Conservatory Theory


Wayne Koestenbaum writes in his Hotel Theory how a hotel represents an ever-changing collection of people. A not-random assortment, complicated in its variability and contextual specificity. How about the various people on an airplane headed from New York to Amsterdam? Or Boston to Cancun? Or the musicians gathered in and by a conservatory? At Juilliard, we had at one time (students and teachers): Dorothy Delay, Felix Galimir, Milton … [Read more...]



After a concert I played in Munich in May, there was a question-and-answer session. (I performed music written by Alvin Curran, Sylvano Bussotti, and Earle Brown.) One audience member asked if a performer of newish music still needs to study Chopin's etudes? Since the pervasive use of photography by visual artists, the question arises in art schools: "Do art students need to learn how to draw?" To the question in Munich, my immediate … [Read more...]

Global Warming


American conservatories have been redesigned from without -- through an increasingly high level of applicants. In the United States, we have no national network of government-sanctioned schools of music. No national conservatory. Our high-level schools are schools to the world. And the students get better every year. Now, people play the piano so well, it can be hard to look for more. To some extent, almost every excellent college looks at … [Read more...]