41 episodes

Meet the Composer is a Peabody Award-winning podcast from WQXR’s Q2 Music that takes listeners into the minds and creative processes of the composers making some of the most innovative, compelling and breathtakingly beautiful music today. At the convergence of interview, music and sound design, Meet the Composer aims to show the listener who the composer is as a person, as a thinker and as an artist.

Meet the Composer WQXR

    • Music Commentary
    • 4.8, 207 Ratings

Meet the Composer is a Peabody Award-winning podcast from WQXR’s Q2 Music that takes listeners into the minds and creative processes of the composers making some of the most innovative, compelling and breathtakingly beautiful music today. At the convergence of interview, music and sound design, Meet the Composer aims to show the listener who the composer is as a person, as a thinker and as an artist.

    Paul Simon's Curious Mind

    Paul Simon's Curious Mind

    Paul Simon has always been attracted to new kinds of sounds. From his early band Simon & Garfunkel in the 1960s through solo albums like Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints in the '80s and '90s, up through his recent albums So Beautiful or So What and Stranger to Stranger, Paul has made music that does what the very best art can do: it resonates with our experience, re-frames it, and introduces new timbres and ideas.

    Recently, Paul’s curious mind has brought him into the world of contemporary classical music, mining the microtonal sound world of Harry Partch for his last record, and, just last month, collaborating with 10 composers and the ensemble yMusic on a set at the Eaux Claires music festival. On this episode, we hear Paul’s perspective on his career and his most recent projects, as well as exclusive audio from the festival collaboration itself.

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    About the podcast:

    Meet the Composer is a Peabody Award-winning podcast that takes listeners into the minds and creative processes of the composers making some of the most innovative, compelling, and breathtakingly beautiful music today.

    Follow Meet the Composer on Twitter: @MeettheComposerLike Meet the Composer on Facebook: www.facebook.com/meetthecomposer

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    Q2 Music is WQXR, New York's multi-platform home for dynamic modern music. Discover countless new artists via our 24/7 music stream – hand-crafted daily to reward your curiosity – and surprise your imagination with a world of exhilarating new music.

    Produced by Q2 Music. www.q2music.orgFollow Q2 Music on Twitter: @Q2MusicLike Q2 Music on Facebook: www.facebook.com/q2music

    • 52 min
    Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's 'Clouds Forming Over Mount Baker'

    Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's 'Clouds Forming Over Mount Baker'

    We began last week’s episode digging into the music of one particular electronic musician - the synthesist, producer and composer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith.

    Today we’re thrilled to bring you a song that you won’t hear on any of Kaitlyn’s albums. Clouds Forming Over Mount Baker was commissioned by the University of Pennsylvania’s Arthur Ross Gallery to accompany a landscape photograph by Eliot Porter.

    It’s a fitting collaboration, as Smith grew up on Orcas Island, where Mt. Baker is a visible feature. Join us for this rich, synthesized soundscape, bringing sonic life to Porter’s beautiful photograph.  

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    About the podcast:

    Meet the Composer is a Peabody Award-winning podcast that takes listeners into the minds and creative processes of the composers making some of the most innovative, compelling, and breathtakingly beautiful music today.

    Follow Meet the Composer on Twitter: @MeettheComposerLike Meet the Composer on Facebook: www.facebook.com/meetthecomposer

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    Q2 Music is WQXR, New York's multi-platform home for dynamic modern music. Discover countless new artists via our 24/7 music stream – hand-crafted daily to reward your curiosity – and surprise your imagination with a world of exhilarating new music.

    Produced by Q2 Music. www.q2music.orgFollow Q2 Music on Twitter: @Q2MusicLike Q2 Music on Facebook: www.facebook.com/q2music

    • 15 min
    The Producer

    The Producer

    What happens when a composer writes music without pen and paper, using machines? How does that change the creative process? How does it morph the art itself? 

