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The Importance of Women Role Models in This Industry

Recently, I overheard a conversation between two educators about the lack of young girls interested in playing jazz music. One asked the other why it seemed like there weren’t as many girls as boys interested in playing instrumental jazz. The other person replied, “Well, where are the women jazz mentors?” Together, they concluded that it wasn’t that men aren’t able to properly mentor young female jazz instrumentalists, it just seemed that because of the lack of apparent women role models, young ...
Tags: Articles, Columns, NewMusicBox, Career Training, Education, Mentorship, Role Models


In Search of Robert Palmer

It was after midnight, the recording session was in two days, and the AirBnB I had booked wasn’t nearly as close to downtown as it had promised. The last time I came to Ithaca, New York, to look through Robert Palmer’s archive—months ago, just before my first Palmer recording session—I stayed in a nondescript house just next to the Cornell campus, its walls breathing generations of college students. I had easily grabbed my key out of an unlocked mailbox in the entryway. This place, however, ...
Tags: Analysis, Articles, NewMusicBox, Piano, Recording, Rediscovery, Research


Contrarian Spirit—Remembering Randy Nordschow (1969-2019)

[Ed Note: For many years, NewMusicBox has published memorial essays honoring significant people in our field, written by people who had an important connection to that person, either as a student, a long-term collaborator, or—in a few cases—as a member of that person’s family. Reaching out to those authors has long been one of the most emotionally difficult aspects of my work here, but I realize it pales compared to what those authors experience while writing these essays. In fact, many of the m...
Tags: London, California, New York City, Religion, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Czech Republic, Brooklyn, Netherlands, Beethoven, Andy Warhol, Warhol, Pink, Experimental music, Alberta, San Francisco Bay Area


Hear It New!

With just under a month to go until National Sawdust opens Classical:NEXT in Rotterdam, now feels like a great time to reflect on the program we’ve curated for our first international outing. The opening concert, Hear It New!, highlights the breadth of National Sawdust’s work with composers, performers, filmmakers and designers, demonstrating the potential for true collaboration to create boundary-pushing new music which is relevant to our society. The program highlights artists from our close c...
Tags: Amazon, Europe, Usa, Religion, Washington Dc, Peru, Kennedy Center, Columns, National Geographic, Rotterdam, Emma, Amanda, Beverly Hills California, Susan Sontag, National Sawdust, Kavanaugh


The Impossible Dream: Scoring My First Documentary

I didn’t grow up watching movies. I never liked sitcoms or reality shows. Ever since I was little, I always had a strong aversion towards watching TV because I always felt it to be meaningless mind poison. Playing, learning, and listening to new music have always been my favorite forms of entertainment and my main sources of enjoyment. Gradually, as I continued to explore different worlds of music, I found myself more and more fascinated by soundtracks. The more I listened to them, the more intr...
Tags: Education, Religion, Articles, San Francisco, Columns, Scoring, Tim, Juilliard, TAC, Samuel Barber, Career Planning, Colline, NewMusicBox, Film Soundtracks, Film Scoring, Javid Soriano


Do you need a doctorate in composition?

Do you need a doctorate in composition? No, you don’t. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have value. In the nearly twenty years that I have been teaching composition at universities and conservatories, the most common question I am asked by students not already in doctoral programs is which ones they should apply to. The assumption of these young composers is that the next logical or expected step in the progression of their musical development is to seek an advanced degree in a field where...
Tags: Networking, Education, Religion, Articles, San Francisco, Teaching, Career Advice, Commentary, Career Path, PhD, NewMusicBox, Vlad Kutepov, Der Blaue Reiter, Scratch Orchestra


