A Composer's Adventures

Composer, author and teacher Michael Colgrass
October 9, 2012

Music: A Psychic Experience?

THE RITE OF SPRING by Stravinsky

Dancer Steven McRae with artists of The Royal Ballet in Kenneth MacMillan’s choreography
of The Rite of Spring. Photo: Johan Persson / ROH

Is music a psychic experience? Stravinsky claimed that The Rite of Spring was already written and that he was simply the medium for it.… 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

Composing as a Living

Amadeus2

Tom Hulce plays Mozart in the classic Milos Forman film, “Amadeus.”

People have often asked me how I’ve managed to make a living writing modern classical music. I’ve never had a permanent teaching or playing job or worked for any one business.… Read the rest

The Performer and Technology

rheingold2

Two Rheinmaidens in Robert Lepage’s production of Wagner’s ‘Das Rheingold.’ Photo: Ken Howard, Metropolitan Opera.

I recently saw two high-tech theatre works, Phil Glass’ “Einstein on the Beach” and Robert Lepage’s “Spades.” Both were remarkable for their complex staging technology, especially “Spades,” which blended the live performer seamlessly with ever-changing wizardry.… Read the rest

We’re Spoiled!

“What a magical place — such atmosphere and beautiful architecture,” was my first reaction on a recent visit to Barcelona. We immersed ourselves in this visual feast, walking along tree-covered boulevards, sitting in the many plazas or cafes. Yes, the food was wonderful.… Read the rest

The New Eroica

EroicaI heard a terrific piece of new music the other night. It’s called “Symphony No 3 in Eb Major” (subtitled “Eroica”) by Ludwig van Beethoven. It was written in 1804. How could this great piece be hidden for so long from my well-tuned ears?… Read the rest

Joy in the Congo

CongoYou may already have heard about a Congolese musician named Armand Diangienda. Without any government funding, he teaches adults in his village to play classical music on western instruments. The project became so popular that word got around and free instruments were donated.… Read the rest

80 Laps Around the Sun

90 LapsI can hardly believe I’ve been on this Earth for 80 years this April 22nd. I used to think of 80 as really old, and looking in the mirror I can see some things have changed. I’m not as agile, but mentally I feel ageless and free to create.… Read the rest