The current blog of The New Republic features a story on the legendary songwriter and composer Nick Hathaway, described by his discoverer and Columbia Journalism Professor David Hajdu as "the genre- and taste-defying songsmith known for having the kind of talent that is truly not to be believed."
The blog post is in honor of the first anniversary of Hathaway's death at the piano in Chester, Pennsylvania, on April 1, 2011. It features a riveting video performance of Hathaway's best-loved unheard piece of work: the words and music he wrote for "Man in a Mousetrap," the conceptual production directed in 1953 by the avant-gardist Jeffrey Cordova. Here, in the piece's debut, Theo Bleckmann, the esteemed experimental vocalist, performs "Man in a Mousetrap" at Columbia University, with Jon Weber (pianist and host of the NPR radio series "Piano Jazz Rising Stars"), Chris Washburne (respected trombonist and director of the Jazz Performance Program at Columbia), and the violinist and scholar (and Columbia musicology PhD candidate) Matthew Morrison. The performance also features a consideration of Hathaway's historical importance by Columbia's Edwin Case Professor of Music, George Lewis, who concludes that "in the history of the American avant-garde, Nick Hathaway stands out as a figure of rare conventionality."
On Wednesday, December 7th, 50 outstanding performing, visual, media and literary artists were awarded with USA Fellowship grants of $50,000 each, in Santa Monica, CA.
Professor George Lewis, the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music, was one of the awardees, receiving the USA Walker Fellowship.
George Lewis is a composer, trombonist, improviser, educator, and a pioneer of computer music. Lewis has been a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since 1971, and studied at its school under USA Prudential Fellow Muhal Richards Abrams. Lewis's work with musicians from Count Basie to John Zorn is documented in over 140 recordings. He has also created and performed with interactive computer systems since the late 1970s and has collaborated with visual artists, roboticists, and turntablists in sound installations. He is the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University and won a MacArthur Fellowship in 2002.
Photo credit Eileen Barroso
Explore our course offerings for Spring 2012!
V2014 Popular Musics- Americas: Country Music
Instructor: Aaron Fox Call #: 68348, 3 pts, TR 2:40pm-3:55pm, 405 Dodge
This is an undergraduate lecture/discussion survey course that combines a detailed musical and social history of "country" as an American and global popular music genre with an introduction to key issues in the academic study of popular music as exemplified by the growing scholarly literature on country. Inarguably, the genre (formerly known as "hillbilly" and "country and western" and sometimes "folk" music) constitutes a crucially important strand in the history of music in the 20th century, both in the United States and globally.
V3030 Asian American Music
Instructor: Ellie Hisama Call #: 62292, 3 pts, MW 10:35am-11:50am, 404 Dodge
Examination of the diverse ways in which Asian Americans have understood and shaped their musical prac- tices. We will explore the ways in which Asians have been represented via sound, text, and image, and will consider Asian Americans' participation in composed music traditions, jazz, traditional/folk music, diasporic music, improvised music, and popular musics. The course will reflect on readings from musicology, ethnomu- sicology, and music theory as well as fields outside of music in order to consider Asian American music in relation to critical issues of diaspora, race/ethnicity, gender/sexuality, polyculturalism, and political activism.
Fred Lerdahl, the Fritz Reiner Professor of Composition at Columbia, has published a tribute to his friend and colleague, the late George Edwards (Edward MacDowell Professor Emeritus of Music) in the online journal New Music Box.
"Music was his refuge, his inner sanctum of order, beauty, and refined expression."
From the article:
"George and I met in 1965 as incoming graduate students at Princeton. He, Joel Gressel, and I soon formed a three-way friendship that became at least as important to our development as the classes we took. After seminars we would relax by playing pool, frisbee, chess, or tennis, and we spent long hours listening to and discussing music, not only modern pieces but also the classics, in particular Beethoven and Mahler. By the time I met him, George's personality and musical style were already formed. He had an acerbic wit that quickly spotted contradictions and deflated pretensions. Beneath the high-spirited jokes and puns lay a stern moral sensibility, seemingly inherited from his Puritan background. (One of his forebears was the 18th-century theologian Jonathan Edwards.) This sensibility made him vulnerable to moods of discouragement and outrage, yet it was also a strength. He held firm convictions, musical and otherwise. He followed unwaveringly his own artistic path, and he approached all of his relationships and obligations with exemplary candor, responsibility, and loyalty."
The recent "Composer Portrait" of Prof. George Lewis at Miller Theater was reviewed in The New York Times by critic Steve Smith:
" . . .rare, rich and provocative: contemporary-classical concert music that reflected, organically and without compromise, black American musical, literary and cultural perspectives . . . Absorbing in scope and expressive in detail,"
Carl Christian Bettendorf is a New York-based composer and conductor. Born in Hamburg, Germany, he studied composition with Hans-Jurgen von Bose and Wolfgang Rihm in Munich and Karlsruhe before moving to New York, where he received his doctorate from Columbia University under Tristan Murail. He attended Sir Peter Maxwell Davies' Summer School for Young Composers in the Orkney Islands and was a fellow at the Composers Conference (Wellesley College, Mass.) and the Centre Acanthes (Metz, France).
Bettendorf's works have been played at major new-music festivals and venues in Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia. In July 1997, his first opera Escorial after Michel de Ghelderode was premiered at the Prinzregententheater in Munich. He has received numerous awards, among them a fellowship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), a six-month residency at the Cite des Arts in Paris, and a Fromm Foundation commission.
Ilari Kaila received his Ph.D. in Music Composition from Stony Brook University in December 2010, having previously studied at the Sibelius Academy in his native Finland. During the 2013-14 concert season, his works are performed at the Metropolis Festival in Australia by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; on the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra's tour of Japan in Yokohama and Kanagawa; in Finland by the Joensuu City Orchestra; in Hong Kong as one of six young Composer Fellows featured in the "Intimacy of Creativity 2014" program; and at the MATA Festival in New York City, among others. His music has been performed by the Escher String Quartet, the Uusinta Chamber Ensemble, the Albany Symphony Orchestra, the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra's chamber ensembles, and the Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra. Kaila has been awarded, most recently, in the Mellon Foundation/ASO "Composer to Center Stage" competition, and in the Composer Competition of the 9th International Piano Festival in Espoo, and has received the American-Scandinavian Foundation Fellowship, a commission grant from the National Council for Music in Finland, the Thayer Fellowship and Patricia Kerr Ross Award from SUNY, and the Cite Internationale des Arts residency in Paris. He has participated in master classes with Magnus Lindberg and Esa-Pekka Salonen, and studied Carnatic music on several trips to India between 2002 and 2011. As a pianist, Kaila has performed in premieres of his own and other young composers' works, and in various improvisation projects. In addition to teaching harmony, counterpoint and musicianship at Columbia University, Kaila works for the New York Philharmonic as a teaching artist in composition, both in the U.S.