Ellen Reid Wins 2019 Pulitzer Prize

p r i s m, an opera by Ellen Reid, has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music. The annually awarded $15,000 prize is for a distinguished musical composition by an American that has had its first performance or recording in the United States during the previous year. The Pulitzer citation for p r i s m, which was a co-production of LA Opera and the PROTOTYPE Festival in New York City and features a libretto by Roxie Perkins, describes it as “a bold new operatic work that uses sophisticated voca...
Tags: Headlines, Aretha Franklin, New York City, Religion, Los Angeles, United States, Andrew Norman, LA Opera, New World Records, David Harrington, Du Yun, Composition Awards, Ellen Reid, NewMusicBox, Ashlee Mack, James Romig


Opening Concepts—The Themes That Shape Each Year’s Edition of Classical:NEXT

With only four weeks to go until Classical:NEXT, I am taking this opportunity to breathe and reflect, a rare thing to do as general manager during the crunch phase of production. I currently feel like I’ve run a full marathon already and am getting my last energy together for the final sprint. I wonder where this last year has gone and if we are really opening the doors for the eighth time? As it approaches, you always have to ask: Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was packing my bag for another w...
Tags: London, France, Religion, America, Canada, Brooklyn, United States, Rotterdam, Philadelphia Orchestra, National Sawdust, Yannick Nézet Séguin, Marin Alsop, Le Bureau, Tanya Tagaq, Michael Tilson Thomas, Sphinx Organization


A Newly Endowed Residency Program for Underrepresented Composers

Sitting in the Oberlin Conservatory’s large rehearsal room listening to the musicians of the Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra (NOYO) rehearse for the world premiere of Kari Watson’s Morning Music for Fish, their excitement in anticipation of the concert is palpable—and infectious. It’s a welcome sensation: the extraordinary variety and vibrancy of music-making in 2019 is undeniable, yet so is the constant hand-wringing that now seems to be a permanent feature of the classical music discourse. But i...
Tags: Headlines, Religion, Youth Orchestra, Emerging Composer, NewMusicBox, Composers-in-residence, New Music Funders, New Music Funding


Teamwork in the Conservatory: In the Game of Music, We Can All Win

My yoga teacher once said something that really stuck with me: What helps “we” also helps “me.” Time after time, my experiences have verified this to be true. The occasions in which I have grown the most have all involved collaborating with my peers and coworkers. I strongly believe that no collective growth can occur without there first being individual growth, but that when an individual grows, so does the group. This is also a key component of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s (SFCM) ...
Tags: Networking, Education, Religion, San Francisco, UC Berkeley, Joe, Bay Area, Ableton, Msp, Thomas, Jessica, Jonathan, Khalid, Recording Academy, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Conservatory of Music


What kind of music do you write?

What kind of music do you write? Composers all get this question. All the time. I was at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago this past December where I spent a lot of time with composers, conductors, and band directors, and you can imagine how many times it came up. As composers, we even ask other composers this question knowing full well that the answer can often times be quite complicated. While at Midwest, I finally had the opportunity to meet Libby Larson. (And if you have not met her, I highly re...
Tags: Religion, Articles, Analysis, Chicago, Labels, Midwest, SHELLEY, Judah Adashi, Kevin Clark, Missy Mazzoli, Genre, Midwest Clinic, Marcos Balter, Hannah Schiller, Libby Larson, NewMusicBox


Seeking to Facilitate the “New Normal”

There’s a first time for everything and this is the first time anyone has ever asked me to write a blog post. So here I sit, on a train en route to the Czech Republic just after treading numerous, long-haul carbon footprints on musical discovery trips between my Berlin home and Miami, New York City, Cape Town, and Johannesburg. Not unusual in my life since starting work on Classical:NEXT, an annual international art music professionals’ gathering, and these travels reinforce for me the importanc...
Tags: Usa, Australia, France, Berlin, Religion, US, America, Czech Republic, Canada, Britain, Brooklyn, New York Times, Poland, Belgium, Brazil, Johannesburg


