The Season in Gannitude

I'm rather astonished by the convergence of major performances I suddenly have in the next several weeks, some of which I only just now learned of:Tonight, January 30: The lovely Sarah Cahill plays my War Is Just a Racket as part of her political music project "A Sweeter Music." The concert's at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak Street in that city at 8 PM.February 2: The Mark Morris Dance Group will perform Looky, Mark's dance to five of my Disklavier pieces, at the Fine Arts Center concert hall at the University of Massachusetts … [Read more...]

Getting Off the Assembly Line

Your generous responses to my little outburst about being tired of blogging certainly made it clear what most useful direction this blog can continue to go in. I may be out of ideas I haven't expounded, but my file cabinets and hard drives are still chockablock with music that's not in general circulation, and listeners are eager to have their experience widened. If I do no more than satisfy that longing, I will have felt that my trip to this planet was not in vain. If I become in the process sort of the Dick Cavett of avant-garde music, so be … [Read more...]

But I Thought My Office Was THIS Way!

I'll tell you one perennial feature of academic life that I would gladly forgo is the inevitable beginning-of-semester anxiety dream. This time Bard was an urban campus high in the hills, clotted with fast-food courts, and a new music building had been built on the tallest hill. There was a long iron staircase leading to it, but it wasn't the obvious staircase; you had to go underneath and around somewhere. I swear I remembered the layout of the new building from a previous dream, a semester or two ago. My first attempt to get there having … [Read more...]

BAM? Damn! Thank You, Mark

During my years at the Voice I would periodically opine that Brooklyn Academy of Music was the best place to perform in the country because they had the savviest, most interested audience one could ever wish for. Ever since 1981, when I saw Satyagraha there while coincidentally sitting in the balcony next to Steve Reich (to whom I didn't reveal that I recognized him), I've considered it the Taj Mahal of the avant-garde. I never imagined that I was hip enough to ever have my music played there. But this afternoon a colleague mentioned having … [Read more...]

Land of the Forgotten Composers

Thursday I got a request from a site called Classical Lost and Found asking me to link to their site in return for their linking to my site. I don't like doing this. First, if I had taken every request I've gotten like this, my blog roll would be a mile long. Secondly, the last thing I need is a bunch of classical-music fans sticking their nose into my blog and clutching their pearls over my references to whale vaginas and uninflected dynamics. After all the work I've done to try to reduce my readership, it might put me back to square one. … [Read more...]

Aiming My File Cabinets into the Right Student’s Ears

Kyle, please keep blogging regularly. Your metametrics posts literally changed my life when I was starting my undergrad. I am now waiting to hear from grad schools after sending them applications and writing samples covered in the names Branca, Chatham, and Gordon. This comment to my last post sticks acupuncture-like into my reasons for blogging or not blogging, my attitude about teaching, and a lot of other aspects of my life. I never press minimalism, postminimalism, or totalism on my students. Some of my composition students are very … [Read more...]

What Blogs Are Good For

[Update below] I haven't been blogging. Just haven't felt like it.  1. I keep noticing that I'm repeating myself. I'll write a blog entry and two days later notice I expressed the same idea in 2005, better.  2. I'm tired of being criticized, which is something that's been an issue my entire life. In high school I was practicing Webern, Ruggles, and Rochberg, and was told by my classmates that I wasn't as good a pianist as this kid who could play "Hava Nagila," because he played music people liked. In my early years as a critic, the criticism … [Read more...]

Fellow Space Cadets

Today we finished mixing and mastering the Relache ensemble's compact disc of my suite The Planets. I also recently finished my new piece The Rite of Spring, and am hard at work on one called Scheherazade. From now on I'm only using titles that have been pre-tested for widespread audience appeal.That was a joke. If it were in a book or newspaper, the reader, lacking the potential to respond immediately, might have been forced to mull it over until he or she chuckled, or at least got it, but on the internet it's probably better that nonliteral … [Read more...]