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Liquid Modernity

In his first book, Music After the Fall: Modern Composition and Culture Since 1989 (University of California Press), Tim Rutherford-Johnson writes: “Searching for or describing unities in the present age, which is usually described as fragmentary, may be foolhardy. But as economic, political, and technological forces conspire to create a world that is more homogenous […]

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Listening to Homelessness

It’s arguable whether Robert Ashley’s 1998 opera “Dust,” scored for solo voices, prerecorded orchestra, and electronics, is a masterpiece of opera—but it is certainly a masterpiece of political art in its evocation of empathy for marginalized people. During the 90 minute work, we hear the conversations and monologues of a cast of five homeless characters, […]

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Queer as in Fuck Yeah

“I’m always drawn to defend anything that people shit on aesthetically.” It’s hard to sum up an artist’s work in a single sentence, but for Alex Temple, that’s not a bad place to start. She has a particular interest in “reclaiming socially disapproved-of (‘cheesy’) sounds,” often taking and warping them into something more than a […]

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The Texture of Being Alive

A few weeks ago I interviewed Jennifer Walshe via Skype; I was in Berlin, she in her office in London. That week Walshe’s work was to be recognized with an Innovation award from the British Association of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA), and she was also looking ahead to coming to Berlin in January for […]

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A Bang on a Can All-Stars Playlist

One way the Bang on a Can All-Stars describe themselves is as “a genre in their own right.” On their upcoming European tour, with performances at the Kampnagel in Hamburg (November 18), Les Halles de Schaerbeek in Brussels (November 19), and Villa Musica in Mainz (November 20-21), their programs confirm this, reading more like new […]

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New York-based composer Katherine Balch has an extraordinary number of things going on in her head at any given time. She has recently completed a piece for a multimedia project by Michiko Theurer, inspired by Virginia Woolf’s The Waves, to be performed March 13, 2017, in Boulder, Colorado. Currently, Katie is working on two separate […]

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The Erotic-Elegiac

On a early fall evening, a packed audience at the Kitchen theater in Chelsea’s art district sat quietly as the visual artist and gallerist Emily Sundblad took the stage. Dressed in a red and black Proenza Schouler gown with suggestive cutouts and a dramatic slit, her long strawberry-blond hair cascading over one shoulder, she looked […]

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What Is Indie Classical?

“During my dissertation research, I felt a certain mournful nostalgia for the world that I was investigating,” writes William Robin in “A Scene Without A Name: Indie Classical and American New Music in the 21st Century.” Reading it, I was surprised to find myself emotional at times too—a testament to Robin’s writing, which is precise […]

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Into The Sky

Dylan Mattingly co-artistically directs and plays cello in the New York-based ensemble Contemporaneous, and he has played a considerable number of instruments in countless other groups specializing in everything from folk to funk. Last year I attended the premiere of his “Seasickness and Being (in love)” at the LA Philharmonic, a work that poignantly captures […]