Students without Sleep

Tomorrow night my string quartet Concord Spiral is being premiered by Contemporaneous, the remarkable new-music ensemble of Bard students run by Dylan Mattingly and David Bloom that's not connected with Bard, they just do it. They give several concerts a year here, and tour from Hudson to NYC. This concert's at 8 PM at the Bard Chapel, and also includes world premieres by Ryan Chase and William Zuckerman. And I'm still on a high from my residency at Central Michigan University, who on Tuesday presented the best-performed one-composer concert … [Read more...]

A Pawn in the Schemes of Young Composers

I'm in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, which the locals freely admit is smack in the middle of one of the flattest expanses of real estate in North America. Were it not for fences and the occasional bridge over a highway, I think I could roll a golf ball from here to Detroit. Here, the music department of Central Michigan University is kindly presenting a concert of my music for this Tuesday evening, and I'll be meeting with composition students until then. I was invited by Director of Music Events John Jacobson, but my host has been composer Jay … [Read more...]

The Happier Profession

Nervous as I get when I’m in charge of something, the minimalism colloquium I directed at Bard last weekend was nevertheless a continual pleasure. Eight of us musicologists got together to air the more-or-less-completed torsos of our chapters for the Ashgate Companion to Minimalist Music. The Brits (Keith Potter, Pwyll Ap Sion, John Pymm) were the energy behind this, and it seems a rather British way of doing things; I’d never been through such a process before. But we do want to make sure that the different chapters balance each other well, … [Read more...]

Don’t Take It Personally

I never liked Facebook. I joined by accident. Someone contacted me asking about a pianist who played my music 30 years ago, and I looked her up and found a Facebook page. I had to join to see her page, and it turned out to be the wrong person anyway. I didn't understand the privacy controls at first, and my Facebook page was a morass of conversations by people I'd mostly never heard of. I figured most of the people who wanted to friend me were musicians advertising their concerts and recordings, and I had no particular reason to turn anyone … [Read more...]

Does Greatness Rub Off?


I'm recovering from our highly successful minimalism colloquium I ran at Bard, which I hope to write about soon. Meanwhile, free-jazz-or-whatever pianist Jason Moran sent me a couple more pics from Other Minds. One's me and Louis Andriessen at Djerassi: Another is me soaking up some of that MacArthur vibe from Trimpin and Jason at our hotel in San Francisco:   … [Read more...]

What Other Minds Look Like


Here, courtesy of OM-Radio director Richard Friedman, were the composers at Other Minds this year: Louis Andriessen, I Wayan Balawan, Han Bennink, myself, Janice Giteck, David A. Jaffe, Jason Moran, Agata Zubel, and Other Minds director (and fantastic composer himself) Charles Amirkhanian: Here I am giving a presentation on my music and suddenly realizing that I had subconsciously plagiarized the theme from "Baywatch": Here the Djerassi landscape takes a long look at me and notable Dutch jazz drummer Han Bennink: Here I am … [Read more...]

Minimalism at Bard


More about the recently-ended Other Minds festival soon, but first it is rather urgent to announce that my music department is hosting a colloquium on minimalist music this Saturday and Sunday, March 12 and 13. Eight scholars from Great Britain and America will convene to give papers, and the purpose is to initiate the process of putting together the Ashgate Companion to Minimalist Music, scheduled for publication in 2013. The papers will be presented as follows: Saturday, March 12: 10:00               Keith Potter, "Precursors: Mapping … [Read more...]