to write for voice a lot more. I got more of a taste for that doing an opera this past summer. Writing my first real aria was really great. It really grounded me. It was a nice roadmap and a relief to have some kind of structure to write with and to try to interpret words. The opera is the first time I wrote with somebody else’s words. For loadbang, I wrote the words because I felt uncomfortable writing to somebody else’s words. Same with NO one To kNOW one and the MSM piece. Even though I don’t know how to work with words really, I felt more comfortable doing that. I’m not misinterpreting somebody else’s words for them to be upset with me.

    FJO: To take this back to the music videos of your music, it’s fascinating how detailed they are in the way they show how specific sounds are being made, whether it’s the close up of the dime in Vicki/y or the swipe of the credit card against the harp strings in Two Bridges.

    AA: If I go to a show, I enjoy seeing where these sounds come from, learning and being inspired by that, and not to say: “Hey, this is how to do it.” But just to share that experience, to get as close to a different experience from going to a live show, a different experience from listening to a record, and a different experience than watching a music video. What was interesting about the videos you brought up, especially the harlem video is that I was thinking it’s gonna show the rubber bands, but he went in a completely different direction.

    That was Michael McQuilken. We’ve worked together a lot on a lot of videos, and I feel like we’re on the same wavelength on a lot of things. I’ve always been very inspired working with him. He’ll just take something and run with it. It looked like I wrote the music to his film, but it was completely backwards. He sent me a treatment for every second. I was living in Italy at the time. I remember reading this and I was just blown away. What’s funny about that piece is it’s my most programmatic piece. Usually it’s very abstract, and people try to ask me what it’s about, and I have no idea because they all think it sounds programmatic. But with that piece, literally every sound has a story behind it. I mean like: that was a siren; that was me running into a taxi; that was the door slamming; that was the emergency room beeps at the hospital. I even sent him a treatment of what every sound meant when you listen to this CD. And then he sent me one back, he’s like: “Man, I’ve been talking with my wife and we want to present this story.” And she starred in the film, Adina. It was incredible what they did with that.

    FJO: It’s amazing. This is what music and film can be when there’s a real synchronicity. And it’s interesting that the music existed first. Because obviously most of the time in the film industry, the music gets written later. There are people who are masters at this. The music fits the film so well and feels completely seamless, but to make the film fit pre-existing music is a whole different process.

    AA: I know. He deserves so much credit for doing that. He’s also a really amazing musician, just incredible artist all around. We’ve taken other pieces like Prospects of a Misplaced Year, The World Below, where you’re super hyper into it, or NO one To kNOW one, where you’re seeing every single technique. You’re seeing how the sounds are made on the exact opposite spectrum, even the Duo Scorpio piece, he directed that as well.

    The goal is to really feel like you’re in the instrument. That’s something you can’t even get at a live show, unless you invite an audience on stage while you’re playing. I’ve tried to do that before, too. I got a little bit of that from being in Trinidad where you have like 50 people right up on you. Some are judging you, but most are really into it. They’re two inches from you. They’re almost in your instrument while you’re playing. There’s just so much energy in that and I enjoy when you can get a little bit of that in a music video.

    FJO: So in a way, is that the ideal way to experience the music? You have two CDs out. Obviously, no one can see anything when they hear the CD.

    AA: No I just think it’s another experience. Most of the time if you’re listening to a record or CD, you’re just enjoying the sounds. I like having multiple ways to experience something, whether it’s a narrative or whether it’s just aurally, or a combination of both.

    FJO: Well to get to this idea of narrative, I didn’t know that every sound has a specific story behind it in to wALk Or ruN in wEst harlem. Music is so abstract. If you’re writing a film score or a score for a ballet, or you have words that someone’s singing or a narrator, you have this other element that gives you the story line. Music on its own is not going to really do that, most of the time. Or at least, you might have an idea of what the story is, but someone hearing it is going to come up with something totally different. Ironically that film about human trafficking, which was set to to wALk Or ruN in wEst harlem, is really the only time so far that you’ve worked with a bonafide story board in film, even though it was created after the piece was. So have you thought of ever doing a more typical kind of film scoring project?

    AA: I definitely want to do that, without a doubt. I don’t think I necessarily want to be a full-time music movie composer, but I would love to do film.

    FJO: You were involved with a staged production which I only saw little snippets of, based on Bertolt Brecht’s Galileo. There are multiple narrative layers to this, Brecht’s play obviously but also the actual life of Galileo, the historical figure, as well as the specifics of that particular production. I imagine that those were all layers that theoretically determined, at least to some extent, what direction your music went in.

