Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Sonic Generator @ Georgia Tech (post concert)

This evening I attended the Sonic Generator concert at Georgia Tech. Great show with great attendance! Composers on the program included George Lewis, George Crumb, Daniel Lentz, Jason Freeman, and Jennifer Walshe.

More information on the concert can be found here:


Each piece profiled the use of music technology in a different way including live performance to prerecorded audio, to live loops, with video (both pregenerated and live), and audience participation over the web. Each piece was intriguing in its own way. It was eye-opening for me, and got me thinking about new uses of technology in my own pieces.

For brevity (and because I'm not much of a critic), I'm not going to write a review here, but music journalists Pierre Ruhe (AJC) and Mark Gresham (Creative Loafing, NewMusicBox) were there, so hopefully we'll see a full writeup and review of the show by one of them somewhere.

For those who missed it, you definitely owe it to yourself to check out a Sonic Generator concert in the future. Next one is Monday, March 26, 2007 at the Ferst Center for the Arts.

You also need to check out local composer (and Georgia Tech assistant music professor) Jason Freeman. He's doing amazing things with audience-performer-composer interactions. Check him out here:


And video by Al Matthews:


Thanks to all involved in this show. See you at the next one.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Is Music Dead?

It's a given that people in the consensus have no clue that modern 'classical' composers exist. The bridge between 'modern music' makers and audiences (in 21st-century (post)classical era) is simply gone. (Actually, it has been for a long, long time... if you read the diaries of early 20th-century composers, they had the same problem... 100 years ago!) But anyway, NewMusicBox and Sequenza21 bemoan this situation all the time, and their writers often compare their world, with envy, to the world of pop with its massive popularity and distribution machines.

It's been said that classical music is one side of the world, and all other music is on the other. Hell, you even see that on Amazon.com, where Clasical Music is a separate category than simply Music. (what the hell is that?!)

But, I have found something interesting... I recently began to look around at other genres (other than classical and pop), and I'm finding the same story everywhere. Not only is classical music 'dead', but so too are rock (which I wholeheartedly agree with), jazz, and hip-hop. All are being declared dead. Just do a Google search (ie, 'is jazz dead'), and you'll find things being said about the other genres that we've come to accept as reality in the the classical world, along with symptoms and supposed reasons why.

So, what's going on here?! I've often heard, "Is classical music dead?" But I find now that I have to expand that question to "Is music dead?"

I think yes, in a sense, it is. Or I think it is dying as we know it. Our world is going through massive changes right now. Among other things, the record industry is collapsing (and don't tell me it's because of file-sharing--that's just bullsh*t propaganda by the RIAA and the media.) There are many, many changes going on--spiritually, socially, politically, economically, biologically, and more--and society itself is going though massive upheaval (and will even more so in the next 25 years). We're seeing effects of this in music.

The causes of all these changes are too large and complex for me to go into on this blog. But I do believe the world as we know it *is* dying, and from it something entirely new will be born... but I think the trick is, we have to be responsible for creating it. *We* need to birth it. It's ours to create.

I'm proud to say that I think I'm part of a healthy and vibrant community of composers here in Atlanta. And we're getting stronger and more connected. With things like this blog, the ASSG (Atlanta Score Study Group), the upcoming Electronic Music Concert that Adam and I are putting together, I see us giving more and more life to new music. Getting it to audiences is key, so I hope to see us do more in that area--more concerts, events, podcasts, etc. Lots of ideas...

Buy anyway, let me pose the questions now to you.

What are your thoughts? Is music dead? Why or why not? And how are you filling or renewing its life?

I hope this prompts some thinking and discussion and ideas for crafting new realities for music. Please jump in with your take.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Laughing Monkeys of Gravity

From Curtis Bryant:

I have a performance coming up next month on the Neophonia series at GSU on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 7:30 in the Kopleff Recital Hall. They'll be doing my song cycle, "The Laughing Monkeys of Gravity," a setting of four poems by award winning poet Stephen Bluestone. The cycle is scored for soprano with a chamber ensemble of flute, clarinet & alto sax, percussion, violin, cello and piano. The subject of the text is the early film comedians: Laurel & Hardy, Lou Costello, The Three Stooges and Charles Chaplin.

This will be an Atlanta premiere.

Scroll down to Feb 13.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Turned On: Electronic Music by Atlanta Composers

Atlanta Composers Group


Turned On: Electronic Music by Atlanta Composers

featuring the music of:

Colin Bragg
Cousin Virgil
Chip Epsten
Don Hassler
Brent Milam
Adam Scott Neal
Darren Nelsen
Nicole Randall
Michael Thomas Roe & Conrad Schnitzler
Brian Skutle
Oliver Smith
Daniel Swilley
Mitchell Turner

The Five Spot in Little Five Points
1123 Euclid Ave, Atlanta - 404.223.1100
Monday, February 19th

For more information:

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra Holds Open Rehearsal of Newly Commissioned Work

Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra commissioned James Woodward for a piece celebrating the GYSO's inaugural season.The working rehearsals are open to the public at the Dozier Centre this Sunday (1/21) from 2pm-9pm. The pieces will be performed in April.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

ASSG Meeting Wrapup and Audio Engineering Session

From Jonathan Cazenave:

Hi All,
First, a special thanks to Jim Dellas and Recording Engineer
Kendall Thomsen of Starkelake Studios for the awesome presentation this month.
We listened to a good deal of the music they have done for various productions
and got into the nitty gritty of recording, producing and arranging great vocals.
It was a great meeting!

We want to continue to discuss the things that you guys want to learn that
are relevant to the modern composer. So anything that you guys would like to
focus on, please let me know and we will try to make it happen.

We have had some requests for another night on Audio Engineering and Production
and we have an engineer at Crawford that we can get together with, in the studio
and ask questions etc.. Also, for anyone interested in the specifics of Post Production
and how audio works with Video, this would be a great opportunity to get info from a Pro.

So, to see what the interest is, please email me your questions. If we get lot's of good questions
we will have move forward with scheduling the meeting.