    Today on Meet the Composer, our producer Alex Overington — usually behind the studio glass — takes us on a road trip to unravel the creative process of those composers who write without a score. We meet the synthesists, the samplers, the electronic musicians, and dive deep into the tools they’ve adopted to define their craft. 

    Join us as we uncover what it means to be a composer who sculpts directly with sound, through conversations with such artists as Matmos, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Tyondai Braxton, Laurie Anderson, Morton Subotnick and more.

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    About the podcast:

    Meet the Composer is a Peabody Award-winning podcast that takes listeners into the minds and creative processes of the composers making some of the most innovative, compelling, and breathtakingly beautiful music today.

    Follow Meet the Composer on Twitter: @MeettheComposerLike Meet the Composer on Facebook: www.facebook.com/meetthecomposer

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    Q2 Music is WQXR, New York's multi-platform home for dynamic modern music. Discover countless new artists via our 24/7 music stream – hand-crafted daily to reward your curiosity – and surprise your imagination with a world of exhilarating new music.

    Produced by Q2 Music. www.q2music.orgFollow Q2 Music on Twitter: @Q2MusicLike Q2 Music on Facebook: www.facebook.com/q2music

    • 1 hr
    Bryce Dessner's 'Wires'

    Bryce Dessner's 'Wires'

    For today’s Bonus Track, we’re thrilled to bring you the world-premiere recording of Bryce Dessner’s Wires, performed by Ensemble Intercontemporain!





    Last week, we dug into a particularly contentious moment in classical music’s history. This week, however, we’re looking at where we are NOW, a place of, well… niceness.  

    “I think right now is a really good time to be a composer,” says composer John Adams. “And I tell young composers that. They don't believe me, but they don't know how difficult it was back when I was in my 20s and 30s.”

    We'll hear how David Lang’s group Bang on a Can helped to shape a newfound culture of support and generosity, and how the next generation of composers - including Bryce Dessner - can find creative freedom in this new landscape. Finally, we hear from Bryce what it’s like to write for “the Rolls Royce … of New Music,” with his new piece, Wires, for Ensemble Intercontemporian, led by Matthias Pintscher.  





    ---

    About the podcast:

    Meet the Composer is a Peabody Award-winning podcast that takes listeners into the minds and creative processes of the composers making some of the most innovative, compelling, and breathtakingly beautiful music today.

    Follow Meet the Composer on Twitter: @MeettheComposerLike Meet the Composer on Facebook: www.facebook.com/meetthecomposer

    ---

    Q2 Music is WQXR, New York's multi-platform home for dynamic modern music. Discover countless new artists via our 24/7 music stream – hand-crafted daily to reward your curiosity – and surprise your imagination with a world of exhilarating new music.

    Produced by Q2 Music. www.q2music.orgFollow Q2 Music on Twitter: @Q2MusicLike Q2 Music on Facebook: www.facebook.com/q2music

    • 21 min
    New Music Fight Club

    New Music Fight Club

    It was composer pitted against composer: uptown vs. downtown, tonal vs. atonal, left brain vs right brain, and these musicians were NOT pulling any punches. Composers were antagonizing each other, questioning each other's validity, and bad-mouthing one another; it was like the second half of the 20th century was when Western Music went through middle school, and it was brutal! 

     

    “If you weren't being a constructivist composer, if the music wasn't indeed about its own structure, and its own structure wasn't complicated, then you were a pariah, you were rejected. You didn’t get tenure. You didn’t get a job.” That’s Robert Sirota - Nadia’s Dad - one of many composers who came of age in the midst of this feud and struggled - for years - to find a voice.

     

    On this episode of Meet the Composer, we unravel one of the most contentious periods in classical music’s history. How did this fight begin? How did it play out? Who were the contenders?  We hear from composers on both sides of this battle, and discover how, on all ends of the aesthetic spectrum, we can find value in differences.

