Posted inHistory

Rhapsody in the Dark

In 1989, the Government of Algeria submitted to the journal of the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres (IAML) what it termed a “somewhat difficult request.”  It concerned the country’s most fabled and lauded composer, Mohamed Iguerbouchène.  By then he had been dead for almost a quarter of a century. Born in […]

Posted inInterview

Personal Mathematics

“Music,” says composer and woodwind player Roscoe Mitchell, “is a science.” The octogenarian is in Bergen, Norway, for the city’s annual Borealis Festival of experimental music. In a few days’ time, he’ll bring the weekend to a thrilling close with two sets, one solo (accompanied by several pre-recorded videos of himself improvising at home), and […]

Posted inEssay

Necessary Shadows

Who invented black metal, that hateful, unholy, visionary genre? Potential candidates include bands Venom, Celtic Frost, Mercyful Fate, or, most likely, the revolutionary Bathory. But exactly 100 years before Venom’s 1982 album “Black Metal” codified the term, the world saw a work similarly infused with perverted religiosity, hatred, mutilation, darkness, extreme ideological stances, blood, racist […]

Posted inInterview

Digging

Cassie Kinoshi’s compositions appear on her SoundCloud in a couple of unassuming annual collections. The six-minute clips are given generic titles like “Compositions: Instrumental Showreel 2020.” But beneath their utilitarian form lie collections of substantial creativity. “Afronaut,” a gritty Afrofuturist track from the Mercury Award-nominated SEED Ensemble, sits alongside “If She Could Dance Naked Under […]

Posted inReport

The Insurmountable Wall

In July 2019, the Aspen Music Festival and School staged a concert production of Rodger and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific.” This was a performance of the show’s 2006 revised concert score, a score that had preserved Pacific Islander stereotypes and an anti-Japanese racial slur. It was so offensive to one student in the orchestra that he […]

Posted inInterview

Beauty is a Process

Miami-based composer and saxophonist Matthew Evan Taylor’s career has formed an impressive arc—from playing jazz and blues in Mississippi, to being signed with rock band Moses Mayfield to major label Epic Records, to receiving his doctorate in composition. These days he is engaged in composing and performing new music and opera, and is an active […]