Dec 11

5 against 4

I’ve just started reading the wonderfully written—and delightfully named—blog 5 against 4. I especially recommend the series of responses to James Dillon’s Nine Rivers, complete with score and recording for the truly curious among us! Having missed the recent New York premiere, I am delighted to have the opportunity to peruse the work itself along with such deep criticism! Enjoy.

Nov 11

Talea Ensemble

Speaking of new internet initiatives, Talea Ensemble has just launched an updated website, complete with blog, which will feature entries written by “performers, composers, and audiences.” It’s just one posting right now, but if it’s anything like their music-making, it’s worth keeping an eye on!

Aug 11

The Rambler

One of my absolute favorite new music blogs is Tim Rutherford-Johnson’s “The Rambler”. Truly intelligent writing about contemporary music and the community surrounding it. The comments on his posts are a real goldmine, as his readership includes many eminent composers and performers; Ian Pace and Liza Lim both made recent appearances in discussions of complex music and the publishing business respectively.

Of especial interest to Americans – now that the service is available to us – might be his Spotify playlist of contemporary music, which are a great way of discovering new things!

Jun 11


If you’re not knowing him, I’m here to let you know. Georges Aperghis has developed one of the most distinct styles of vocal writing of any composer, and is rather prolific to boot! Check out his website and blog, do some listening at UbuWeb to his famous Recitations and see below for several YouTube clips of his Machinations.

May 11

Irrational meters

I was going to write a blog post about what are called “irrational meters” (time signatures with denominators that are not powers of 2) – then I re-read a fantastic post by Helen Bledsoe, flutist for MusikFabrik (among others), and realized I should just link to her! She very lucidly explains the mathematical workings of Ferneyhough-style rhythm, complete with “irrational meters”, which really pose very little additional challenge, if you know how to interpret them.

The most basic point to remember about these meters is that the denominator, just like in more familiar time signatures, indicates the number of notes it will take to fill a whole note. 4/8 indicates 4 of something it takes 8 of to fill a whole note (namely eighth notes). A denominator of 5 would indicate that quarter note quintuplets are the basic unit of the bar, and the numerator, as in familiar time signatures, indicates the number of units in the bar. Thus, 3/5 would be a bar of 3 quarter note quintuplets! Of course, you can, instead, treat these changes of denominator as metric modulations and tempo changes – but I’ll leave some of the specifics to Ms. Bledsoe’s lucid explanations!

Head on over to her blog, Flutin’ High, for the full post!

Mar 11


I was so glad this weekend to be at Lincoln Center, seeing a crowded lobby and excited, young crowd for New York City Opera’s Monodramas triple bill of Zorn, Schoenberg, and Feldman. It could – but in this case, won’t – go without saying that an establishment venue taking a risk on programming like this is a good sign for New York’s cultural life. For me, the high point of the night was Morton Feldman’s Neither, which despite clocking in at over an hour of very static music, kept me continuously rapt. I wrote recently about my experience of Feldman’s For Samuel Beckett, which I found frustrating at times. With this opera, for which Beckett was librettist, I felt completely engrossed. Maybe it has to do with the fact that Neither has what could be called melodies, or at least melodic fragments, whereas For Samuel Beckett consists almost entirely of Feldman’s luxurious harmonic clouds. Something about the obsessive and repetitive nature of these melodies – especially when delivered by the voice – powerfully implies a kind of desperation, a lost and hopeless striving that connects vividly with Beckett’s text about the “impenetrable self”. See Drew Baker’s blog for an insightful review of the rest of the show.

Feb 11

Acknowledgments and Thanks

I thought I’d take a moment and direct you to some people who have been so kind as to write about Ekmeles and come out to our shows! They’re all following contemporary music from different and interesting perspectives, and I suggest you keep up on their writing and follow their Twitter feeds, if you don’t already. In alphabetical order:

Drew Baker – drewbakermusic BLOG@drewbakermusic
Bruce Hodges – Monotonous Forest@BruceHodgesNY
Meg Wilhoite – meg’s new music blog@megwilhoite