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    About the podcast:

    Meet the Composer is a Peabody Award-winning podcast that takes listeners into the minds and creative processes of the composers making some of the most innovative, compelling, and breathtakingly beautiful music today.

    Follow Meet the Composer on Twitter: @MeettheComposerLike Meet the Composer on Facebook: www.facebook.com/meetthecomposer

    ---

    Q2 Music is WQXR, New York's multi-platform home for dynamic modern music. Discover countless new artists via our 24/7 music stream – hand-crafted daily to reward your curiosity – and surprise your imagination with a world of exhilarating new music.

    Produced by Q2 Music. www.q2music.orgFollow Q2 Music on Twitter: @Q2MusicLike Q2 Music on Facebook: www.facebook.com/q2music

    • 44 min
    Henry Threadgill’s Zooid, Live at the Village Vanguard

    Henry Threadgill’s Zooid, Live at the Village Vanguard

    Henry Threadgill’s music and community can’t be separated; there is no boundary: challenge and failure and growth in music are the same as challenge and failure and growth in life. This Meet the Composer bonus track shares an exclusive performance by Henry Threadgill's Zooid ensemble of I Never, recorded live by Q2 Music at the Village Vanguard on Oct. 2, 2016.

    Throughout his career, Threadgill has led countless ensembles with diverse instrumentations and personalities. And in each of them, he finds a way to unearth a type of asymmetry – a blend of unease and transcendence that comes across in his remarkably structured compositions. He unites musicians in the same way as he composes: with affection for the mysterious, embrace of the unexpected, and spontaneity guided by uncompromising intellect. As Threadgill has said, “Improvisation is a way to live your life and solve problems.” Music is one outlet, one way to activate this philosophy, which is something we hear echoed often from his collaborators.

    In this recording, we hear the 2016 Pulitzer Prize laureate leading his longstanding chamber ensemble, Zooid, in a live performance inside the legendary New York City underground jazz venue, the Village Vanguard.

    Performers:

    Henry Threadgill, alto saxLiberty Ellman, tresChristopher Hoffman, celloJosé Davila, tubaElliot Humberto Kavee, drums, percussion

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    About the podcast:

    Meet the Composer is a Peabody Award-winning podcast that takes listeners into the minds and creative processes of the composers making some of the most innovative, compelling, and breathtakingly beautiful music today.

    Follow Meet the Composer on Twitter: @MeettheComposerLike Meet the Composer on Facebook: www.facebook.com/meetthecomposer

    ---

    Q2 Music is WQXR, New York's multi-platform home for dynamic modern music. Discover countless new artists via our 24/7 music stream – hand-crafted daily to reward your curiosity – and surprise your imagination with a world of exhilarating new music.

    Produced by Q2 Music. www.q2music.orgFollow Q2 Music on Twitter: @Q2MusicLike Q2 Music on Facebook: www.facebook.com/q2music

    • 20 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
207 Ratings

207 Ratings

andrew.conkling ,

Captivating, accessible window into composers

I’ve always had a hard time getting into contemporary classical music, so I was thrilled when I saw the Kickstarter for Meet The Composer. I’d previously already heard Nadia Sirota’s performances of some contemporary composers’ works, and really appreciated them. So I was excited to see what she would explore and bring to everyone’s attention.

Excellent discussions, beautiful editing, and long excerpts of music. I’ve bought recordings of the composers featured (as much as I’ve been able so far) and they are excellent—really upending my existing classical collection. 😄 I have appreciated how varied the episodes are: while they all cover the same kind of format, they end up going in a very composer- and music-led direction that really help to illuminate some great musicians and their music.

kikikiks7 ,

Stunningly Beautiful

Will this show ever return?? Listening to this show made my heart swell and my brain explode with every episode. I definitely cried at work listening with my headphones on more than once and had to hide my eyes. For those of us who can’t afford symphony tickets, this is a blessing.

Oripah ,

As good as it gets

This show is required listening for any creator.

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