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Call for Scores:

Deadline: January 31, 2011

The contemporary classical music website Sequenza 21 (http://www.sequenza21.com), in partnership with Manhattan New Music Project (http://www.mnmp.org/), is pleased to issue a call for scores. Composers of any age may submit a single work with the following instrumentation: violins (2), viola, cello, piano, and percussion. Works for smaller groupings (solos, duos, trios, etc.) that employ the above instruments are especially welcome.  In the interest of performing as many entries as possible, pieces that are shorter in duration may be preferred.

Several pieces will be selected from these entries for our 2011 concert in New York City (date/location TBA), performed by the American Contemporary Music Ensemble – ACME (http://acmemusic.org). The program committee will include Christian Carey (Sequenza 21), Clarice Jensen (ACME), and Hayes Biggs (Manhattan School of Music).

There is no entry fee. There is also no remuneration apart from the performance. Those composers selected for the concert will be responsible for their own travel and accommodations should they wish to attend the event.

Scores with CD recordings (if available) will be accepted at the address below until 5 PM on Monday, January 31, 2011. Please do not send parts at this time. Materials will be returned if accompanied by an SASE with appropriate postage.

Sequenza 21/MNMP 2011 concert

c/o

MNMP

243 West 30th Street,

Suite 500,

New York, NY 10001

Summary

Deadline: 5 PM on January 31, 2011 (receipt of materials; not postmark deadline)

Age limit: none

Entry fee: none

Limitations: only one (1) work per entrant will be considered.

Instrumentation: vlns (2), vla, clo, pno, perc

Prize: a New York performance by ACME, sponsored by Sequenza 21 and MNMP.

Return of materials: With SASE

Submitted works that do not conform to the above guidelines cannot be considered for inclusion on the program.

Comments 5 Comments »

Magnus Lindberg’s important early opus Kraft received its long-belated NY premiere this past week. While the requirements for the piece itself – a large orchestra, massive percussion section, antiphonal spatializing, electronics, amplification, and several soloists – are daunting enough to make the piece a logistically challenging one to present, Lindberg goes still further to personalize its requirements. He stipulates that the percussion section use found materials from a local junkyard in their performance of the work, thereby locating each performance and making it a site-specific entity.

Here’s a video of the NYPO’s percussionists going on a scavenger hunt with Lindberg in preparation for the NY performances of Kraft.

This type of piece personalization makes each orchestra’s rendering of the work a unique experience; but it’s also curtailed the number of organizations who have, to date, presented Kraft.

Kraft, and other pieces with daunting requirements, raise certain aesthetic questions for composers. Is it important for each performance of a new piece to have a sense of personalization? Should composers strive to think big, even if it means that they’ll get less performances as a result? Or is a more portable and utilitarian view preferable?

Of course, one can make strong a case for both options and many variations in between. Lindberg himself has composed works which are far more easily programmed than Kraft!

But the piece does throw down a gauntlet. Composers: are you willing to wait years for performances of your music if that’s what making highly personal work requires? Or do you prefer getting your music out into the world right away and thus favor more practical solutions?

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One of our most spiritedly discussed posts in recent memory raised the issues of composition competitions and application fees.

While a wide range of opinions were expressed, one consistent issue raised was the necessity for composers to invest their resources wisely in profile-building activities. Here in the forum, let’s talk shop about this. Which activities are most important for composers to pursue: competitions, festivals, recordings, publications, etc.?

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What are the trends you see in contemporary classical today that are most salutary, hopeful or, conversely, most in need of remediation? Are there ways in which the Sequenza 21 community can work to address them?

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On Monday at Westminster, we have the final concert for the composition class. While we’ve studied a number of pieces this semester, I’d like to give the students a list of suggested further listening. What would you recommend as a list of 10-20 pieces for a student composer – to provoke, inspire, and enrich their knowledge of the repertory?

Kitty with 'table from openphoto.net

Kitty with 'table from openphoto.net

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With JiB’s annual weeklong festival about halfway through already, I thought I’d suggest the festival as a topic of conversation on the composer’s forum. Who’s been to June in Buffalo and would like to share some memorable experiences?

 Here’s one I posted on my blog (www.sequenza21.com/carey) earlier this week:

 

June in Buffalo Memory: Pinch hitter

 

In 1999, I was invited to June in Buffalo for a second time. My string quartet was slated for premiere by the Cassatt Quartet: an excellent opportunity for a composer at any age, but particularly exciting for a young pup still in grad school!

The piece mixed aspects of 12-tone writing with swing-era jazz, and finding the correct balance between these two different demeanors was a tricky compositional and interpretive challenge.

Fortunately, the Cassatt members were very generous with their time. I met with them in New York City to rehearse the quartet, and things went quite well.

But when I arrived in Buffalo, I learned that their cellist had fallen ill and wouldn’t be able to play on the concert; the festival’s opener. While having any ensemble member cancel is concerning, it was particularly worrisome that the cellist was unavailable. I’d written the quartet in such a way that the cello served as the de facto “˜rhythm section’ of the piece, frequently articulating the pulse with walking bass lines.

But into the breach stepped Christopher Finckel; an excellent new music player who was also playing at the festival. Chris learned, rehearsed, and performed the quartet in one day. His pinch-hitting rescued the concert and earned a young composer’s lasting gratitude.

 

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