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Composer's Studio

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Join hosts Anna Linvill, and Tarik Ghiradella for conversations with contemporary composers about music, life, and what’s happening in the genre defying world of classical music today. The Composer’s Studio is a place where living art is made, a place without boundaries where inspiration can come from anywhere from birdsong to heavy metal, Vivaldi to the hum of a vacuum cleaner. Classical composers today are no longer confined to the concert stage or the cathedral but contribute to film scores, television commercials, video game soundtracks and beyond. From graduate students to Grammy winners, this is a classical music show like none you have ever heard. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to join the conversation and find out about upcoming guests and performances.
50 Episodes
From algorithms to Youtube, Thomas Little bridges the intuition of a composer with the heart of a teacher. With a deep understanding of music and music history, Little is not only a prolific composer but also an influential educator who shares his knowledge and passion for music with others on his successful Youtube channel Classical Nerd.  
Composer, flutist, choreographer, sound artist, and radio broadcaster Annie Nikunen's music is an embodiment of her humanity. Join Tarik and Anna for an exploration of the physicality of sound with this lovely, creative spirit. 
With a fascination with language and mythos, Douglas Boyce composes music that draws on Medieval and Renaissance traditions but sits firmly within a modernist aesthetic. Building rich rhythmic structures that shift between order, fragmentation, elegance, and ferocity, many of his works have a direct historical touchstone. Other works draw on sources from antiquity,   literature, and philosophy. Join Tarik and Anna for a deep dive into a fascinating, modernist mind. 
Award winning Composer Christopher Dietz is a stargazer, his compositions moving through the darkness of spacetime in whirling constellations of sound. With instruments standing in for celestial bodies, Dietz engages in a philosophical contemplation of dualities and opposition, changing seasons, beginnings and endings. The individual, in relief against the unfathomable mass  of the Universe, turns from the broader view to the comforting safety of self-made limitations. Dietz’ reworking of The Rifleman’s Creed is a sympathetic, yet unflinching examination of humanity’s rigid, defensive attachment to its personal manifestos, though they lead us astray or into unwinnable conflicts. Join Tarik and Anna for a conversation that takes us from the deepest depths of the Universe to the mysteries of the human soul. 
It's very mysterious how it works, this pre-verbal language that we all recognize and comprehend. It's not simplistic or concrete yet somehow it channels and resonates its way through our minds and into our souls. It is with this vision and deep understanding that Worthington composes.  Often, she may not even know the meaning behind a composition until she has finished writing it. Rain is a self-taught composer.  Magical Realism, Reflection and Musical Angels are some of the beautiful manifestations of  her music. Impulses for new pieces have ranged from the small bits of rain cascading off of windows to the two-note expression of a sigh as well as the tragedy and heartache felt so deeply and by so many after 911.
Shanan Estreicher is a man of many accomplishments, and he has done so, not for himself but for others.  There is a Hebrew phrase "Torah Lishmah." Loosely translated, it means - a raging thirst for knowledge.  But, in Shanan's case the gift he offers is not about the knowledge he's learned but rather the knowledge he shares. With a heart of a teacher, Shanan expresses his musical voice in a passionate and honest way: an uninterrupted communication of musical language that speaks through him so deeply, encouraging every voice around him to rise up and sing.
From legendary educator at the Juilliard School to Professor of Composition and Music Theory at Vanderbilt University, Composer Samuel Zyman is one of the leading Mexican composers on the international scene today.  Known for his use of vigorous rhythmic energy and expressive lyricism, Dr. Zyman infuses the many styles that define his heritage.
From big ideas to tiny details, join us this week on the Composer's Studio as we embark on a thought provoking discussion about music, life and how harmony relates to the corner of a room.  From rock guitar to pencil and manuscript, from the Aaron Copland School of Music to City University of New York, Edward Smaldone does everything with passion and commitment.
On this special episode of Composer’s Studio, join Anna and guest host Shanan Estreicher for a fascinating dive into the music of our own Tarik Ghiradella. A master of what might be called minimalist maximalism, Ghiradella’s music undergoes astounding transformations from just a few tones-- mere molecules of sound into a dark, misty malediction, the hope of eternal life in another world, or even the love of a mother for her child. His music has been featured on the American Heroes Channel T.V. series Gunslingers and has composed for The American String Quartet, The Astoria Symphony, The Greensboro philharmonia and the Round rock symphony.  As a drummer, he has toured  Europe and North America and continues his work as a session drummer recording from his home studio. We are very lucky and proud to call him a collaborator and a friend.
Puerto Rican-born composer and multi-instrumentalist Angélica Negrón’s music is deeply personal, reflecting a sensitive, playful nature that takes nothing for granted. Even the most mundane sounds--a stapler, a calculator, crumpling paper, pots and pans become beautiful in her sound sculptor’s able hands.  Her music has been described as “wistfully idiosyncratic and contemplative,” while The New York Times noted her “capacity to surprise.” Negrón has been commissioned by the Bang on a Can All-Stars, loadbang, MATA Festival, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Sō Percussion, the American Composers Orchestra and the New York Botanical Garden, among others. We hope you enjoy her music as much as we did this week.
Composer, performer, conductor, and educator Aaron Noë is a musical hero, for he writes music not only for himself or for professional performers, but for students just beginning their musical explorations. So many composers we have spoken with on this show had their first experience with music in a school band or choral program. In this episode of Composer’s Studio, Tarik and Anna celebrate the music of a composer who has dedicated his life and work to paving the way for others. 
Composer and sound artist Jenny Olivia Johnson’s  work is a musical memoir, her multi-sensory synesthesia coloring everything she does. Her compositions and artwork range from electroacoustic chamber songs and contemplative solo works to short amplified operas and interactive sound and light sculptures. We can’t take you through one of her fascinating installations, but her music is a fascinating experience all on its own.
Composer Anthony Constantino wonders, where do I fit in the larger picture? Why does the world need another quartet, another chamber work when so much great work has already been composed? The World already has Beethoven and Stravinsky, Bartok and Shostakovich. Did they not reach the pinnacle of what is possible in classical form? Thankfully, Anthony has figured out how to shut off his doubting mind. Constantino writes everything from chamber, vocal, and electroacoustic music to large scale orchestral works and shows us that there is still plenty of room for new music in the old forms. 
Peter Askim- What's next?

