Commissioning New Music: Jim Farber writes in the San Francisco Classical Voice

San Francisco Classical Voice

The eminent music critic Jim Farber interviewed me recently for a two-part article he wrote for San Francisco Classical Voice about new music, organizations that commission new music, and various ways to fund these exciting creations.  He was particularly interested in Coretet, the commissioning arm of Yarlung Artists, founded by Coretet’s executive director Donna Morton.

Jim speaks at length with Deborah Borda, president of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Raulee Marcus, who has been intimately involved (and generous)  as an underwriter for several commissions by Yarlung Artists, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

It was also great to see Jim include Thor Steingraber, who now runs the Valley Performing Arts Center in Northridge, where Yarlung is planning multiple recordings in June, 2017.

Thank you Jim, for bringing clear focus to commissioning new music, which is pumps fresh life blood into the musical experience.

-Bob Attiyeh

Jim’s article Part A, and Part B

An excerpt from Jim’s article:

Bob Attiyeh was a young man when he began attending Betty Freeman’s musicales with his [parents Linda and Bob]. Today he is a producer at Yarlung Records, which specializes in high quality live recordings. As stated on its web page, the Grammy Award-winning label “brings fresh musicians to the classical music world using minimalist audiophile recording techniques to deliver sound as close to living performance as possible.”

The Yarlung library includes a wide variety. There’s music by James Matheson conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen with the Chicago Symphony; Antonio Lysy performing music from Argentina; “Inner World” music by David S. Lefkowitz; and an on-location recording of Men of Dharamsala featuring the Monks of the Nechung recorded at the Tibetan Institute of the Performing Arts in Dharmsala, India. They even press recordings on vinyl.

“Music has the unique ability to bring together cultural threads, especially during moments of emotional stress,” Attiyeh says. “And recording is a part of the overall scene. There’s an audiophile community around the world that will spend half a million dollars on a stereo system but never go to a concert! They’re not supporting the Philharmonic or the Opera. They’re buying speakers or spending $10,000 for a cartridge. We have been trying to attract some of these people to our live-recording concerts.”

It’s all about reaching out.

“It’s important not to have to go to the same funders over and over and over,” says Attiyeh. “We’ve found that reaching out to new audiences and would-be patrons keeps us honest. It focuses us to make our case in fresh ways. Part of the reason New Music has become hip is that it’s not as exclusive as it used to be, so intellectually inward. It’s expressionistic in the way it combines different genres.”

Jim Farber, San Francisco Classical Voice

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