1. Mohammed Fairouz retains an optimistic outlook as he aspires to create music that carries a larger social meaning. And the 26-year-old composer has managed to garner an extraordinary array of performances for his deeply charged music all over the country—from over 100 art songs to a nearly 80-minute symphony for orchestra, soloists, and a nearly 100-voice chorus. The urgent message that comes across in Fairouz’s music is one of inclusivity and a broadening of cultural horizons. An important source for his music has been his own Arab heritage—he grew up hearing legendary singers Umm Kulthum and Fairuz (no relation) alongside Mozart and Beethoven. In a conversation with Frank J. Oteri for NewMusicBox, Fairouz even describes Schubert—with whom he deeply identifies—as an “Arabic composer” because of Schubert’s devotion to the primacy of the melodic line, also a hallmark of Middle Eastern music. But the American-born Fairouz would contend that his aesthetics are more symptomatic of the multicultural society we now live in.

    Read the full interview: newmusicbox.org/?p=12396

    Video presentation by Molly Sheridan

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  2. James Falzone is not sitting back contentedly watching his star ascend. “One can only do what one wants to do and see what rises,” he suggests. As an accomplished performer, composer, improviser, and educator, Falzone pursues a musical vision rooted in the middle ground between the fully notated world of conservatory-trained musicians and the improvisation-based energy of jazz and creative music. It is a territory he explores with an omnivorous appetite for musical influences and aesthetic directions, whether leading his quartet KLANG through a set of contemporary jazz compositions at a late night haunt, directing liturgical music with the Grace Chicago Consort, or composing for orchestra.

    Read the full article at: newmusicbox.org/?p=11635

    Video presentation by Molly Sheridan

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  3. David Borden’s formidable category-defying musical accomplishments are a direct precedent to today’s largely DIY contemporary music landscape. The skewed counterpoint and unexpected harmonic progressions in The Continuing Story of Counterpoint, his 3-hour magnum opus which he began composing 35 years ago, make it sound vibrant and fresh to this day, whatever instruments are ultimately used for its performance.

    Read the full interview here: newmusicbox.org/?p=11057

    Video presentation by Molly Sheridan

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  4. When composer and educator Bill Ryan interviewed to teach composition at Grand Valley State University in 2005, he laid out what his ideal collegiate program would look like. What no one—perhaps even including Ryan—likely anticipated, however, was how swiftly and successfully he would be able to make his vision a reality and how, in the process of so doing, he would put the university's program on the national contemporary music map.

    Read the full article: newmusicbox.org/?p=10809

    Video presentation by Molly Sheridan

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  5. Though his formal education includes study at the New England Conservatory, Fred Hersch readily points out how the on-the-bandstand schooling he received in jazz clubs like Bradley's in New York prepared him to be the musician is today. In the course of our conversation, we spoke about this journey and all that has come in its wake, but returned again and again to the idea of taking chances, trying things out, seeing what happens if—Hersch seemingly unbowed by the anxieties such open-ended performance situations bring into play. Later, he came at it head-on. "I think there has to be a certain element of danger in jazz, or it isn't really jazz," he explained.

    Read the full article: newmusicbox.org/?p=8616

    Video presentation by Molly Sheridan

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Looking for some great new music? Meet new artists every month as we chat with compelling composers and performers and catch samples of live performances. NewMusicBox is dedicated to bringing you the music of American composers and improvisers loud and…


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