I Hate This So You Can Tell Who I Am

Today’s blog entry in Deceptive Cadence echos a theme of my Voice Box radio show with Chloe Veltman and the corresponding conversation on Lisa Hirsch’s blog. Specifically, musical taste, both what you love and despise, is often more about self identification, ego, and image than it is about the music at hand. Some of theContinue Reading

Come for the Schoenberg, stay for the Johnson

The Avant Music Festival got a lot of press earlier this week for their part in the John Cage centennial, a sold out marathon concert of his works. While I missed that extravaganza, I was able to swing by for the third concert of this, their third year. The first half was dedicated to Schoenberg’s seminalContinue Reading

Review: Little Match Girl Passion – Death Speaks

To get to Dinkelspiel Auditorium for an 8pm concert on a Wednesday requires leaving San Francisco at 6pm, an hour to get to Palo Alto fighting traffic all the way, and then another 45 minutes to an hour to fight the crowds to get a scarce campus parking space. Things will be different when StanfordContinue Reading

The worst music ever written

A couple of weeks ago I recorded an episode of VoiceBox with Chloe Veltman about the worst vocal music ever written. While preparing for the show I did my best to try to analyze the nature of “badness”, perhaps even creating a taxonomy of characteristics that contribute to bad music. The goal was to notContinue Reading

Is Sondheim Classical?

The Australian Broadcasting Company recently released a list of the “Top 100 Classical Pieces of the 20th Century.”  As with any list, there is much fodder for discussion, debate and derision (judging from this list, Stravinsky apparently stopped composing after 1913). Blogger, pianist, and educator Elissa Milne was particularly disturbed by the complete omission of Sondheim’sContinue ReadingContinue Reading

Glacial is the New Black: Satyagraha and Shen Wei

Somewhere imprinted in my brain is a sacred rule of story: take only as much time as you need to get an idea across. Get in, make your point, get out. Keep things moving and don’t lose your audience. But this week in New York two separate pieces, both non-narrative, reduced me to tears byContinue ReadingContinue Reading

Thoughts on Robert Ashley’s “That Morning Thing”

Composer Robert Ashley’s “opera” (experimental performance piece is a more appropriate name, although if an opera is a multifaceted convolution of music, text, and motion, I suppose this is an opera) That Morning Thing, produced for the first time in 40 years at The Kitchen as part of the Performa 11 biennial, is among theContinue ReadingContinue Reading

Hey look! I’m a muse!

I first saw the name Ken Malucelli when I purchased the CASA christmas songbook in 1993 (all arranged by Ken and Deke Sharon). Years later Ken was one of the judges at the Harmony Sweepstakes competition when a subset of The Richter Scales performed a set of original songs I had written. (We closed withContinue Reading

TONIGHT: The latest from my opera

If you’re in San Francisco tonight and interested in hearing some brand new music, swing by Counterpulse at 7:30 to hear a brief excerpt of the latest from my solo opera Failing That. The section I’ll be performing was composed in the past few months and shows the early scenes involving a middle school studentContinue Reading

A new unit of time: The Wagner

After a full evening of writing music, I am proposing a new unit of time. The Wagner (abbreviation Wg). One Wagner is equal to one thousand minutes, approximately the length of the entire Ring Cycle. Here are some useful conversions: 1 day = 1.4 Wagners 1 year = 511.35 Wagners 1 minute = 1 milliWagnerContinue Reading