Innovations in Concert Etiquette

Baldur Bronnimann recently shared a compelling blog about making some changes to conventional concert etiquette. He states that we, as listeners, often accept unspoken rules quietly and that these rules are ‘making the experience of classical concerts worse than it should be.’ Although I am supportive of many of these ideas, I don’t totally agree with that statement as I feel there is a lot of room for these conventions and there is still a consortium of musicians who value them.

There’s a lot more I could say on this topic, but I’m curious on how other’s feel about the blog itself as well as many of the suggested innovations. Have you ever been to a concert that utilized some of these behaviors? What did you like? What did you not like?

You can read the blog here:

10 things that we should change in classical music concerts




Mark Phillips: Choosing a Graduate School in Music Composition

For those of you looking to continue studying composition at the graduate level, here’s an essay from the Society of Composers,  Inc. (SCI) on how to choose a good grad program.

One point worth noting—a vitally important one—especially for undergraduate students to consider: “there are very few jobs you can get with a master’s degree in composition that you could not get with a Bachelor’s degree.” This means that if you are thinking about a master’s degree, it should be for two reasons: 1) personal edification (i.e. to make you a better composer), or 2) as a stepping stone to a PhD or DMA.

There is a lot of good advice in this essay, but Phillips leaves some things out. Maybe current grad students can weigh in on pros and cons?

Submitted by Ben Montgomery

Robert Beaser: The Reconstruction of Rome

Here is a link to a really cool article composer Robert Beaser wrote for the New York Times a few years ago. He talks about his time at the Rome Prize fellowship in both 1977 and 2011 and how the experience changed, and how that reflected on the changes in art music between now and then. Check it out!

Submitted by Joe Krycia

Music in Vernacular Photographs

i listen to the wind that obliterates my traces

“…i listen to the wind that obliterates my traces: music in vernacular photographs” is a fascinating multimedia work by Steve Roden. I received a copy for my birthday this year from my best friend.

The collection is whimsical, unique, and deeply moving. Unlike a traditional poetry or essay anthology, photograph collection, or album, the book/CD set blurs the lines between text, images, and music/sound effects. The book doesn’t have a table of contents or chapters. The photographs don’t have captions. The associations between sounds, words, and pictures are made by the reader/listener. Interacting with the very object of the book becomes a kind of interpretative act, which the author mediates by means of curation.

This piece makes me wonder how can music become a thing we touch like a book, or a text we read? How can collecting and transmitting sound sound to an audience make composers into curators?