miscellany

Lots of stuff going on! First, and most important: New Sounds Lives! NEW SOUNDS FOREVER. An extraordinary campaign mounted to preserve and continue an extraordinary legacy. New Sounds Forever.


What else? Well, this:

We’re almost there, folks. I’ve now edited the intro plus Chapters 1–3, and will tackle Chapter 4 (and beyond?) today. Once this pass through the full manuscript is done, I’ll be ready to send it on to Oxford for peer review. I met with my editor, the great Suzanne Ryan, last week, and was relieved to know that at this stage in the process, I don’t have to have all of the nitty-gritty complementary materials sorted out yet (e.x. acknowledgements section, permissions for photographs, etc etc). Just all of the words, on the page, in the right order!

Once I send this thing off, I’ll continue my work on a Big Task, which is sorting out permissions. I’ve figured out permissions for almost all of the archival material that I’m quoting throughout the manuscript — some archives give blanket permission for quotations, others are a bit trickier. For example, I use interviews from Yale’s incredible Oral History of American Music project throughout the manuscript, and to quote from many of those requires permission from the original interviewees themselves, so that adds another round of emails to the mix. And then there’s photos, which is where the real work is — I’ve got a lot of fun archival photos I want to print, which means tracking down photographers, asking for high-res versions if I don’t already have them, and getting permission to print photographs. Lots and lots of emails! I made a spreadsheet to keep track of it all.


What else? Well, on Friday, I’m giving a paper at the American Musicological Society’s national conference in Boston.

This’ll be my first real “AMS paper”: in the past, I’ve given short papers on panels (one that I was conscripted to, one that I organized and chaired), but giving a “full AMS paper” is a bit of a different thing. For better or worse, I missed the longtime era of 30-minute-AMS papers; two years ago, they cut the paper length down to 20 minutes, which as far as I’m concerned is one of the greatest decisions that any organizing body in the world has made in years. My hot take on 30 minute conference papers is that people either make a 20 minute paper too long (which is not good), or they try to squeeze a 45 minute paper into 30 minutes (which is terrible). The change to 20 minute papers also means that more papers can be presented; I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this year’s AMS program has more interesting papers on it than I’ve seen since I started attending.

Unfortunately now I find myself this week waxing a bit nostalgic for the 30-minute days, as I’ve squeezed a 50-page book chapter (that I’ve given as a 45-minute talk in the past) into 20 minutes. I think I’ve pulled it off, but we’ll see. The rest of my panel looks cool too! Alas, my colleagues Siv Lie and Barbara Haggh-Huglo are presenting on different panels during the same timeslot as me, which is also the exact time as Tammy Kernodle’s keynote. I kind of want to skip my paper and go to those, but life is full of hard decisions and I should probably go to panel I’m supposed to be on. I’ll be talking about Bang on a Can and the record industry:

So if you’re in Boston and want to visit the Westin Waterfront on Friday morning to hear me talk, you can probably sneak into the conference. But if you get caught by the AMS Police I will deny that I know you.


What else? Ah yes, proofs.

I’ve just gotten proofs for a forthcoming article in Musical Quarterly that I’m excited about — it’s my first book-related material to be published, on Meet the Composer’s Orchestra Residencies Program and the New York Philharmonic’s 1983 Horizons festival of contemporary music. I wrote a little about that for NewMusicBox a couple years ago, but this is a much more substantive engagement with what I think is one of the most important developments in American new music in the 1980s. A lot of the material in this article overlaps directly with Chapter 2 of my book, but the MQ essay does not mention Bang on a Can at all, instead focusing on MTC, the ORP, and the NYP (acronyms!) specifically.

It also gets into issues around diversity and the programming of underrepresented composers, a section of material that I was originally planning to include in the book but I decided to cut since it wasn’t directly germane to the book’s argument. It should be out soon-ish, I think!


Finally, Georgia sends her regards.