Joshua Gersen is, in addition to being a composer, the Musical Director of the New York Youth Symphony and Assistant Conductor of the New York Philharmonic. An advocate for new music, he helps to oversee the NYYS’s annual composer competition, which awards commissions to three composers under 30.
During the course of our conversation,w e talked about the role of youth orchestras, the nature of orchestral writing, and the annual NYYS composition competition.
Scott Tegge, tubist for the Gaudete Brass, knows how to hustle, and he's genuinely an awesome guy. We met at the "composer hang" coordinated by Frank J. Oteri during the Midwest Clinic, and I knew right away that he had to be a guest on the show. In addition to all the work he does for the quintet, he also teaches an insane amount, and is in the process of creating a new non-profit to help generate more opportunities for brass players.
During the course of our conversation, a few of the things we talked about were: collaborations (both good and bad), having diversified revenue, and knowing how to fundraise effectively.
William J. Lackey is one of the many cool people I met at the Midwest Clinic. In addition to his work as a composer, Billy has been the Administrative Director at the Mizzou New Music Initiative, and served on the Boards of the newEar Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, the Odyssey Chamber Music Series, and the Kansas City Electronic Music and Arts Alliance. He’s currently a Vice President of Programs at the American Composers Forum, and he brings all of the skills he learned in these various positions to bear in his composing career.
During the course of our conversation, we chatted about transformative teachers, learning administrative skills, and a host of opportunities available for composers through the American Composers Forum.
In Part 2 of my conversation with Frank J. Oteri, we talk about reconciling different genres, thinking about audiences and their (lack of) preconceptions, and amateurism.
To say that Frank J. Oteri has a multi-faceted career in music is a gross understatement. In addition to his own work as a composer, he has been the Co-Editor for NewMusicBox since it was created in 1999, where he writes and reports on all manner of topics relating to the realm of new music, and he bears the unique title of Composer Advocate at New Music USA. He works tirelessly on behalf of composers in the US and abroad, and has a breadth and depth of knowledge of living composers and their works that is, quite simply, staggering.
I’ve been friends with Frank and his wife Trudy Chan (Ep. 25) for years, and it’s always a joy to hang out and chat with either of them. So for this week, Frank and I sat down with a bottle of wine, and talked for over two hours! Rest assured, I’ve split the conversation into two parts so that the second half will come out next week.
In Part 1 of this lengthy conversation, we talk about pushing artistic boundaries, the nature of “originality”, and what it means to be an advocate for new music.
Composer Reena Esmail (ReenaEsmail.com) joins Dennis to discuss a range of topics, including being a woman composer and a composer of color.
After several weeks of emailing to set up this episode, Stacy Garrop and I met in person at The Midwest Clinic, and had a wonderful time getting to know one another between Clinic events. A few days after I returned to NYC, we sat down for this conversation. Stacy’s a great composer, and I had the pleasure of hearing her fantastic brass quintet Legends of Olympus performed by the Gaudete Brass while I was in Chicago.
During the course of our conversation, we talk about:
I’m joined this week by a number of friends and colleagues to break down The Midwest Clinic, which we all just attended – most of us for the first time.
Trudy Chan returns to the show, then Frank Oteri (Trudy’s husband, and the founder/co-editor of NewMusicBox) joins the conversation, then Sean Perrin of the Clarineat podcast and Garrett Hope (the Justin Timberlake to MPP’s SNL) have a nice chat about our first experiences at the conference.
In short: it’s HUGE, it’s overwhelming for a first-timer, and it’s an amazing opportunity for composers and for musicians of all stripes to network and to explore a wealth of music, most of it new.
After we spoke in Episode 19, Scott mentioned that we should have looked at one of my previous NMUSA Project Grant applications as an example to help other applicants, and I immediately started kicking myself for not thinking of that earlier.
So this week, that’s exactly how we start the episode – we look through two of my previous applications (screen-capped below). Then we go on to look at a few applications from the String Orchestra of Brooklyn (with the permission and at the behest of Ep. 23 guest Emily Bookwalter), as well as a broad look at some previously-awarded projects. It’s a great talk, and I absolutely learned a TON in the process.
On a personal note: great job to all of you who have been emailing Scott and his team about your applications after he was on the show earlier this Fall. That’s exactly what I was hoping for, and exactly what we all need to do to make our applications better!
Scroll down for screencaps and audio samples from the applications that Scott and I talk about.
Jay Venute is the wit and talent behind Jerk Birds and the webcomic Doodle Park. He’s also a very close friend, a regular listener to the show despite not being a musician, and a constant sounding board for my myriad harebrained ideas.
