A Cultural Conversation With Pierre Boulez

From WSJ.com:

Among musicians and concert-goers there are many who accuse Mr. Boulez of foisting the musical equivalent of gray concrete towers on them by composing and promoting pieces that are unlovable, incomprehensible and, in the words of one recent author, “willfully ugly.” A founding member of the Darmstadt School, a group of composers who came of age in the years after World War II, Mr. Boulez helped set the agenda of modernist music, rejecting tonality and classical forms in favor of new styles that employ exquisitely intricate systems of organizing notes and yet sound, to the uninitiated, bewildering.

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Close Friends, Jazz Up-and-Comers

The Wall Street Journal, of all places, features four of the new generation of avant-jazz.

Cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum, guitarist Mary Halvorson, violist Jessica Pavone and drummer Tomas Fujiwara are among the most exciting new jazz musicians to emerge on the New York scene, and it is hard to talk about any one of these players without mentioning the others.

Mr. Bynum’s sextet features all the musicians. Messrs. Bynum and Fujiwara also work in trio format with Ms. Halvorson. Ms. Pavone plays in one of Mr. Bynum’s other bands, Spider Monkey Strings. Messrs. Bynum and Fujiwara have played together in duet formats for more than a decade, and Ms. Pavone and Ms. Halvorson have played together for seven years. And all four play together in a quartet called 13th Assembly. Mr. Fujiwara summed up the situation best: “It’s a challenge; we push each other to new places, but do so with great respect,” he said.

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