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October 2009
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December 2009

Listen to the Cabrillo Festival!

The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music is one of my absolute favorite music events in the U.S. every year.  The programming is consistently great and engaging, and they're really learning how to open themselves up to the community with each year. You can listen to excerpts from previous programs here, but even better, they have made a number of full recordings from past programs available on Instant Encore here.  Have fun!


"The idea for the Music Animation Machine started with a hallucination ..."

The Music Animation Machine is a tool for visualizing music.

"Music moves, and can be understood just by listening. But a conventional musical score stands still, and can be understood only after years of training. The Music Animation Machine bridges this gap, with a score that moves -- and can be understood just by watching."


Continue reading ""The idea for the Music Animation Machine started with a hallucination ..."" »


Virtual cool

The British music site Dilettante is hosting a Virtual Composer-In-Residence competition. 

The aim, they say, is to redefine the composer-in-residence for the digital age. He or she will win a modest prize of £1000, and a year-long residency on the website, allowing them to engage with web-site members through a Composer’s Corner blog, a podcast series, online forums, and masterclasses. It will culminate in 2010 a live event with a performance of a new work.

You can read the article from which the above quote is excerpted here, and hear music and interviews from the three finalists here.  While the Virtual-Composer-in-Residence is a cool idea, especially the interactive elements of the residency, as  Stuart and I continued to peruse Dilettante it became clear that the site, despite its revolutionary claims, still exists squarely within the framework of the "classical music world," as evinced by the preponderance of content generated by the marketing departments of large, traditional institutions like orchestras, artist management firms, and record labels (Lorin Maazel's "blog" for example).

Continue reading "Virtual cool" »


Critical Thinking & Technology in the Arts

Greetings everyone!  It's great to be here and I look forward to regular contributions to the greatness that is the Loose Filter Project.  Much thanks to Stu and Dustin for the invitation. Feel free to reach me via twitter (millerasbill) or via email.

In starting a new position at Texas Tech University, I've been seeking ways to engage my students in a more significant and meaningful way.  Rehearsals go by too quickly and there often isn't time or means to delve deeply into the music itself: compositional techniques employed, critical thinking about the piece itself or the wide ranging musicological connections of a composer or specific piece, etc.  These aspects of the music aren't merely academic--understanding these aspects is fundamental for the future performers and educators I'm helping to train.

Continue reading "Critical Thinking & Technology in the Arts" »


Challenging a ubiquitous framing: The Merchants of Cool

Though it's not a new documentary, The Merchants of Cool is now available in its entirety, FREE, online from PBS.  Resonating well beyond the initial Frontline reportage, PBS has built a terrific site around the ideas and issues presented in the doc--from PBS:

They spend their days sifting through reams of market research data. They conduct endless surveys and focus groups. They comb the streets, the schools, and the malls, hot on the trail of the "next big thing" that will snare the attention of their prey--a market segment worth an estimated $150 billion a year.

They are the merchants of cool: creators and sellers of popular culture who have made teenagers the hottest consumer demographic in America. But are they simply reflecting teen desires or have they begun to manufacture those desires in a bid to secure this lucrative market? And have they gone too far in their attempts to reach the hearts--and wallets--of America's youth?

Continue reading "Challenging a ubiquitous framing: The Merchants of Cool" »


See Score

The Score is NYT-hosted blog where "composers discuss their work and the issues involved in creating music in the 21st century. The writers offer an inside look at this large and continually evolving branch of American culture, in which the traditional notion of the "classical" continues to be reconsidered, revised, rejected and reimagined."

In addition to reading some very cool composers' thoughts on their music and the music of others (something I love to do), you can also check out some of their work.  

Continue reading "See Score" »


More cool music from Oscar Bettison

From the site Killing the Buddha is this terrific look at Oscar Bettison's piece O Death: A Requiem Masque for Six Players:

Formally, the piece has more in common with Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du temps, in terms of its unusual instrumentation, archipelagic structure and morbidly sacred subject matter. And just as the Quatuor drew heavily from “world” influences—the irregular rhythms of Indian talas, Slavic dance melodies, etc.— Bettison’s requiem assembles a broad range of traditions, all converging on the theme of death and transcendence, and knits them together as a single distillate.

The essay has sound clips, and is an excellent introduction to this piece.  (Of course, we like Oscar's music lots here at LF, if you haven't listened to Dustin's Ear Tease on Bettison, go here.)