Eight is Not Enough

Eight is Not Enough

Today is a special day here at NewMusicBox: We’re celebrating our eighth anniversary online. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been doing this for 96 months, 416 weeks, or 2,922 days, depending on how you’re counting. But there’s so much more to do.

Over the years, friends have said to me things like: How much longer can you keep this going? Aren’t you going to run out of people to talk with? Aren’t you going to have to start recycling ideas at some point? But no matter how long we’ve been doing this, it seems like we’ve still only scratched the surface. That’s how much is going on out there. I know that for me, every month is still a process of discovery. And I hope that anyone reading this site feels the same way.

At the end of this week, the staff of NewMusicBox will burrow itself away for a day-long retreat to project site content for the coming year. But we’d also like to hear from you. What topics would you be interested in us developing further? Who should we focus on whom we have not spoken to yet? What other components would you be interested in seeing on this site? All suggestions are welcome.

NewMusicBox provides a space for those engaged with new music to communicate their experiences and ideas in their own words. Articles and commentary posted here reflect the viewpoints of their individual authors; their appearance on NewMusicBox does not imply endorsement by New Music USA.

18 thoughts on “Eight is Not Enough

  1. curioman

    Congratulations on eight years. Thank you so much for all you’ve done and brought to the the composer community. I can say for myself that some of the interviews you’ve done have changed my entire outlook on music. There are too many to mention, but I particularly liked the James Tenney interview and his ideas on form/sound vs. theme. I cannot say enough how invaluable your impact has been for me. I am so grateful for NewMusicBox. And I wish you another 8(0) or more incredible years!

    As far as what I’d like to see… more Radar coverage (especially of Atlanta where a lot’s going on! — see AtlantaComposers.com :), more information on things like Creative Commons and how it can be used to our promotional advantage, more coverage of electronic distribution (how we can sell on eMusic, iTunes, etc.), new trends like crowdsourcing and online collaboration, oh, and how about off the wall things like contemporary music in Second Life?

    A composer I’d like to see profiled is Patricia Van Ness.


  2. coreydargel

    Happy birthday, NMBx!

    Since you asked…

    First, a couple of small things: Make the feature interviews available as video podcasts. Also, as a supplement to Counterstream Radio, create a weekly audio podcast or mp3-blog highlighting one or two pieces of music that composers have made available as free downloadable mp3s, along with commentary by NMBx contributors. Feature a variety of rotating curators who select the mp3s and comment on them.

    Second, a bigger thing: Publish reviews!* Album and concert reviews could be written by composers and performers who serve on a rotating basis for a period of, say, three to four months every two years. Some readers may balk at the notion of composers and performers being “reviewed” by their peers, but this is common in other media; it’s more fun than reading a review by a detached “critic;” and it allows readers the context to understand more fully how individual composers/performers (and how composers/performers in general) think about music and respond to each other’s music.

    *I know, I know, there are worries that our community is too small and fragile to risk alienating anyone with a potentially critical review. On the other hand, passionate feelings and passionate points of view are lamentably rare in this magazine. A group of people with similar goals and experiences who are wary of, or discouraged from, expressing critical opinions about their peers’ work results in strained and ultimately insincere relationships. Expressing an honest negative criticism may, in fact, enhance and affirm the genuineness of a positive response. There are plenty of composers and performers out there who I think would be pleased to participate in such a project, as reviewers and reviewees.

  3. mryan

    Lurking for Seven
    I’m really very grateful for NMB. I’ve been lurking here, reading posts for seven of those eight years and it is such a blessing to be able to hear so many different perspectives on the state of the art of music.

    As far as subjects for the future of NMB, I have enjoyed and would love to read more features on the business side of the reality of living as a composer: building relationships, publishing, the commissioning process, starting a new music ensemble, marketing new music concerts, etc.

    Here’s to another 8 years (and more). All the best, M. Ryan Taylor

  4. bob schneider

    Happy birthday to you.i always enjoy visiting your site and learning from it. Keep up the great work!

    P.S. Reqest you consider interviews with Dan Asia,Duo46 ,Karl Korte and Jorge Liderman.

  5. dalgas

    A few more cover interviews with composers in slightly more out-of-the-way locales. Work’s getting done every day in Jacksonville, Dubuque, Lexington, Flagstaff, Boise, Eugene, etc… It shouldn’t all be terra incognita. Each of these places has composers with a story, one that I think would give a aspiring composers a lot of insight into possibilities for a life in music no matter where they are in the country, and not just in two or three of the largest metropolitan areas.

    Steve Layton

  6. toddtarantino

    Congratulations on your birthday.
    I second Corey’s recommendation about reviews. I seem to recall NMBX reviewing new recordings a while back. Also wasn’t there talk about the calendar returning at some point?

  7. Chris Becker

    One of the reasons I keep coming back to NMBx is because there are no reviews. Most musicians, dancers and artists I know don’t read reviews or if they do don’t treat them all that seriously. I’m all for more coverage of concerts, recordings and other composer related projects. But I personally don’t want to see reviews on the site.

    I think the passion the staff of NMBx has for music comes across in the quality of the writing, photos and coverage we’ve seen over the past several years. The Diamanda Galas interview really moved me (and moved me to explore my own Armenian roots) as did the archived interview with Leroy Jenkins.

