To collaborate or not to collaborate

Throughout the 20th century, there have always been artists capable of breathing new life into the scene with fresh new approaches. Which composers and which compositional strategies are you currently finding to be particularly inspiring – and why? What are some of the rewarding fields composers could – and perhaps should – explore right now?

Dobrinka Tabakova / The most inspiring for me has always been hearing music and musicians who are simply being themselves, trying to capture something they really believe in. Gyorgi Ligeti, John Adams, Giya Kancheli, Keith Jarrett … Everyone has a different approach to this, and it’s different for each individual. Creativity cannot be a formula.

Michael Hammond / Just last night I saw an incredible performance by Deerhoof and Dal Niente that featured a half-hour piece by Marcos Balter for the combined groups (part of the Ecstatic Music Festival which NewAm co-director Judd Greenstein curates). I had never really heard anything like it before. It was like Marcos channeled the spirit of Deerhoof while he was composing. I'm also lucky to be involved doing sound design for Sarah Kirkland Snider's big new piece "Unremembered for chamber orchestra and 7 singers", which also premiered on Ecstatic with Shara Worden, DM Stith, and Padma Newsome. In general, collaboration is kind of where it's at right now. It's really inspiring to see artists getting out of their comfort zones to collaborate together.

Nimrod Boreinstein / I am not interested in collaborations. To me, that's a recipe for something of not particularly high value. I think that art is something about someone alone. I object to the idea of two composers. Sometimes, when you talk too much, nothing gets done. But I would love to do a modern ballet if I found the right choreographer. Or a music for film … putting music into images similar to the way it is done in opera could be great, but extending beyond what can be done in opera.

Bob Lord / Forget techniques and strategies – it is the breadth and depth of personal expression itself seems to me to be the most valid, most fertile field. To my mind, this isn’t about putting a DJ next to a cellist in the middle of a cemetery or something similar, but rather about being unique, new, original, and doing so in a personal sense. I am not interested in hearing “new music” that sounds like someone else, nor am I interested in new music that merely seeks to impress. What I love most is music that I can get nowhere else, a style that is utterly singular, expression that is completely personal and unique. What’s the use of doing what’s already been done?

Nimrod Borenstein / One of the most important qualities for a composer is originality, which is the true sign of avantgarde in music. But how could a composer have his own original voice if he has to belong at the same time to an established way of thinking? This is why I think that artists should explore in depth their own visions and find new ideas that are their own. There should not be a “should”!

Homepage: Dobrinka Tabakova
Homepage: Nimrod Borenstein
Homepage: Michael Hammond
Homepage: Dreadnaught
Homepage: New Amsterdam Recordings
Homepage: PARMA Recordings

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