OwlTail

Cover image of Meet the Composer

Meet the Composer

Peabody Award-winning podcast that takes listeners into the minds of the composers making some of the most innovative and breathtakingly beautiful music today.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

Popular episodes

All episodes

The best episodes ranked using user listens.

Podcast cover

Nico Muhly: Community Theater

First, a disclaimer. I wanna make something clear right off the bat here: I'm completely in the tank for Nico Muhly. We went to college together and he has been one of my best friends and most frequent collaborators ever since. But! He is deeply gifted creator, and honestly I'd feel insane not featuring him just because we're close. Okay. Nico is a composer with a very specific point of view – a rabid communicator whose personality factors massively in his work. Nico works extremely well with others; his collaborators live and create in an environment that is just foreign enough to instigate surprising, brilliant results. He curates community on a grand scale, corresponding with dozens of people a day, and is the hardest working person I have ever met. Nico lives his life out loud, and his music is stunning, hilarious, touching, and brilliant.

1hr 2mins

11 Dec 2015

Rank #1

Podcast cover

Caroline Shaw Lives Life Beautifully

Caroline Shaw began her love affair with music at the age of two, when her mom started teaching her violin. Throughout her childhood, Caroline had a lesson every Wednesday afternoon, and sang and played in school and at music camps, falling for chamber music by Mozart and Clara Schumann. Caroline always made things; when she was bowled over by a Brahms sonata, she'd try and figure out how to construct her own sonatas. As a young adult, she continued on a rigorous, violin-centric path, earning both undergrad and masters degrees in violin performance from Rice University and the the Yale School of Music.

58mins

30 Sep 2014

Rank #2

Similar Podcasts

Podcast cover

Splitting Adams: John Adams' Chamber Symphonies

What happens when the composer shows up to the first rehearsal of his brand-new piece? Would a living Beethoven sue for intellectual property? Are you the hit, or are you in the hole? For this episode, we collaborated with the 20-member chamber ensemble Alarm Will Sound and its conductor Alan Pierson – with whom we're partnering on the upcoming podcast album Splitting Adams (out April 21 on Cantaloupe Music) –  to take a close look at the music of John Adams, specifically his two insanely difficult chamber symphonies. This episode offers unprecedented access to not only to the creative process, but the weird, woolly procedure of putting these massive pieces together. --- 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

36mins

20 Mar 2017

Rank #3

Podcast cover

Anna Thorvaldsdottir: Composing Is Second Nature

Anna Thorvaldsdottir is an Icelandic composer whose work conjures entire environments of sound, surrounding the listener in a dark and forbidding landscape. Anna thinks sonically; her music comes from a deeply non-verbal place, and she has developed a brilliant workflow which allows these ideas to remain mostly whole and unmolested through her creative process. Anna often favors massive ensembles, writing delicate and detailed parts for every player, but even when she is writing for smaller forces, she somehow summons these massive sonorities — detailed, elegant tapestries with a seductive gravity, which pull the listener in with their gradually revolving color and texture.

55mins

9 Nov 2015

Rank #4

Most Popular Podcasts

Podcast cover

Kaija Saariaho: Ears Open

Kaija Saariaho's music evokes all sorts of natural sounds, the kinds of complex, white noise-y sounds that we often tune out. She's able to take the instruments of the orchestra and pull out of them the sound of wind rustling through trees, or waves hitting the shore. She's got this ear that can hear the music in everything, but in not in a John Cage way — she's not putting all sounds on an equal playing field. Instead, she teases harmonies out of these sounds, finding notes that were aaaalmost there to begin with. Kaija is famous for writing moving, visceral works full of difficult new instrumental techniques. She often writes for acoustic instruments with almost subliminal electronic manipulation — it's hard to tell where the performer leaves off and the electronics begin, and she's written full scale operas, often with strong, historically-inspired female protagonists, grappling with huge themes, love and death, that kind of thing. - Nadia Sirota

1hr 3mins

30 Jul 2015

Rank #5

Podcast cover

Meredith Monk: Creation as Spiritual Practice

Living legend Meredith Monk is a composer, vocalist, dancer, choreographer and filmmaker. While all of these descriptors are technically on point, none quite gets to the bones of who she is as an artist. Meredith seamlessly blends these media into arresting performance pieces that feel like rituals – rites from another dimension.  Take a tour with Meredith of her longtime Tribeca home-studio: http://bit.ly/1f0Urxo

1hr 7mins

30 Jun 2015

Rank #6

Podcast cover

Andrew Norman: Better Living Through Architecture

Andrew Norman was a well-feted kid composer, a precocious pre-adolescent who wrote works with grand, filmic gestures for his middle school orchestra and had the local newspapers filling their style sections with profiles invoking Mozart. Then he went to college. All of a sudden, Norman's musical world exponentially widened; he was exposed to styles and practices so far outside of his previous experience that he stopped composing altogether. How could he write what he had been writing in a world rich with Lachenmanns, Xenakises and Carters, who were manipulating, torquing and stifling sound to create a whole different world of music? Norman almost left music entirely for architecture, but in flirting with this other career, he actually found his way back to composition, ultimately birthing a style that stunningly weds texture and drama in a unique and wonderful way. --- 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