    AA: Definitely, and that felt a little bit like composing for film, too. [The director] Yuval Sharon had a lot of specific ideas; it was his baby. He really understood what each scene represented and he knew what he wanted for every part, which was a challenge for me, too, because I’m used to coming from a very abstract space, and I had to be disciplined and learn how to really work with somebody who kind of knew what they wanted. It felt like writing for a movie, but it also inspired me to want to do those kind of collaborations more, because they’re bringing a whole other angle that I would never have thought of. That piece was interesting because I found out about it while living in Rome, and was sitting in the exact spot where Galileo demonstrated the telescope to the Pope in 1611. I met Yuval on Skype who knows I was sitting in the spot in my studio. And he was telling me about the project, and I was like: “Wow, this is crazy.”

    FJO: That’s like living on Monroe Street and finding Cage. It’s trippy.

    AA: Yeah. I don’t know, man. Maybe we’re in The Matrix or something. It’s like too many coincidences right now. It’s just weird how the world works like that. Especially in New York. A friend, Freddie Harris, whom I used to play with down in Trinidad a lot—on the second day I moved to New York, in 2003, I run into him. And he lived in Miami. He didn’t even live here at that time. I run into him. I hadn’t seen him since Trinidad. Kendall Williams, do you know him? He’s an excellent composer. He’s at Princeton now, and he was at NYU. I hadn’t seen him in probably eight years or something. We played next to each other in Trinidad, for Phase II, in 2003. And then I run into him at LPR and he was studying with Julia Wolfe. Another steel pan composer starting to study with Julia. Neither one of us grew up in that path to either do classical music or become a composer. We both played pan next to each other in Trinidad. There’s like a 160 players in that band and we happened to be the ones.

    8

    See the full article here.

    At NewMusicUSA, we see ourselves first and foremost as advocates. Our mission is to support and promote new music created in the United States. We do that in many ways, fostering connections, deepening knowledge, encouraging appreciation, and providing financial support. In recognition of the possibility and power inherent in the virtual world, we’ve worked to build a strong internet platform to serve our constituency. And that constituency is broad and diverse, from composers and performers to presenters and producers, casual listeners to die-hard fans. We’re truly committed to serving the WHOLE new music community.

    As we go about our work, we make a point of not defining too precisely what we mean by new music. To define is to limit. It’s a spectacular time for musical creativity in part because so much music is being made that isn’t bound by conventional limitations of style or genre or background. The music that we hear being created in such abundance all around us is definition enough. We simply want it to flourish.

    We’re fortunate to have as our legacy the history of previous decades of good works done by the American Music Center and Meet The Composer, the two great organizations that merged to form us in 2011. Their legacies have also brought a small financial endowment that mostly helps support our grantmaking. But we’re not a foundation. We depend decisively each year on the generosity of so many institutions and individuals around the country who are dedicated as we are to the advancement of new music and are devoted to supporting our work.

    New Music USA is part of an international community of advocates for the arts. We’re members of the Performing Arts Alliance, the International Association of Music Information Centres, and the International Society for Contemporary Music. Those partnerships help us represent the interests of our constituents at every level.


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    John Schaefer


    For new music by living composers

    newsounds.org from New York Public Radio


    https://www.wnyc.org/
    93.9FM
    https://www.wqxr.org/
    105.9FM
    http://www.thegreenespace.org/

    For great Jazz

    88.3FM http://wbgo.org/

    WPRB 103.3FM

    Dan Buskirk Spinning Jazz Mondays 11:00AM-1:00PM
    Will Constantine Jr, Blues Bop and Beyond Thursdays 11:00-2:00 featuring Latin Jazz
    Jerry Gordon Serenade to a Cookoo Frdays 11:00AM-2:00PM with Jerry’s Room at 1:00Pm
    Jeannie Becker Sunday Jazz 10:00AM-1:00Pm


    Please visit The Jazz Loft Project based on the work of Sam Stephenson
    Please visit The Jazz Loft Radio project from New York Public Radio

     
  • richardmitnick 9:11 PM on May 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Dynamic Music Appreciation, NEWMUSICBOX   

    From NEWMUSICBOX: “Dynamic Music Appreciation” 

