The Academic Airfare Reimbursement Scam

I have a complaint that I've never seen addressed publicly, but talking to colleagues has made it clear that I'm not the only one affected. For better or worse, the bulk of my professional life takes place these days in academia. Schools, universities, invite me to lecture, give concerts, and so on.  I'm grateful to them. Most of them ask me to arrange my own plane trip, promising to reimburse me for the airfare. Recently this happened with several schools at once, involving flights to Europe, and I don't have that kind of cash on hand, so I … [Read more...]

Occupying New Music: Guest Blog


My friend and colleague John Halle is the most politically astute and engaged composer I know. He was one of the organizers, with Judd Greenstein, of the Occupy Musicians web site that I featured recently. Now John has written a two-part article about issues surrounding what he perceives as a relative lack of commitment to the Occupy Wall Street movement on the part of composers, suggesting that our interests are sometimes entangled with those of the 1%. Unsurprisingly, the article has been turned down as overly provocative by several music … [Read more...]

The Non-Obvious Explanation

Never mind why, but I'm in Missouri. And locals are telling me that, since it was an open primary here and anyone could vote, Missouri Democrats voted en masse for Santorum just to jerk the Republicans' chains. And the talking heads are going on and on about the mystery of Mr. Man-on-Dog-Sex's resurgence, which, in this state, seems to have been a practical joke. Priceless.   … [Read more...]

What a Guy


I interviewed Philip Glass live in front of an enthusiastic student/faculty audience at Bard tonight. It's the second time I've done such a thing; the first was about 15 years ago in NYC, and Phil and I couldn't remember what school it was. But Phil insisted on writing my introduction for him, saying, "These students may not know who I am." And here is the entirety of the autobiographical part he wrote: "He began, as a composer, at the age of 20, and has thus far spent 55 years in this general line of work." I said to the audience, "If you … [Read more...]

In My Lefty Dreams

I actually dreamed this morning that Obama's secret drone program was really a minimalist sound installation, a kind of soft Phill Niblock piece coming from concealed loudspeakers. … [Read more...]