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The Greatest Living Piano Composers, Part I

I spend a lot of time listening to contemporary music, usually while following scores. In college and grad school, as a composition student, I found this essential to keep ideas flowing and expand my range of influences. Today, it’s more for pleasure. But when I really think about it…not a lot of it is solo […]

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Revisiting “Gimmick” Pieces, Part II: Cage – 4’33”

Much of John Cage’s work pokes holes in concert traditions or basic art constructs. In 4’33” he turns the mirror on the audience so that instead of hearing music, they hear themselves. Today, 4’33” is traditionally viewed as the ultimate gimmick. A silent piece. A piece containing no “music.” You could argue that it’s not […]

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Revisiting “Gimmick” Pieces, Part I: Satie – Vexations

In this two-part series, I’ll be exploring two pieces that some would classify as novelties, gimmicks, or jokes. Are they valid pieces of music? Are they beautiful? Let’s find out. Satie – Vexations Ah yes, Erik Satie. He of the green velvet suits and fondness for absinthe. You might know him as the composer of […]

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