2019 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Awards Announced

ASCAP Foundation President Paul Williams today announced the recipients of the 2019 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, which encourage talented young creators of concert music ranging in age from 10 to 30. The 2019 Morton Gould Young Composer Awards composer/judges were: Timo Andres, Martha Mooke, Tamar Muskal, Jeffrey Scott, Robert Sirota, and Edward Smaldone. The 21 recipients of the 2019 Morton Gould Young Composer Awards are listed with their age, current city and state...
Tags: Headlines, New York, Religion, Awards, US, Los Angeles, Austin, Cambridge, Jack, Princeton, Pittsburgh, Ascap, New York Ny, Gould, Astoria, Hudson NY


I Came Here With Nothing: 21st-Century Paths in Music Education

I applied to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s Technology and Applied Composition (TAC) program as a very lost graphic design major transferring from the University of San Francisco. While I didn’t come from a strict classical background, I was a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and a passionate electronic music maker. Thankfully, SFCM saw a certain sense of originality and talent in my art, and I got accepted into one of the newest and most groundbreaking music technology programs tha...
Tags: Education, Religion, Articles, Sony, Columns, San Mateo, Max MSP, TAC, Audio Engineering, Recording Studio, Music Technology, NewMusicBox, University of San Francisco While, MaryClare Brzytwa, San Francisco Art Institute SFAI, Seira McCarthy


Hannibal Lokumbe: Always Go With the Feeling

Video Presentations and Photography by Molly Sheridan Transcription by Julia Lu For the past three years, composer/trumpeter/raconteur/poet/community activist/force of nature Hannibal Lokumbe has served as a composer-in-residence with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the auspices of Music Alive, a program which New Music USA administers in partnership with the League of American Orchestras. The culmination of this residency is Hannibal’s massive oratorio Healing Tones, which at the end of March ...
Tags: Japan, Texas, London, Berlin, New York City, Africa, Religion, Atlanta, Rome, Jimi Hendrix, Soul, Brooklyn, United States, South Dakota, Tennessee, Community


In A Novel About New Music, Do Re Mi Meets DNA

It’s no wonder that some composers of new music feel neglected. Not only do they have trouble finding an audience for their music, but they, unlike writers and detectives, are rarely portrayed in novels. One notable exception is the 2014 novel Orfeo, by Richard Powers, whose protagonist is a contemporary composer who inadvertently demonstrates how avant-garde music can reach “hundreds of thousands of listeners.” Just set up a home laboratory to insert musical patterns into the genome of a common...
Tags: Religion, America, Analysis, Steve Reich, Homeland Security, Darmstadt, Alex Ross, University Of Illinois, John Cage, Reich, Melville, Davenport, Olivier Messiaen, Mahler, Mann, Faust


Pro-Tips and Scripts: Autistic Accessibility in Music

You’ve reached Part 4 of the Introductory Course to Improving Autistic Accessibility in Music, and this one’s full of action! Today, we get into the nuances of common things you will stumble upon as you increase your autistic awareness and start organizing with autistic people in mind. I offer pro-tips, concrete ways to take positive action, and sample scripts for a variety of music-related scenarios. If you need to review the basics, check out the primer in my Open Letter From Your Autistic Col...
Tags: Google, Facebook, Religion, Articles, Accessibility, Autism, Bravo, Columns, Ada, Aba, Dialog, Christine Miserandino, NewMusicBox, Twitter Instagram Facebook YouTube, Christian Chen, Audience Accommodation


“This event is probably not unique”: On communication and metaphor in Robert Ashley’s Improvement

The opening words of Robert Ashley’s Improvement are a bit of a head-scratcher: “To continue, I must explain an idea that I am inadequate to communicate in the music.” Continue what? It’s the first line of the opera. And communicate what? If he didn’t think himself capable of communicating via music, why write an opera, of all things? Over the course of the next 88 minutes, seven voices attempt to communicate this unexplainable idea alongside an orchestral accompaniment consisting of a MIDI-cont...
Tags: New York City, Religion, Articles, Communication, Spain, Analysis, United States, Language, New York Times, Theater, Bob, Opera, Johnson, Voice, Hamilton, Bell