56mins

29 Jul 2014

Rank #7

Podcast cover

Henry Threadgill: Dirt, and More Dirt

1967, Fort Riley, Kansas. Henry Threadgill is 23 years old. Knowing he’s going to be drafted into the military, he joins the Army Concert Band, hoping to focus on his passion: writing music. As he surrounds himself with new ideas, he works his influences into the music that he's arranging. Then one day, the band plays one of his arrangements of a patriotic song for an inauguration of big-wigs, and from the calm of a quietly confused crowd comes a cry from a cardinal in attendance: “Blasphemy!” One day later, he’s told to gather his things. Thirty days later, he’s on his way to Vietnam. Fifty years later, he wins the Pulitzer Prize for music composition. This is only the beginning of the story of how the energy, hunger and curiosity of Henry Threadgill have influenced and changed the people around him. In spite of the failure and rejection he’s faced, Threadgill is perpetually driven toward new ideas, new challenges and new opportunities to pursue and grow stronger in his improvisational creative vision. His music is the product of the community he builds in the moment. This is the story of Henry Threadgill, told by the people whose lives he has touched. --- 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

41mins

1 May 2017

Rank #8

Podcast cover

Download: Anna Thorvaldsdottir's 'Scape' Performed by Pianist Cory Smythe

This week’s Meet the Composer Bonus Track is a world premiere recording of Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s piano work Scape. Scape, like many of Anna’s works, uses extended techniques to create unique, otherworldly textures. For this piece, Anna demands quite a bit of playing INSIDE the instrument, as well as a few somewhat unconventional preparations to the instrument itself. Prepared piano basically means a piano with stuff in it, screws, thimbles, tin foil, pieces of paper, the type of thing that’ll make a piano technician start to sweat. The first couple people to do this type of thing were crazy Americans, Henry Cowell and John Cage. Definitely take a moment to check those guys out, if you have a sec. Anna, very much in keeping with her timbral language, uses these techniques to carve out massive swaths of sonic texture, creating a huge universe in a relatively limited time frame. A couple weeks ago, Cory Smythe, pianist for the International Contemporary Ensemble, stopped by the Q2 Music studios to create the beautiful world premiere recording. 

11mins

24 Nov 2015

Rank #9

Podcast cover

From the Vaults, Part Five: Meet the Composer With Leonard Bernstein

We conclude the week-long ramp-up to our next and third season with an interview with the legendary, charismatic Leonard Bernstein. Though mostly known for his work as a composer (West Side Story) and conductor (New York Philharmonic), Leonard Bernstein was also a consummate evangelist for classical music. This conversation focuses on Bernstein's efforts as a music educator and the role that education played for host Tim Page in his music criticism. --- 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

13mins

3 Mar 2017

Rank #10

Podcast cover

The Performer: Part Two, Pauline

We continue our investigation of the odd, wrong-side-of-the-tv-set role of The Performer with a deep dive into the "Sonic Meditations" of pioneering American composer Pauline Oliveros. Pauline manages to smudge at the distinction between composer, performer and audience with these simple, text-based pieces, which somehow pack an emotional wallop far larger than their few lines might suggest.  --- 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

33mins

14 Mar 2017

Rank #11

Podcast cover

Bonus Track: JACK Quartet Performs Georg Friedrich Haas' String Quartet No. 9

We are thrilled to bring you a WORLD PREMIERE recording as our first bonus track of Season Three! Our previous episode, The Performer: Part One, featured, among other things, a fascinating conversation with the Austrian composer Georg Friedrich Haas. As we are a talk show about music, we are always dying to simply play some MUSIC, and so today we bring you our exclusive, world premiere recording of Haas’ 9th String Quartet. The whole thing! Featuring the fantastic JACK Quartet. The JACK Quartet has spent years performing and championing an older piece of Haas’, his 3rd String Quartet. They played it so well, in fact, Haas decided to write his ninth quartet specifically for the JACKs, taking full advantage of their superpower: just intonation. So we figured, what could be better than having the JACKs over to Q2 Music to bring this piece to life? Like his 3rd String Quartet, this piece comes with an unusual stipulation: it is to be performed in complete, india-ink, can’t-see-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face darkness. So turn out the lights and join Meet the Composer and the JACKs for the first-ever recording of this spectacular piece of oddly-tuned awesome. --- 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

51mins

7 Mar 2017

Rank #12

Podcast cover

Bonus Track: Pauline Oliveros' 'Tuning Meditation'

Today's Bonus Track is an extended cut of Pauline Oliveros' "Tuning Meditation," recorded live at the Fuentidueña Chapel at the Met Cloisters on Jan. 20, 2017. Recorded in 3D-sounding binaural audio, it's an immersive experience in which we would love you to think about participating while listening. For optimal audio quality, please listen with headphones! --- 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

24mins

16 Mar 2017

Rank #13

Podcast cover

Donnacha Dennehy: Composing With Frequency

Donnacha Dennehy is an Irish composer who thought he was going to study with spectral icon Gérard Grisey in Paris. When he showed up, however, it was apparent that Grisey had accepted him into his study under the mistaken notion that he was not, in fact, a gentleman but a lady. A bit put off by Grisey's visible disappointment with his gender, as well as the strikingly uninteresting uniformity in the style of his students work, Donnacha headed to Amsterdam, where he met Louis Andriessen, who changed his life. Donnacha's music fuses the old (sean-nós and other Irish styles) and the new (just intonation, pulse-based textures) to create something all his own. It's a music that is at once satisfying and supremely strange. --- 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

52mins

26 Aug 2014

Rank #14

Podcast cover

Ingram Marshall: A Connecticut Hippie In California

Ingram Marshall is often called a California Minimalist, a title which, while not exactly geographically accurate, allies him with a loose cadre of artists writing ambient, visceral scores. It's a title he'll happily wear, but it only vaguely describes they art he makes. Ingram is kind of a throwback - a free-thinker making music on his own, music that accesses a deep, emotional place. His music leaves the listener gutted, keyed into something beyond consciousness. It's ambience with a purpose, slowly inevitably unfolding towards a climax. --- 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

1hr 7mins

5 Oct 2015

Rank #15