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“Will I Die? You Bet I Will.”

Steve Reich is the Bob Dylan of classical music: Everyone loves the revolutionary early stuff (“Come Out,” “Piano Phase,” “Four Organs,”) but the variety and longevity of the career that followed inspires more controversy. And also like Dylan, whose 2020 album “Rough and Rowdy Ways” was largely acclaimed, Reich’s most recent work is worth a […]

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Into the Cosmic Unknown

When does your experience of a new piece of music begin? When you hear the first note? When the performers first enter the space? Or does the context of the venue’s ambience beforehand also affect how you take in the piece? Does the experience begin with the first rehearsal, the first compositional sketch, the first […]

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The Troubled Kids Club

Starting tomorrow, the New York-based Experiments in Opera will launch its latest venture: a ten-part video opera series told in 15-minute segments. Each segment is written by a different composer-librettist team. In “Everything for Dawn,” the eponymous heroine spends her critical teenage years coming to terms with her father’s mental illness and eventual suicide, which […]

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Advanced Easy Listening

Christof Dienz is a composer, zither player, and bassoonist, born in Innsbruck in 1968. This year he was joint artistic director—along with composer Clara Iannotta—of the Klangspuren (“Sound Traces”) festival in Austria. Based in the small Tyrolean town of Schwaz in the Austrian Alps, Klangspuren features 18 concerts given over 18 days in venues around […]

Posted inBreaking

Unveiling

On September 13, a 22-year-old Iranian-Kurdish woman named Mahsa Amini was detained by the Islamic Republic of Iran’s “morality police” in Tehran. Three days later, she died in police custody. Protests erupted around the country, and while their causes are manifold, they have been led by women and take as their primary target what Iranian […]

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A Glutton for Sound

As a Southcentral Alaskan kid in the early ’90s, I was unaware of the composer patiently crafting his strict and sensuous body of work 600 miles to the north, close to the Arctic Circle. In 2013, after living, studying and composing for a decade on the Eastern Seaboard, I co-founded a new music project in […]

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The Beautiful Moment

Wadada Leo Smith plays the trumpet with a brilliant, forceful sound and has been a major creative figure in jazz for over 50 years. This century, his importance and prominence as a composer have grown. His beautiful and moving large-scale piece, “Ten Freedom Summers,” made him a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music in […]

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A Spiritual Vibration

In Chinese, the characters to describe the type of intense intellectual bond that transcends words like “friendship” or “romance” mean: “Know yourself.” The term is pronounced zhiji in Mandarin, but the characters—and core meaning—remains the same across other dialects. To know yourself, in other words, depends on recognizing your image reflected in another. In turn, […]

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Targeted Melodies

In “What Grieves Frenzy Drown’d,” an album released on SCRIPTS Records in April by 27-year-old New York-based guitarist Alec Goldfarb, melodies rise out of coarse microtonal string textures like strange objects—both ancient and modern, water-smooth rocks and plastic detritus—found on a rough-hewn beach. Occasionally these melodies sound familiar, influenced by Goldfarb’s immersion in Indian classical […]