Q&A: Autistic Accessibility in Music

Welcome to Part 3 of my Introductory Course to Improving Autistic Accessibility in Music. In this post, I will answer a selection of the wonderful reader-submitted questions, covering topics like sensory-friendly rooms, classroom techniques, wheelchair accessibility, stimming, and more. I have condensed, edited, and combined several questions. As always, my answers represent solely my own opinions and do not necessarily represent the views of other autistic people, whom you should learn from as ...
Tags: Google, Facebook, Religion, Articles, Disability, Autism, Columns, Q&a, Kathy, Nick Walker, NewMusicBox, Audience Accommodation, Expanding Audiences, Strengthsfinder


Quick Cuts for Big Ears

Attending the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville is a delicious game of choice and chance, forcing you to pick between such things as overlapping performances by Rhiannon Giddens, Theo Bleckmann, and Joan La Barbara—and that’s just the first night! But with only a week to go until the kickoff of the 2019 edition of the festival (March 21-24), decisions will need to be made, so we’re combing through the schedule and getting excited to consume as much music as we can cram into our ears (and the hours ...
Tags: California, Religion, Articles, Discovery, Festival, Village Voice, Listen, Bela Fleck, Oberlin, Tupperware, Knoxville, Caroline Shaw, Meredith Monk, Alvin Lucier, Gabriel Kahane, Halvorson


18 Composers Receive 2019 ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards

The ASCAP Foundation has announced the 18 recipients and 4 honorable mentions of the 2019 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards. The recipients, who receive cash awards, range in age from 11 to 29 and hail from five continents. They were selected through a juried national competition; the ASCAP composer/judges for the 2019 competition were: Fabian Almazan, Erica Lindsay, and Nate Smith. The 14 winners of the 2019 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award… Top row (left to right): Eri Chichibu, ...
Tags: Headlines, New York, California, Boston, Religion, Los Angeles, Chicago, Brooklyn, New Jersey, Jazz, Miami, Dublin, Pittsburgh, Prospect Park, Ascap, Yokohama Japan


Master Guide to Improving Autistic Accessibility in Music

“Something’s wrong!” my mom cried. “My headphones malfunctioned! My video sounds blurry!” I put on her new, fancy headphones and watched the video. It was the singer in the plaza. It sounded crystal clear. I had been there. “What do you mean it’s blurry?” I asked. “There’s a lot of noise! It didn’t sound like that in real life!” “Um, that’s exactly what it sounded like in real life,” I retorted, frustrated with her imaginary tech issue. My mom looked hurt by my dismissal of her problem. This w...
Tags: Religion, Articles, Diversity, Autism, Columns, Equity, Audience, Inclusion, Nick Walker, NewMusicBox, Autistic Hoya, Nakeisha Campbell


Artist Financial Profile: Tony Manfredonia, Game Music and Orchestral Composer

Let’s Talk About Money, an Introduction You can learn just about anything on the internet. For musicians, there’s a trend in talking about, teaching, and practicing entrepreneurship—an essential skill for anyone who wants to make a life in the arts. To clarify, entrepreneurship, in the artistic sense, has evolved to encompass everything from the hard and soft business skills needed to run your career to starting your own business. People like Angela Myles Beeching, Mark Rabideau and 21CM, Garre...
Tags: Google, Money, Religion, Articles, Budgeting, Netflix, Finances, Columns, Skype, Maria, Temple University, Tony, Northwest Michigan, Career Planning, Petoskey Michigan, David Cutler


At the Intersection of Digital Audible Histories and Experimental Music Practice

So much of Seth Cluett’s concert music and installation practice deals with memory and embodied experience. Cluett, who grew up in rural upstate New York, recalls the experience of standing on the porch and hearing the wind come through the trees before he could feel it on his body. “There’s always been this haptic connection between being present in a space that makes sound and feeling the source of that sound.” That is what draws me to Cluett’s music—the way it evokes memories and his attentio...
Tags: New York, New York City, Religion, Articles, Analysis, United States, Nypl, Italy, Columbia University, Exhibition, Electronic Music, Bell Labs, New York Public Library, Princeton, Columbia, Varese


