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The Washington Post’s music writer Anne Midgette put out an interesting blog post about the importance of linking to other critics when publishing a review on a piece or concert or CD. I found it pleasing to read a prominent music critic’s acknowledgment that her opinion is not the be-all, end-all.

In contrast, Montreal Gazette guest blogger Arthur Kaptainis published a preview of the Montreal New Music Festival a couple weeks ago where, at the end of the post, he suddenly rails against Michael Daugherty’s Grammy win. Kaptainis’ opinions aside, he is factually incorrect inasmuch as he cites Daugherty’s win for the “Metropolis Symphony”, when the New Classical Composition Grammy went to Daugherty’s piano concerto, “Deus ex Machina”. As I read Kaptainis’ piece, it became clear he was using Daugherty to attack the Grammy’s in general.

Just wanted to share these with our community of critics to see what others think!

To provide full disclosure, Michael Daugherty personally drew my attention to the Montreal Gazette article. I am a student at the University of Michigan, where he teaches, but he is not my private instructor.

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I just saw this blog post on Alex Ross’ twitter feed and read through it. It makes a great argument (by great, I mean it uses real statistics) to prove funding the arts produces MORE jobs than funding other, more popular areas of the economy, namely alternative energy.

Here is Ross’ tweet, to whet your appetite:

“Alternative energy…generates 1.67 jobs per $100,000 spent, while the arts generates 2.94 jobs per $100,000 spent”

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Happy Holidays to the Sequenza21 community!

I got a Kindle from my parents for Christmas and I’d like suggestions for your favorite books (fiction or nonfiction, music books strongly desired!) for me (and any one else who also got a kindle or borders gift card or likes books) to consider putting on my eReader!

Thanks and I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday season!

- Garrett

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This is remarkably relevant to Armando’s piece below about jobs – STRONGLY recommend everyone looks at that and the thoughtful comments.

I found the transcript of British music critic Tom Service’s October 23 lecture at Scotland’s Sound! Festival, and pondering over it has kept me up for about three hours now; the clock is still running.

He talks about the desperate situation facing new music, how it is still trapped in the grips of modernism and how the future must be written outside the conventional pathways of the last 50 or 60 years. You tell me, but isn’t it kind of obvious that a young composer shouldn’t model him or herself after a 70, 80 or 100 (I get you can guess that one…) year-old composer?

The piece is a fun read thanks to Service’s witty and glib writing, but I think his revelatory “prognosis” is a little late to the party. Maybe I live in a vacuum, but most of the composers around me embrace the notion of being self-promotional, working closely with talented performers who advocate their work (assuming they can find them) and writing the music THEY want to write without much consideration for precedents. I think Service is echoing trends that are already well at hand in the United States (I mean, Bang-On-A-Can pretty much epitomizes what he thinks composers should do), but please let me know if the bleary eyes of my late-night reading made me miss the point.

Hoping for a good discussion!

- Garrett

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I’m not sure how many of you have seen Justin Davidson’s article in New York Magazine listed his top ten classical music concerts of the year (8 of them featured music from the 20th or 21st centuries!!).

Because Mr. Davidson only writes about concerts in New York, I am curious about other people’s favorite concerts from this year.

This year I’ve only really gone to concerts in Ann Arbor, so mine are pretty lame:

Michigan Symphony Band, October 1

The second Student Composer’s Concert, November 15

Please share your favorites no matter what they are!

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Hey all,

I don’t know how many of you have read Alex Ross’ new piece in the Guardian. It is a candid and, to my eyes, successful exploration of why Americans dislike new music when they otherwise accept contemporary art forms with pleasure.

Check out the article here.

I found it comforting, in a way, to have such a well-established and trusted music writer advocate unpretentiously the worth of new music.

I hope others enjoy.

- Garrett

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