Category: Opinion Piece

>reinhören

Over the last week I have watched with fascination this odd-looking structure taking form outside the Paul Sacher Stiftung in Basel: Today it finally became clear what it was all about. A few years ago, after a visit to the Guggenheim in Bilbao, I railed against the lack of parity between contemporary artists and composers. Why could an exhibition of obscure modern…

On Moving to Mac

My home office setup. The computer is that elegant little box to the right of my main monitor. Many composers I talk to, even if they use a Windows PC, express an interest in swapping to Apple Mac. That was certainly my experience when I asked several composers to write here about using computers when composing. Apple computers, say the fanboys, are…

Does Contemporary Music Do Christmas?

I said last time that December is the month without contemporary music. By this I meant performances of contemporary music. There exists plenty of Christmas music by contemporary composers, though it often seems to be ignored in favour of more traditional fare. This set me thinking. Is there something about Christmas that contemporary music is unable to tackle? And might…

The Sacher Foundation

With a good friend of mine, the Mexican composer Mauricio Beltrán, I have just spent a fascinating few days in the Sacher Foundation Library in Basel, Switzerland.  Paul Sacher (1906-1999) was a Swiss conductor and musical patron. Though born into a poor family, in 1934 he came into vast riches through marriage to Maja Hoffmann-Stehlin, heiress to the Hoffmann-La Roche drug company. It was…

Modern Art and Modern Music

After a visit to some Basque friends in Northern Spain last week I found myself with a day to spare in Bilbao. The city used to be faceless and industrial until the Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art, Frank O. Gehry’s breathtaking postmodern masterpiece, was constructed on the river estuary next to the city’s classical district or ‘Ensanche’. Now civic confidence is…