An Open Letter From Your Autistic Colleague

Musicians, arts administrators, colleagues: It’s time we talk about autism. No, we’re not talking about autism charity efforts, nor once-a-year concerts for autistic children, and goodness, no, not inspirational stories. Autistic people exist at all ages, all times of the year, and in rather ordinary aspects of life. We’re everywhere: We are fellow musicians, collaborators, and artists. We are enthusiastic audience members, patrons, and guests. And so it’s time you adapted a permanent framework...
Tags: Religion, Articles, Autism, Columns, Audience, Inclusion, Asperger, DSM, NewMusicBox, Chrysanthe Tan, Autistic Hoya


Bright Sheng: My Father’s Letter and Bernstein’s Question

Video Presentations and Photography by Molly Sheridan Transcription by Julia Lu We’ve been wanting to talk with Bright Sheng for years, but given his teaching schedule at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and his commitments to participate in performances of his music either as a pianist or a conductor all over the world, he has been difficult to pin down. But when we finally met with him on Presidents’ Day in his pied-à-terre across the street from Lincoln Center, it proved to be worth th...
Tags: Hong Kong, Europe, Usa, New York, Tibet, France, China, Russia, New York City, Religion, America, San Francisco, Gorbachev, Ukraine, United States, New York Times


The Voice in the Machine

Electronic sound has been part of American musical life for over a century. As early as 1907, audiences in New York attended concerts featuring the massive early synthesizer, the Telharmonium. Just over two decades later, tens of thousands of listeners heard the theremin in concerts and radio broadcasts, around the same time that thousands of organists began playing the Hammond Organ in churches across the country. Music historians tend to use these three instruments as examples of early technol...
Tags: New York, Electronics, Jay Z, Religion, Digital, Articles, Kanye West, Cher, Globe, Columns, Voice, Kanye, Bon Iver, Meaning, Karlheinz Stockhausen, John Cage


‘Singers and Musicians’ Part 2: On Conductors, Identity, and Musical Segregation

When I wrote the first post in this series, “Singers and Musicians” and Why Our Language Matters, I expected there to be a strong response from the people in my closest circle of friends and colleagues. I was not expecting the response to be quite so far-reaching. While I don’t know how many times the article has been viewed, my own Facebook post with the article was shared over 150 times—certainly a new personal record! I think one of the reasons the article resonated with people so strongly is...
Tags: Facebook, Usa, Religion, America, United States, James MacMillan, Kendrick Lamar, Columns, Choral music, Bernstein, Lamar, Wynton Marsalis, Merriam Webster, Bach, Duke Ellington, Winter Garden Florida


“Hearing” the Hammond Organ

The Hammond Organ was the first electronic musical instrument to become commercially successful. Just two years after it went on sale in 1935, major radio stations and Hollywood studios, hundreds of individuals, and over 2,500 churches had purchased a Hammond. The instrument had a major impact on the soundscape of both popular and religious musical life in the U.S., but it has been largely ignored by electronic music historians. Like the Telharmonium and theremin, whose own popular pasts are not...
Tags: Hollywood, Religion, Articles, Chicago, Commission, University Of Chicago, Columns, Federal Trade Commission, Hammond, Hammonds, Crawley, Organ, Barnes, University of Texas, Richards, Atlantic City New Jersey


Plus Ça Change: Florence B. Price in the #BlackLivesMatter Era

“While more and more blacks are being driven into homelessness,” a classical music fan fumed, “Mostly Mozart is rewarded with government, corporate, and media support.” The problem? No black composers on the program—not even Mozart’s great contemporary, Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges. We can easily imagine this critique as a sick Twitter burn from last summer, or last week. Calls to diversify classical music programs intensify regularly. But the sad truth is that many organizations a...
Tags: Publishing, New York, Justice, Mexico, New York City, Religion, Articles, Indianapolis, Analysis, Green, Chicago, Racism, United States, Trayvon Martin, Arkansas, Yale