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Category Archives: essays & articles

Peter Stanley Martin interview


On 30 April 2009, my friend, conductor Peter Stanley Martin, recorded and transcribed an interview with me. A version of this interview was published in the Journal of the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, Volume 16 – 2009, Dr. William Berz, editor. ———————– Peter Stanley Martin: So, let’s just start from the beginning, [...]

Steal This Blog


The essay below was part of a roundtable on copyright issuesat The Comics Journal group blog, The Hooded Utilitarian. The entry is part of a roundtable discussion on issues surrounding copyright and free culture. The centerpiece of the week was an interview with animator, filmmaker, and free culture activist Nina Paley. I refer to Paley’s [...]

Lush Life


In my recent dive into everything American mid-century, I’ve become obsessed with Billy Strayhorn’s masterwork. After playing it myself pretty much daily for months, I’m convinced that Lush Life is not a song. It’s a through-composed composition disguised as a song. Strayhorn tries to fool you, but I’m not buying. The sheet music itself is [...]

Aired Out


Recent activities in the past few weeks have centered around a kind of virtual inventory: the re-organizing of the Newman Catalog for promotional projects and such. And so in the midst of this housecleaning I’ve found myself coming face to face with several older works I’ve long avoided dealing with, each one teetering between full-blown [...]

El Dorado


A Composer Discovers the World of Winds Written for the National Band Association Journal, published Dec. 2004 El Do • ra • don : an imaginary place of great wealth and opportunity; sought in South America by 16th-century explorers(Source: WordNet ® 1.6, © 1997 Princeton University) Today’s composer, like Cortez and the Spaniards of hundreds [...]



My peers and I spent our schooling attempting to get away from the academic exercise of “Symphony No. 2″-type titling — and with some success. Interesting and evocative titles are very common in the concert music world now. But only up to a point: Sure, it can be interesting — but not TOO interesting. This [...]



In an interview I threw out this term (it’s certainly nothing new, I’m sure I didn’t make it up). Most people immediately understand what I meant when I mentioned “finalemusic” (sic) in that interview, but merely for the purposes of clarification, allow me try to expound, and thereby explain myself slightly better. First off, I [...]



It’s as good a term as any (“Truthfulness” works, too), and whatever we decide to call it, for me it is the most defining feature of a composer’s work. A piece can have as much craft as humanely possible (Greetings to you Mr. Diamond! How are you, Sir?) but if the composer doesn’t LOVE every [...]