This week, we commemorate the six month anniversary of the show by talking about how it came to be, the trials and tribulations of all the behind-the-scenes machinations, and the various lessons I’ve learned along the way.
We also spend time talking about our artistic common ground, showing appreciation, support systems, and the importance of being publicly vulnerable.
Angela Myles Beeching, author of the well-known book Beyond Talent: Creating a Successful Career in Music, has created and run entrepreneurship programs in a number of major music schools throughout the country, and now is a full-time career consultant for working musicians.
This week, she joins me to talk about her work with musicians, and some tips for composers and performers.
Also, Angela has made a very generous offer to the MPP community: between now and December 14, 2016, she is offering a free 30-minute career consultation! Just email her at Angela@BeyondTalentConsulting.com, and mention that you heard her here.
During the course of our conversation, we touched on:
Angela Myles Beeching
Steven Pressfield: The War of Art
New Music Box: You Need a Better Bio
“Inside Morton’s Head”: Morton Gould on the creative process
“Success & Legacy”
“Five Productivity Hacks”
Trudy Chan has had a multifaceted career in music. The former Senior Manager of Promotion at Boosey & Hawkes, Trudy now heads her own boutique composer management company, and works as a collaborative pianist, most notably as one half of the Cheah Chan Duo, which puts on six concerts of art song and piano music each season.
Trudy and I have been friends for years, and we’ve had the pleasure of performing together several times.
During the course of our conversation, we touched on:
My friend and fellow podcaster – and MPP Superfriend – Garrett Hope is back this week to talk with me about an idea that’s not super-well-known within the music community, but has been helping artists, professionals, and small business owners for nearly a century: Mastermind Groups.
Garrett and I are members of a small mastermind group of music podcasters and bloggers, and it’s in large part thanks to this group of wonderful musicians that I’ve continued to improve this show over the past few months.
What is a mastermind? Let Garrett explain it to you in this week’s episode, where we discuss the benefits of creating a group of peer mentors, how to gracefully accept criticism, being accountable, and building a base of support.
And head on over to Garrett’s show The Portfolio Composer, where I’m this week’s guest: Episode 99 – just before Garrett’s landmark 100th episode!
Emily Bookwalter is a violist, the Director of External Affairs for the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, and the Executive Director of New Amsterdam Records. In short, Emily does all the things.
This is a fantastic conversation where we riff on marketing, storytelling, the dargers/usefulness of -isms, community, musical citizenship, and how the viola is the best instrument. Soap-boxes abound.
And then Google Hangouts lost the last six minutes of the broadcast. Seriously. Fortunately, I was talking for most of those six minutes, so very little of import was lost.
Kathleen Supové is an excellent pianist with a flair for the theatrical and a deep love for new music. Although she studied within the classical tradition, she feels the need to forge new paths and create new traditions for new music.
We spoke a few days before The Debussy Effect, Kathleen’s latest album of works written for her, was released on New Focus Records. During our conversation, we talked about:
Seth Hanes is Philadelphia-based horn player and entrepreneur, and runs the excellent website The Musician’s Guide to Hustling, where he helps musicians get more gigs and create more – and more rewarding – connections with other musicians. I met Seth when he invited me to come on his site to talk about the differences between traditional publishing and self publishing, and I was impressed with his level of knowledge on marketing and effective promotion.
Seth just released his first book, Break into the Scene: A Musician’s Guide to Making Connections, Creating Opportunities, and Launching a Career, today, and I think that it’s a great addition to the library of any musician who wants clear, actionable advice on how to improve their career.
In the course of our conversation, we covered:
Having a versatile skillset
Scarcity vs abundance
Connecting with contractors
Considering the challenges of your prospective collaborators
Breaking into the Scene
In June 2005, my composition teacher at the time, <a href="http://www.daronhagen.com/" target="_blank">Daron Hagen</a>, told me that he was having his <em>Pianos Variations</em> premiered by a pianist named Marc Peloquin at the Bloomingdale School of Music, and that if I was interested, I should go. I arrived rather early, met Marc, and ended up helping him to set up chairs for the recital. The concert was wonderful, and in addition to Daron’s <em>Variations</em>, included some works by Virgil Thomson and David Del Tredici.
Afterward, I was invited to a post-concert dinner a few blocks away with Marc and his partner (now husband) Seth, Chester Biscardi, and David Del Tredici, and the five of us have been good friends ever since. (I like to tell the story of how I only ordered french fries, claiming that I had eaten before the concert, when in fact french fries were all I could afford at the time. The life of a young artist!)