    New Music USA


    From NEWMUSICBOX

    1
    Image: Spenser

    May 29, 2018
    Daniel Kellogg

    Dynamic Music Appreciation

    I’ve become a strong believer in the responsibility artists have to invite a lay audience into meaningful dialogue with art. I don’t care which art form any individual chooses to engage in so long as somewhere they are nourishing their lives with art that challenges beyond the delightful entertainment of Hollywood, mainstream pop music, or quick-read books. As full-time artistic creators, we should proselytize for the power of our artistic medium and how the human experience is both defined and deepened by artistic expression. Those of us who engage regularly with our audiences have the opportunity to help them understand difficult but important music. Many of us have had some experience as high school students when a capable English teacher opened our souls to challenging literature such as Shakespeare, Bronte, Steinbeck, or Lee. With a bit of context, questions, and guidance, a new world opened. This artistic nourishing should happen beyond high school, and working artists are in a special position for this task. We have the credentials and passion to stand in front of a classroom and invite people into a deeper relationship with art.

    A recent discussion I had with Conrad Kehn, a Denver-based composer and new music impresario, raised new questions about the current practice of music appreciation classes. He shared that a curriculum restriction required that a course he teaches at a community college focus almost entirely on classical music (white, male, European composers). Most of his students, first generation college students, are from non-white, non-European cultures. Is it a form of cultural imperialism to insist they learn only this material if they want to take a music appreciation class? While I love European classical music and hope there is always room to teach these great composers, our world is much bigger. We all have access to music from a variety of genres, cultures, and modes of creative process. Courses can easily include multiple genres and music that falls outside of traditional notation. If the fundamental goal is for a lay audience to have a greater appreciation for music, cross-genre courses are more compelling and inclusive of greater varieties of musical expression. Artists increasingly cross genres and disciplines, and our courses should reflect that.

    Through the success of my music appreciation course Tragedy and Inspiration [see below], I’ve wondered what other topics would attract today’s undergraduates. Music and the Civil Rights Movement, Music as Protest, Composers Who Cross Borders, Self-Taught but Brilliant, Opera, Sex, and Violence, Music as Ritual and Religious Expression are all ideas that could examine a great body of music through compelling lenses. The organizing construct is the way to draw in students. All teachers have a body of music that they are well equipped to teach. We have to be passionate about our subjects so that we offer our best charismatic voices when teaching. Our diverse interests and expertise will lead to a myriad of topics that invite the lay listener into the art.

    Music and the Civil Rights Movement could host a variety of styles crossing more than 200 years of American history. The bulk of the class might focus on the core of the Civil Rights era but should include the evolution of African-American spirituals, the early formation of blues and jazz, the emergence of rap and hip hop, and many current genres articulating the ongoing struggle against racism in America. Jazz pieces would include Coltrane’s Alabama, Mingus’s Fables of Faubus, Meerpol’s Strange Fruit, Armstrong’s (What Did I Do To Be So) Black and Blue?, and Roach’s We Insist! Freedom Now Suite, among others. Gil Scott-Heron, N.W.A., Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore, and Public Enemy are among many artists who have all used the platform of powerful lyrics to highlight the many forms of contemporary racism. Classical pieces could include Nkeiru Okoye’s opera Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line to Freedom, Steve Reich’s Come Out, Wynton Marsalis’s oratorio Blood on the Fields, and Frederic Rzewski’s Attica and Coming Together.

    Composers Who Cross Borders invites a large umbrella of diverse music. From the Beatles’ work with Ravi Shankar to Toru Takemitsu’s embrace of French impressionism to Tanya Tagaq’s integration of throat singing, metal, and Inuit culture – composers thrive with cultural diversity. A host of musical artists have migrated around the world to embrace aspects of their new countries while maintaining a core identity rooted in their place of origin. Composers Gabriela Lena Frank, Tan Dun, Tania León, and Osvaldo Golijov embrace multicultural influences that define the Americas. Classical composers Béla Bartók, Steve Reich, and Claude Debussy pulled key aspects of their musical language from other cultures.

    Teaching music appreciation has also helped cultivate or sustain the passion I have for art music. The process of preparing to teach a subject requires a deep dive that may reveal new insights and invite a fresh look. Finding the words to explain a complex subject has expanded my thinking on many topics and is a constant reminder of the richness present in the works of great composers who make up my chosen art form. Preparing to teach forces growth and informs my own composition. The classroom experience is for both the students and myself. I end up loving this music more each time I teach it, and I am always delighted by unexpected comments offered by the students. The greatest compliment is when students tell me they now listen to music with a greater depth.

    Tragedy and Inspiration
    May 14, 2018

    2
    Image: Alp Studio

    A course I’ve named Tragedy and Inspiration is my solution to drawing college students in to a challenging but powerful body of music. The course couples tragic events from modern history with great pieces of music written in response to those events. Reich’s Different Trains responds to the Holocaust and how trains were used to transport people to extermination camps in WWII. Corigliano’s Symphony No. 1 responds to the personal and collective loss experienced by the gay community during the AIDS epidemic. Libby Larsen’s Sifting Through the Ruins and John Adams’s On the Transmigration of Souls respond to the deaths suffered when the World Trade Center buildings were attacked and collapsed in 2001. Glass’s Koyaanisqatsi and John Luther Adams’s Inuksuit respond to the crisis of human activity impacting our environment to create life out of balance. The course covers the historical subject, the composers and their musical styles, and the specific pieces.

    To varying degrees, this body of music either serves to process personal grief experienced by the composer, memorialize those lost for those left living, or mark a protest and call for action. These pieces respond to a common darkness that resonates across the many dividing lines that separate people. The pain of death from war or violent world conflicts transcends our differences. All groups of people throughout history have experienced disease, poverty, bigotry, sexual violence, racial violence, and unnatural death, and artists have responded to these tragic experiences for millennia. These subjects also resonate strongly with undergraduates. They understand the violence, pain, and horror involved in an event like the bombing of Hiroshima and can easily make the leap to the abstract and highly difficult musical language of Penderecki’s Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima. We begin with news footage, mini-documentaries, and images surrounding the creation of the atomic bomb and the aftermath of the bombing in both Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Then we discuss the abstract language of extended techniques, tone clusters, noise, aleatory, graphic notation, and sonorism that make up the language of early Penderecki. Lastly, we dig into the music and explore how it responds to the event. (Note: Penderecki originally titled his composition 8’37” based on its length. After the premiere he renamed the piece Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima and claimed the piece was always written in response to the bombing of Hiroshima and only after the premiere did he fully understand that. While the renaming is controversial, I accept his explanation and include the piece in the course.)

    Because the subject matter is so real and raw, it is easy to bring these undergraduates into a serious appreciation of difficult music. I ask a lot of questions and invite them to offer their own critique or evaluation. While these students are not equipped to offer profound critiques of these compositions, the requirement for written evaluation requires deeper listening. They must have an opinion on the success of the music and defend their positions. The course requires a lot of written responses, and all of the tests are essay tests. I require that students engage with the material with enough substance that they can craft well-written essays (or aspire to such heights). They also have two opportunities to present pieces of their choosing that fit the subject matter. They often bring music from popular genres (rap, rock, country, R&B, etc.), and I welcome the variety. Having music from multiple genres enriches the course and allows for interesting compare-and-contrast discussions.

    I begin the course with a screening of the first 26 minutes of the documentary A Strong Clear Vision that features Maya Lin and her work to create the Vietnam War Memorial. This remarkable story follows her experience entering a competition for the memorial while still a graduate student at Yale, winning, and defending the design through horrendous public criticism and bigotry. Ultimately, the design has become one of the most celebrated war memorials ever created, and it has had a profound impact on subsequent memorial designs. (The World Trade Center memorial is a prime example.) This is a great documentary and draws the students immediately into the substance of the course. The memorial has served thousands of Vietnam veterans in their grief and healing. She created the piece when she was only a few years older than the undergraduates in the class and stood by her strong vision against tremendous odds. It is an amazing example of the power of art in the face of tragedy.

    Here is the content that comprises the rest of the course:

    Module 1: War

    Steve Reich: Different Trains
    George Crumb: Black Angels: Thirteen Images from a Dark Land
    Vietnam War Protest Music and Woodstock
    (This unit involves a collection of pieces including):

    Richie Havens: Freedom (performed at Woodstock and based on African American song from slavery)
    Jimmie Hendrix: The Star Spangled Banner (performed at Woodstock)
    Country Joe and the Fish: I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag
    John Lennon: Give Peace a Chance and Imagine
    Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young: “Ohio”
    Krystof Penderecki’s Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima:

    Module 2: Environmental Crisis

    Philip Glass: Koyaanisqatsi
    John Luther Adams: Inuksuit

    Module 3: World Trade Center Attack

    John Adams: On the Transmigration of Souls
    Libby Larsen: Sifting Through the Ruins

    Module 4: Social Justice

    Gil Scott Heron and issues of inner city poverty and racism
    Whitey on the Moon
    The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
    The Bottle
    Home is Where the Hatred Is
    Winter in America:
    Frederic Rzewski: Attica and Coming Together, written in response to the Attica Prison Riots
    John Corigliano: Symphony No. 1, written in response to the AIDS epidemic
    Tonja Tajac: music written in response to violence against women, bigotry towards indigenous people, and environmental concerns
    Jazz and the Civil Rights Movement
    John Coltrane’s Alabama, written in response to the 1964 bombing of an Alabama church and Martin Luther King Jr.’s eulogy for the four dead Sunday School Girls
    Charles Mingus’s The Fables of Faubus, written in response to the circumstances surrounding the integration of schools in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1968
    Billie Holiday’s famous performance of Abel Meerpol’s Strange Fruit, written about lynching in the south

    Bonus

    Kellogg on Kellogg: Dust Returns, written in response to the untimely death of the composer’s mother

    This diverse and strong body of music allows discussion on a range of topics and the many artistic responses. We cover extended techniques, aleatory, spacialization, satire, spoken-word verses sung-word, amplification in classical music, film without narrative, site specific work, noise, chamber music versus symphonic music, classical instruments versus non-classical instruments, etc. We talk about pieces written in the moment compared to pieces written with the perspective of years. We compare Meerpol and Holiday’s searing depiction of racial violence in America (Strange Fruit) with Mingus’s absurd and satiric approach to school desegregation (The Fables of Faubus). We compare Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima with On the Transmigration of Souls. We explore what role art can take in healing from tragedy. All of this comes with a menu of great and diverse music. The majority of the course is music that the students likely would never have encountered outside of the class.

    The course culminates with students creating their own piece of art in response to tragedy. They pick an event/subject that they resonate with (personal or historical) and create a response in an artistic medium of their choosing (film, poetry, music, painting). They write a self-evaluation in which they state their artistic intent, describe the process, and evaluate their own work. Because this is not a class for art majors, I am lenient about artistic success and focus on the self-evaluation and effort. Some of the projects are stunning as students dig deep and discover creative veins they did not know they possessed. The topics vary widely, and the students share their work in the final classes.

    The bulk of the content is offered online. I utilize YouTube, Vimeo, Spotify, and archived web articles to create the content for the course. The students engage with the material through laptops or phones at their chosen time and location. The classroom is reserved for discussion and questions. We typically sit in a circle, and my student teacher suggested we routinely ask short questions that everyone answers with a word or two. This helps everyone in the room have a voice while sending a message that each voice should be heard. I always give a talk about respecting each other when approaching complex issues of racism, genocide, sexual violence, etc., but the conversation always has remained appropriate.

    Teaching the class is rewarding and energizing. Many students tell me they will never listen to music the same way again, and they think about their own favorite music in a new light. We get to discuss some raw topics and investigate the power of art to heal, challenge, and memorialize. My greatest hope is that they have a lifelong invitation to seek deeper artistic experiences in their lives. Most of them will go on to have mainstream careers as engineers, business owners, or scientists (the three big majors at the University of Colorado). I want them to find room for art in their lives, and I treasure this brief opportunity to share some great music.


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    stem
    Stem Education Coalition

    See the full article here.

    At NewMusicUSA, we see ourselves first and foremost as advocates. Our mission is to support and promote new music created in the United States. We do that in many ways, fostering connections, deepening knowledge, encouraging appreciation, and providing financial support. In recognition of the possibility and power inherent in the virtual world, we’ve worked to build a strong internet platform to serve our constituency. And that constituency is broad and diverse, from composers and performers to presenters and producers, casual listeners to die-hard fans. We’re truly committed to serving the WHOLE new music community.

    As we go about our work, we make a point of not defining too precisely what we mean by new music. To define is to limit. It’s a spectacular time for musical creativity in part because so much music is being made that isn’t bound by conventional limitations of style or genre or background. The music that we hear being created in such abundance all around us is definition enough. We simply want it to flourish.

    We’re fortunate to have as our legacy the history of previous decades of good works done by the American Music Center and Meet The Composer, the two great organizations that merged to form us in 2011. Their legacies have also brought a small financial endowment that mostly helps support our grantmaking. But we’re not a foundation. We depend decisively each year on the generosity of so many institutions and individuals around the country who are dedicated as we are to the advancement of new music and are devoted to supporting our work.

