“Any Advice for Young Composers?”

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Annie Gosfield's advice for young composers
Annie Gosfield is a New York-based piano and sampler performer and acclaimed composer. Image © 2003 – 2009 Annie Gosfield

Annie Gosfield, a young composer herself, tackles the question in the NY Times:

Back in October I was interviewed by Cornelius Dufallo, a fine violinist who recently performed a piece of mine. He sent me a list of questions, the last being, “Any advice for young composers?”

The question took me by surprise — wasn’t I a young composer, too? When did I make the transition to not-so-young composer? Every day I have moments when I feel like a young composer: I struggle with starting projects, experiment with unfamiliar techniques, and deal with interpersonal challenges. There are so many times when I feel like I lack a manual in my day-to-day life. How do I find the time to compose and still take care of all of the boring administrative tasks? What’s the best approach to take with a temperamental musician? Can the violinist really play a phrase that fast, or will his fingers turn into a tangle of scorched flesh? The occasional impossible aesthetic decision can seem easy in comparison. Truth is, if I had the answers to all of the questions, my life would be a lot less interesting. Looking for the answers and keeping an open mind is what keeps it exciting.

Great advice — and inspiration — for anyone, not just composers.

There’s more…

The Latest from Norah Jones

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Listen to the entire album here.

Norah Jones The Fall

the album was recorded with a new band of well-known session musicians. Drummer Joey Waronker has worked with Beck and R.E.M. Guitarists Marc Ribot and Smokey Hormel have performed on records by Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Johnny Cash and Joe Strummer. Keyboardist James Poyser has contributed to records by Erykah Badu, Al Green and Common, and is a member of The Roots‘ house band on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. Legendary R&B drummer James Gadson — who’s performed on studio sessions with Bill Withers, Quincy Jones and Herbie Hancock — lends additional work.

Enjoy!

Voice Your Support

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for your all-time, worldwide favorite vocalist on NPR’s 50 Great Voices in recorded history-year long project.

50 Great Voices
Sarah Vaughan, Yossele Rosenblatt, Beny More (top row, left to right); K.D. Lang, Toots Hibbert, Roy Orbison (middle row, left to right); Judy Garland, Atilla The Hun, Beniamino Gigli (bottom row, left to right);

In January 2010, NPR will launch a year-long exploration of 50 great voices in recorded history. The series isn’t an attempt to catalog the so-called “greatest” singers. Instead, we hope to discover and re-discover awe-inspiring vocalists from around the world and across time.

Let NPR know your 5 faves from the 100 nominated here. A great way to have some musical fun online.