Nine months after that concert and dinner, Marc and I performed together for the first time on the inaugural Tobenski-Algera Concert. We perform together regularly, have toured together, and formed a small record label to release our recordings of new vocal music. Marc was also the Best Man at my wedding last year.
During this week’s conversation, we talked about:
<li>The value of recording previously-unrecorded works</li>
<li>Approaching promotion from a project-oriented standpoint</li>
<li>The economics of recording</li>
<li>Finding a label or self-releasing your recordings</li>
<li>Learning from experience</li>
<li>How we run Perfect Enemy Records</li>
<li>Rolling with the punches</li>
<a href="http://marcpeloquin.com/" target="_blank">Marc Peloquin</a>
<a href="http://keyedupmusicproject.com/" target="_blank">KeyedUp MusicProject</a>
<a href="http://perfectenemyrecords.com/" target="_blank">Perfect Enemy Records</a>
<a href="http://kriswrites.com/2012/04/25/the-business-rusch-one-phone-call-from-our-knees/" target="_blank">Kristine Kathryn Rusch: One Phone Call from Our Knees</a>
For this week’s episode, I sat down with Scott Winship, the Director of Grantmaking at New Music USA to talk about the organization’s Project Grants, and answer a few listener questions. It was a great conversation with a lot of really great tips for making your application the best it can be.
Some of the things we talked about were:
Recently declared by Opera News to be a “game changing” company that is redefining American opera, New York City-based Rhymes With Opera started just like most new music ensembles – as a handful of like-minded friends who just wanted to do good work – and have become a well-established, well-respected organization creating a whole new set of operatic repertoire for the 21st century.
I was thrilled to sit down with all five of the founding members to talk about the company’s successes and growing pains, and their advice for new music ensembles that are just starting out.
During the course of the conversation, we talked about:
Rose Marshack is a professor of Arts Technology and Music Business at Illinois State University (my alma mater), as well as the bass player for the indie rock band Poster Children. I met Rose when I spoke to her Music Business students for the first time in 2013, and immediately loved her enthusiasm for giving her students the skills they need to survive post-graduation.
During the course of our conversation, we talked about:
In addition to being a talented composer, Daniel Gilliam is the Director of Programming for WUOL Classical 90.5 in Louisville, KY. We got to know one another a number of years ago on Twitter, and finally met in “meatspace”, along with Dale Trumbore, over drinks at the 2012 Chorus America conference in Minneapolis, MN.
During the course of our conversation we touched on:
Garrett Hope is a composer, entrepreneur, and business coach, as well as the podcaster behind The Portfolio Composer (originally titled Composer on Fire). Like me, he loves helping other composers to navigate their careers, and he’s currently putting together an online course, which will launch in September, to teach composers how to market their works more effectively.
During our wide-ranging conversation, we talked about:
Three months after his first appearance on the show, entertainment/copyright lawyer and MPP Superfriend Marc Ostrow is back to talk some more about Fair Use, with me supplying a few hypothetical situations. But more importantly, Marc lays out the Department of Justice’s recent and unexpected ruling that PROs must abandon 70+ years of established industry practice and adopt a 100% Licensing regime, and what that means for you.
During the conversation, we covered:
Marc Ostrow: 100% Licensing summary and reaction
Marc Ostrow: Letter to DoJ
U.S. Copyright Office’s reaction to 100% Licensing ruling
MusicTechPolicy Podcast explaining 100% Licensing
Marc Ostrow: “Do You Have The Chutzpah To Take A Gamble On Fair Use?”
Megan Ihnen is a Des Moines, IA-based mezzo-soprano and “tireless promoter of contemporary classical music for the voice.” For this week’s episode, we sat down to talk about building community, being generous, and writing for the voice.
Throughout the conversation we covered:
Thomas Deneuville is another musician whose friendship I owe to Twitter, which is only fitting considering his affinity to and facility with social media. Thomas is the founder of the online new music magazine I Care If You Listen, which he created in December 2010, and has since grown to includeICareIfYouListen.tv, a fully-fledged media platform dedicated to user-generated new music videos. A testament to his ingenuity and love of the world of new music, Thomas and I Care If You Listen won the 45th Annual ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor Media Award in 2013.
Outside of ICIYL, Thomas teaches, consults, and speaks about web design, email marketing, social media, and analyzing online metrics, as they pertain to musicians and other artists. He is also the digital content manager for Cornell University.
During the course of this week’s episode, we talked about: