LINES OF ENQUIRY | Indie-Classical, For All its Boundary-Shifting, Is Another Boys Club
Let’s presume this ‘indie-classical’ moniker isn’t going away. We have a cast of certain regular suspects: Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner, Richard Reed Parry, Max Richter, Hauschka, and Jonny Greenwood. I enjoy these folks’ work as much as anyone, but unfortunately they represent, in aggregate, a systemic issue that listeners ought to leave behind in the classical world. This isn’t anyone’s fault in particular. Dismantling a patriarchal system that took hundreds of years to build is simply going to take some time. It’s why we hear about “women composers” in the papers, but never hear about “men composers.” It’s why there is a lopsided gender ratio among members at the Canadian Music Centre. It’s why we don’t ask men how their gender and maleness informs their music. And this all needs to be reconsidered.
LINES OF ENQUIRY | To Hell and Back: Canadian Premiere of Piano-Four-Hands Arrangement of Liszt's Dante Symphony Timely, Poignant
Suffice to say, it has been a long and tumultuous week in Ottawa. For some here in the nation's capital, it was recently capped off with a remarkably timely and well-executed rendition of Liszt's Lenore and the Dante Symphony.
LINES OF ENQUIRY | The Future of Notation Software
Daniel Spreadbury is Product Marketing Manager for Steinberg’s in-house scoring application. I had the opportunity to chat with him briefly about the ongoing development of computer music standards in the wake of the digital humanities movement, the challenge of building great software, and the future of digital music notation. Learn more about the application’s development at blog.steinberg.net, and follow Daniel @dspreadbury.
LINES OF ENQUIRY | Ten Pieces of Advice for Prospective Graduate Students in Musicology
I recently started an MA program in Music and Culture further north, at Carleton University, Ottawa. I feel it could be useful to give a few points of advice based on my brief experience to far, for those who may be beginning to consider something similar, as the Fall marches on and the next year's plans come to view. Granted, this is only one graduate student's perspective one month in, but I'll do my best...
LINES OF ENQUIRY | Ottawa International Animation Festival Screens North American Premiere of Donald McWilliams Documentary, ‘Norman McLaren: Animated Musician’
Bear with me if you’re already in the know, but it turns out that McLaren developed a technique over a period of decades wherein he quite literally drew on the area of optical tape reserved for the sound track in order to directly compose and perform most of his films’ scores. By creating various etches read at the right frequency, in perfect synchronization with the film reel, McLaren was one of the first to create a synthesized film score of any kind, and was uniquely original in the way he continued to refine this technique over the course of decades. Sound tests, never before seen in a public screening, were presented at part of a short documentary directed by Don McWilliams and receiving its Canadian premiere at the 2014 Ottawa International Animation Festival.
LINES OF ENQUIRY | A Cathedral for Cathodes: J'Acousmatic Vol. 2 Lights Up Ottawa's Electroacoustic Scene
By Curtis Perry on September 25, 2014
Ottawa's electroacoustic music scene? After one discovers it exists, one realizes how vital and vibrant it is. Jeff Morton greeted the supportive and sizeable crowd on the evening of Saturday September 13th at the University of Ottawa's Freiman Hall in an appropriately mixed combination of grey blazer with dirty red sneakers. "There's a lot to be seen on this stage, but there's a lot of mystery too," he enthused, before promptly giving way to the music...
LINES OF ENQUIRY | This Countersubject Came in Like a Wrecking Ball
Did Miley Cyrus (or her songwriter) write a pretty good fugue subject? Milano-based Italian composer Giovanni Dettori makes a pretty convincing argument with his four-voice arrangement, coaxing ever more ingenious strains from the source material, coalescing “high” and “low” into a modern paean to the baroque.
COMMENTARY | What is a composer, today?
I believe the question of what a composer is today rests on what basis a composer – a practitioner of sound-art – is capable of accurately reflecting our contemporary rituals and life experiences.