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Composers in their own words, pt. 6: Thomas Ades

When I wrote Asyla, I thought that composing music was like tuning a radio. It was as if the music was on the radio, and I could tune my brain in and find it. But now I think it's more like flying a plane - you know you need to land safely, and you need to see all the controls and the whole landscape, and if you get into stormy weather you need to keep hold of everything.

I constantly marvel at the music of Thomas Ades (pronounced Ah-des). I've been listening to Tevot while putting this post together and I'm struck by - and always am - by how romantic and colorful his music is. The piece begins with ethereal, stratospherically undulating string harmonics, then the winds and brass enter with broad Sibelian gestures that almost coalesce into a chorale, but instead pile up and bring the whole first section crashing down.

(more inside)

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A Different Perspective on Commissioning

An interview with Kathryn Gould, venture capitalist and creator/funder of the Magnum Opus commissioning project. My favorite quote: I think we need to have some orchestral music of today that will stand the test of time. In order to make this happen, we actually need to create the stuff.

Gould's unselfconscious patronage is encouraging. Everyone wants to be associated with the next masterpiece, which is probably a factor in the "safe choices" Gould mentions. Though this feeling is understandable given the resources required for orchestral commissions and the amount of emotional and physical energy we as performers invest in birthing a new piece, I think Gould, by detaching herself a bit, gets some important things right: don't be afraid to make value judgments, cast a wide net, listen to your audience.