    I would ask for less chatter actually and more straightforward coverage. I’m not slagging critics – honestly, my own relationship to music criticism has changed dramatically over the past five years (i.e. I’ve actually gotten reviewed and seen both good and bad results of it). But I am not missing it on this website.

  8. mmcginn

    but possibly a “round-up” or list of current releases, future releases, or releases we might have missed, etc. would be a nice addition to the site.

    Congrats on 8 years.

    Marty’s Page

  9. Chris Becker

    Sorry…one more…
    Yes. A round up sounds good. Especially if it focuses on members of the AMC.

    And I like Corey’s suggestion insofar as it opens the door to exposing the AMC’s composer members to each others work via this website, NewMusicJukebox and Counterstream radio. Right now, these three sites sort of float along in their own bubbles – and a lot of the musicians being touted on these respective sites aren’t necessarily (correct me if I’m wrong) AMC members. That’s a weird disconnect – but thanks to the net, there are many creative ways to address this. And again, Corey offers some provocative suggestions in this regard.

  10. philmusic

    Personally I love the music box’s open forum for ideas the best, so perhaps a guest blogger or two to take the discussions in different directions might be interesting. Unfortunately many composers of my generation and later are not net savvy, or commercially recorded for that matter, so I think that too much focus on the “net life” would box out a lot of interesting artists. Anyway, the last thing that I would want is for the NMB to become a publicity machine for the new music powers that be.

    Again congratulations.

    Phil’s Page

  11. siconesis

    Congrats to all NMB staff and other people who have been involved in the making, sustaining and development of this beast (in a good way!).

    I’m a composer from Mexico. I’ve noticed that generally when musicians here and in the U.S. look for what’s going on abroad, there’s a tendency to reach to the other side of the ocean and fail to hear to our north or south (depending where you are). There’s plenty of interesting and important music and events going on both places, but there’s no real communication.

    I know NMB is a space intended for U.S. music, but I think we can now be beyond the notion of isolating musical communities. We are close neighbors and there’s a lot we can share. I hope NMB will be interested in broadening its reach so it can enrich its own environment (that of north american music), and the same for us folks over here in Mexico. Maybe some beneficial ties can be established.

    Greetings to all and happy birthday.

    Ivan Sparrow (ivan.sparrow@gmail.com)

  12. coreydargel

    Unfortunately many composers of my generation and later are not net savvy… so I think that too much focus on the “net life” would box out a lot of interesting artists.

    I wonder how these “many” composers were able to log on to the internet in the first place. Or perhaps they read print-outs of NMBx at their local library?

    God forbid an internet magazine would actually take advantage of internet technology!

    Perhaps you were joking.

  13. JKG

    Nemesis adjunct…
    Yes, I like NewMusicBox, even if some of the diatribe in here gets a bit stuffy for my taste. I have been exposed to much interesting music, even if after listening to some pieces I found them dull and uninspiring. As a tonalist, I can certainly say however, that the struggle between holding fast to the past and that of rejecting the past in favor of the nihilistic present remains intact. Fortunately for some contributors, I owe much less to their composition teachers than they do (whether they appreciate that or not, or in any event feel reviled by my stance). There is much going on lately about how to reach audiences with serious music, and how the practitioners of serious music have so alienated them. This will continue to remain a genuine problem for the untalented, as most folks just aren’t interested in hearing a glob of sounds for the sake of hearing a glob of sounds – no matter how many dissertations are written about the matter. NewMusicBox will continue to prove an invaluable source of getting past those hurdles, even if it means rightfully damning some “modern” music to abject obscurity.

  14. philmusic

    “I wonder how these “many” composers were able to log on to the Internet in the first place. Or perhaps they read print-outs of NMBx at their local library?
    God forbid an Internet magazine would actually take advantage of Internet technology!
    Perhaps you were joking.”

    Corey, so the race then, is only for the swift?

    Many of the composers mentioned on this and other blog spaces actually have no real presence on the web and I also think they don’t pay much attention to it either. Anyway, they don’t seem to take part in the blogs. Rather it is their students and professional admirers as well as music industry folks (including publicists) and Universities who create and maintain a web presence for them. If you don’t have that support then you don’t have a presence –unless you are net savvy or hire someone.

    As for the rest of us I think we are on the net, aren’t we? :)

    Phil’s page

  15. coreydargel

    There are plenty of composers who make at least one of their pieces available as an mp3 download or streaming audio file on their websites. It is possible to do this without spending money, and with minimal knowledge of HTML, web design, etc. These audio files are then available to anyone with an internet connection and the know-how to click on a hyperlink, and it would be an extremely fun and educational project for NMBx to present a sort-of “curated” compilation of the millions of mp3s out there.

    You argue that such a project discriminates against less web-savvy composers. Are you suggesting that composers who take the time to disseminate their music on the web should be punished because other composers choose not to take advantage of this technology? That seems a bit ridiculous, like arguing that we shouldn’t listen to the radio because it discriminates against composers whose music has not been recorded.

  16. philmusic

    As the net rapidly becomes just another mainstream media outlet (as it seems the most strident here want) these folks are afraid that sites like this that might chose to remain independent and not subsumed into that comercial mainstream. Such sites would risk becoming relegated to the status of cable access TV that is; irrelevant to the big picture, not a “player”. Then again, by choosing not to become just another cog in the wheel they might become something far more important.
    There is a difference between advocacy and promotion.


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