Contemporary Classical Music
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      Composer Spotlight: Zhou Long

      One of the first composers to graduate from the Beijing Conservatory upon its reopening after the Cultural Revolution and the winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for his opera Madame White Snake, Zhou Long creates thoughtful, spiritually-infused music that has resonated with audiences across the globe.

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      In the Field: Mizzou Part I

      Fast becoming the go-to summer music festival in the Midwest, the concerts and workshops at the University of Missouri’s International Composers Festival are a sure-fire place to hear imaginative new music from emerging composers.

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      In the Field: Mizzou Part II

      More music from the vibrant inferno of creative energy that is the Mizzou International Composers Festival, featuring Alarm Will Sound, exciting works by faculty composers and a bundle of premieres, concerts and workshops.

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      Journey into the Sacred: Modern Oratorios

      Large-scale sacred works might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of contemporary music, but a number of important composers are creating expansive works inspired by their concept of a higher power.

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      Composers Among Us: Laura Schwendinger

      Our popular series profiling emerging composers continues with Laura Schwendinger, an artist whose strongly personal style of music is filled with kinetic energy and slow-burning intensity.

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      Modern-Day Moonlighters

      Philip Glass is arguably the most famous plumber, mover and cab driver ever to work in New York. While not every example is that extreme, there are quite a few composers with day jobs – multitalented people, that advocate for their fellow composers, write, work in radio or have a Ph.D in neuroscience. Tune in […]

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      In the Field: Seoul, Part I

      Relevant Tones goes in the field to this hotbed of contemporary classical music, Seoul South Korea, to attend two major festivals of emerging and established composers. In part I we’ll chat with the composers and feature live performances from the concerts to showcase the dynamic music scene there.

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      In the Field: Seoul, Part II

      The second part in our two-part series from Seoul will feature interviews with funders and organizers who are busily providing opportunities for living composers to flourish, and we’ll feature more of the audio recorded from the two major festivals we attended.

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      Going Solo

      There is perhaps no more intimate connection in music than when a composer writes a solo piece specifically for a gifted performer, crafting the piece for the player’s specific strengths and musical tastes. We’ll talk with several performers about solos that have been written for them and feature performances of the pieces recorded live in […]

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      Composers Among Us: Robert Kritz

      Composer Robert Kritz spent many years working in the corporate world by day and busily composing music into the wee hours of the night. A decision several years ago to show some of his pieces to professional composers was the occasion of great excitement and led to a flurry of public performances and commissions. We’ll talk with Kritz about his unusual career path as a composer and feature live performances of several of his pieces by the musicians who support his work.

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      Composer Cosmology

      As astrophysicists like Neil deGrasse Tyson learn more about the cosmos and present their often strange and wondrous findings to the public, the creative mind can’t help but be captivated and inspired, and composers are certainly no exception. From super strings to quarks, multiple dimensions to M theory, we’ll play several imaginative works by composers captivated by our universe.

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      Still Goldberg After All These Years

      When harpsichordist Johann Gottlieb Goldberg asked Bach to write pieces for him to play to help a Saxon count get to sleep at night he could hardly have realized that he was playing a key role in creating music that would inspire audiences and musicians for centuries. Not only are the Goldberg Variations among the most frequently performed works today, they also continue to inspire composers to write new variations on the famous themes. We’ll feature an incredible array of these this week on Relevant Tones.

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      CD Grab Bag

      We’re thrilled to receive hundreds of CDs a year from around the country as well as from far-flung corners of the globe. We listen to everything we receive and then feature an eclectic mix of music we think our listeners should hear from established labels to self-producing artists making their very first recording.

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      Visual Aids

      We’ve always been fascinated here at Relevant Tones with how our perceptions of music change when it’s paired with visual imagery. With that in mind we’re asking several prominent visual artists to suggest imagery to a wide variety of different pieces by living composers. Relax, close your eyes and enjoy the view!

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      We ask composers: What’s in your iPod?

      We know composers spend a lot of time alone wrestling with their sonic muse but, when they’re not composing what are they listening to? What music is currently inspiring them? How does it influence their own music? We’ll ask established and emerging composers alike to tell us what’s in their Ipod and why and then we’ll play each piece in its entirety.

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