Learning about composition through immersion

Posted on: February 26, 2010

Tuesday (2/23) on NewMusicBox.com, Gail Wein writes, “I was seven or eight the first time I sketched out a theme on staff paper so I could play it on my clarinet, the instrument I began on before I ‘graduated’ to playing bassoon. It was the Nestle’s Chocolate theme, and my big sister had to show me how to fill out the last measure with quarter rests. … Last spring I heard about the ‘Compose Yourself’ class offered by the American Composers Orchestra—five sessions during which you would learn about composition from the likes of John Corigliano, Tania Leon, Michael Torke, Derek Bermel, Robert Beaser—pretty much some of the best composers in the United States. … I thought this would be a great opportunity to get inside the composer’s head, to understand more of the process and therefore have more insight into the music. … I find the radically different approaches that composers take particularly fascinating. I had a long talk with Joan Tower recently about her compositional process … She begins with a single note, explores where it goes, and builds the piece up and around from there.”

Posted February 26, 2010