A Composer's Adventures

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Orchestral Music

Creating from the Muscle

handmusic

A music lover who liked my orchestration for large ensembles asked how I do it: “Is there a way to combine instruments for particular effects?” Thinking it over, I realized my knowledge of orchestration is not intellectual and easily explained. It is stored in my muscles — my arms, shoulders, chest and viscera.… Read the rest

The Musical Ensemble of the Future

The University of Washington Wind Ensemble. (Joanne DePue)

The University of Washington Wind Ensemble. (Joanne DePue)

I’m fortunate to have found a world that is interested in new music — commissioning it, refining it and turning out great performances. It is the world of wind ensembles that are flourishing in most of our larger universities and colleges.… Read the rest

Twirling Batons

Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

Gustavo Dudamel, music director at the LA Philharmonic.

In my recent The Podium Mystery blog (Sept. 17), I asked how conductors get their results — what it takes to create a great performance. Several replies to my blog pointed out very correctly that the main work of the conductor is not done in the concert, but rather in rehearsals.… Read the rest

The Podium Mystery

Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts

Yannick Nézet-Séguin, music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

How do some conductors achieve awe-inspiring results, while others seem to be mere traffic cops? Here’s an interesting NY Times article about how conductors do what they do, with attempts to analyze their techniques.… Read the rest