Peter Askim- What's next?


Composer Peter Askim does it all. Active as a performing bassist, Conductor of the Raleigh Civic Symphony and Chamber Orchestra, Director of Orchestral Studies at North Carolina State University, he is also founder and Artistic Director of The Next Festival of Emerging Artists, fostering and mentoring young composers and performers.  A few months ago,  Peter Askim added ‘Dad’ to his distinguished list of titles. It wasn’t easy for us to get this interview, but it was well worth the wait.  Peter is not only a master of his Art, he is a warm and delightful human being. 
Anna and Tarik close out the Composer's Studio first season with a holiday special of Sacred Choral works.
Join Tarik and Anna for a deep conversation with Anthony R. Green, American composer, pianist, and social justice artist, whose solo and collaborative work have been presented in over 25 countries. A passionate activist as well as a composer, Anthony is co-founder and Associate Artistic Director of Castle of our Skins, a concert and educational series dedicated to celebrating Black artistry through music. He is currently a fellow at the Berlin University of the Arts. From the composer:Composer, performer, and social justice artist Anthony R. Green (he/him) has had projects realized in over 25 countries, working with some of today's most ambitious soloists and ensembles, including Julian Otis and Veronica Williams (voice), Ashleigh Gordon (viola), Meraki, and the String Archestra (Berlin), to name a few. He is a former McKnight Visiting Composer, a past fellow at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, and associate director of Castle of our Skins: celebrating Black Artistry through Music. 
Drifting through falling air and tempests, we find ourselves in a musical world of unfinished introspection.  Do you think emotion in music is real?  Let’s find out. Join us on the Composer’s  Studio as we explore that question and more with award winning composer Douglas Knehans. 
When one of your earliest memories is of your grandfather playing at Carnegie Hall, it is hard work just to carve out a place for yourself in your own family. Our guest, Composer David Serkin Ludwig does his namesake proud. Once named by NPR Music as one of the world’s “Top 100 Composers Under Forty,”  David’s choral work “The New Colossus,” opened the private prayer service for President Obama’s second inauguration. Based in the creative cauldron of Philadelphia’s hot contemporary music scene, David Serkin Ludwig is chair of composition at The Curtis Institute of Music where he is also director of Ensemble 20/21 and Curtis SummerFest. He holds positions and residencies with nearly two dozen orchestras and music festivals in the US and abroad, and still makes time for his wife, acclaimed violinist Bella Hristova, and their four cats.
Composer David Kirkland Garner’s music is borne of an obsessive urge to take things apart, separate out the fragments of color, emotion, rhythm, and then reassemble it in a way that reveals new meaning and relevance. Grappling with the legacies of everything from the intimidating dominance of Beethoven’s place in the canon, to the confusing shame and nostalgia of his family’s Confederate past, Garner crafts exquisitely wrought transformations of everything from Bach violin sonatas to crackly field recordings from the Appalachian foothills. 
Composer Elainie Lillios creates electroacoustic soundscapes reflecting her fascination with observing and manipulating the qualities of sound itself.  Come with Tarik and Anna on a journey to a world of dreams and memory at the edge of the Immeasurable Distance where those we have loved and lost reside. 
Comments (1)


This is a great podcast for anyone who loves classical music or is ready to dive into the wonderful world of contemporary classical music! I thoroughly enjoyed listening and can’t wait to hear more!

Dec 16th
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