Everybody Gets a 100th Birthday Sometime


I am not much given to commemorating accidents of the calendar - anniversaries, centenaries, and so on - but given my history with the subject, I would be remiss, I think, if I failed to note that Conlon Nancarrow was born a hundred years ago today. Next weekend I will be in Berkeley for the Nancarrow at 100 conference/festival being presented by Other Minds. I have been interviewed frequently these last few months for radio programs and newspaper articles on Cage and Nancarrow, and I haven't received many of the URLs at which those interviews … [Read more...]

The silence of eternity…

Tomorrow afternoon will hear the world premiere of my chamber orchestra piece Serenity Meditation at the Bowling Green New Music Festival. Written in the summer of 2011, it's based on Charles Ives's song Serenity, which I've always wished was much longer. I'm grateful to John Luther Adams for curating it; he's there now, and speaking this afternoon. I had hoped to go, but with Bill Duckworth dying, I've already missed more classes than I could afford this semester, and my course continuity is threatening to get out of control. … [Read more...]

Misfits in the Corridors of Power

I let myself get talked into becoming chair of the arts division at my school this year. No musician had ever done it before. I get to teach one less course per semester for doing it, so in effect my position is 40 percent administrative for the next three years. This does not come naturally to me at all. What comes naturally to me is being the disgruntled rebel outsider, not the authority figure who's charged with haranguing his colleagues to live up to their responsibilities. Problem is, that seems to be pretty much true of all the other … [Read more...]

Scenario at Last


In 2004 I completed a setting, for soprano and soundfile (tape? CD?) of a wild text by humorist S.J. Perelman called "Scenario." I haven't been able to find what year the text was first published, but I suppose Perelman (one of the funniest writers ever, and with an unparalleled genius for wordplay) had been slaving away in Hollywood, where he worked on the scripts for the early Marx Brothers movies. "Scenario" is a stream-of-consciousness satire of a scenario for a movie, a hysterical profusion of not only scene descriptions and actions but … [Read more...]

Bill’s Tunes

I'm remiss in not having let you know earlier that a tribute concert to Bill Duckworth is taking place tomorrow night (Tuesday) at Le Poisson Rouge in Manhattan, at 7:30 (doors open at 6:30). Neely Bruce, Lois Svard, Margaret Leng Tan, Tom Buckner, and others will perform his indelible music. … [Read more...]