    New Music USA is part of an international community of advocates for the arts. We’re members of the Performing Arts Alliance, the International Association of Music Information Centres, and the International Society for Contemporary Music. Those partnerships help us represent the interests of our constituents at every level.

    John Schaefer


    For new music by living composers

    newsounds.org from New York Public Radio


    https://www.wnyc.org/
    93.9FM
    https://www.wqxr.org/
    105.9FM
    http://www.thegreenespace.org/

    For great Jazz

    88.3FM http://wbgo.org/

    WPRB 103.3FM

    Dan Buskirk Spinning Jazz Mondays 11:00AM-1:00PM
    Will Constantine Jr, Blues Bop and Beyond Thursdays 11:00-2:00 featuring Latin Jazz
    Jerry Gordon Serenade to a Cookoo Frdays 11:00AM-2:00PM with Jerry’s Room at 1:00Pm
    Jeannie Becker Sunday Jazz 10:00AM-1:00Pm


    Please visit The Jazz Loft Project based on the work of Sam Stephenson
    Please visit The Jazz Loft Radio project from New York Public Radio

     
  • richardmitnick 8:31 PM on May 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: New Music USA announces $530000 in awards to 108 projects, NEWMUSICBOX   

    From NEWMUSICBOX: “New Music USA announces $530,000 in awards to 108 projects” 

    New Music USA


    From NEWMUSICBOX

    New Music USA announced today its eighth round of project grants, totaling $530,000 in funding to support artistic work involving a wide range of new American music. The 108 awarded projects include concerts and recordings, as well as support for dance, theater, opera, and more, all involving contemporary music as an essential element. Of the newly awarded projects, 44% feature people of color and 63% feature female or non-binary project organizers or main collaborators. Explore and follow the newly awarded projects to receive email updates as they unfold.

    To date, an additional $80,205 over the program’s original annual budgets were made available through the actions of New Music Connect: The Network for Friends of New Music. This additional investment adds support to projects that qualified for funding as part of our grant program’s panel process. New Music Connect is designed to link and engage individuals from across the United States who advocate for and financially support the new music field.

    See all of the grant winners here.


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    stem
    Stem Education Coalition

    See the full article here.

    At NewMusicUSA, we see ourselves first and foremost as advocates. Our mission is to support and promote new music created in the United States. We do that in many ways, fostering connections, deepening knowledge, encouraging appreciation, and providing financial support. In recognition of the possibility and power inherent in the virtual world, we’ve worked to build a strong internet platform to serve our constituency. And that constituency is broad and diverse, from composers and performers to presenters and producers, casual listeners to die-hard fans. We’re truly committed to serving the WHOLE new music community.

    As we go about our work, we make a point of not defining too precisely what we mean by new music. To define is to limit. It’s a spectacular time for musical creativity in part because so much music is being made that isn’t bound by conventional limitations of style or genre or background. The music that we hear being created in such abundance all around us is definition enough. We simply want it to flourish.

    We’re fortunate to have as our legacy the history of previous decades of good works done by the American Music Center and Meet The Composer, the two great organizations that merged to form us in 2011. Their legacies have also brought a small financial endowment that mostly helps support our grantmaking. But we’re not a foundation. We depend decisively each year on the generosity of so many institutions and individuals around the country who are dedicated as we are to the advancement of new music and are devoted to supporting our work.

    New Music USA is part of an international community of advocates for the arts. We’re members of the Performing Arts Alliance, the International Association of Music Information Centres, and the International Society for Contemporary Music. Those partnerships help us represent the interests of our constituents at every level.

    John Schaefer


    For new music by living composers

    newsounds.org from New York Public Radio


    https://www.wnyc.org/
    93.9FM
    https://www.wqxr.org/
    105.9FM
    http://www.thegreenespace.org/

    For great Jazz

    88.3FM http://wbgo.org/

    WPRB 103.3FM

    Dan Buskirk Spinning Jazz Mondays 11:00AM-1:00PM
    Will Constantine Jr, Blues Bop and Beyond Thursdays 11:00-2:00 featuring Latin Jazz
    Jerry Gordon Serenade to a Cookoo Frdays 11:00AM-2:00PM with Jerry’s Room at 1:00Pm
    Jeannie Becker Sunday Jazz 10:00AM-1:00Pm


    Please visit The Jazz Loft Project based on the work of Sam Stephenson
    Please visit The Jazz Loft Radio project from New York Public Radio

     
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