Introduction to

Hi, there. You’re looking awfully nice today. Is that a new haircut?

If you’ve found your way to this page, you may be new to our shows. We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite episodes of past and current series to get you started. If you hear something you like, we’d love to hear from you. Be sure to subscribe in your favorite podcast app.

Our flagship show SoundNotion features discussions among composers and interviews about contemporary concert music. Past interviews have featured Pulitzer-winners Jennifer Higdon and Aaron Jay Kernis, New Yorker critic Alex Ross, and members of Kronos Quartet, eighth blackbird, and Sō Percussion.

  • 231: Magnetized by Music – We talked to Kronos Quartet founder David Harrington about Fifty for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire, commissioning 50 new works showcasing approaches to the quartet and designed expressly for the training of students and emerging professionals.
  • 227: Talk It Into Being – Violinist, writer, singer, performer, and songwriter Ellen McSweeney joined the panel to discuss her new project, Artist’s Huddle.
  • 226: Baller Tradition – Nadia Sirota joined the panel. We discussed her upcoming residency at Symphony Space, hosting Meet the Composer at WQXR, and baller traditions in the days of amplified viola. Nadia’s podcast won a Peabody Award just a few months after we spoke.
  • 220: Invite Them to Listen – Flutist Nathalie Joachim joined us to talk about joining eighth blackbird, open rehearsals at MCA Chicago, collaborations with Flutronix, Sleeping Giant, and more.
  • 217: Three-Cable Rule – Composer, fiddler, and hacker Dan Trueman joined us to talk about his new project for prepared digital piano (you heard that right). Nostalgic Synchronic is a set of etudes for the instrument available now on New Amsterdam Records.

Patch In is a monthly conversation with composers and performers of electronic music. Digital, analog, fixed media, interactive compositions, visualtions, sculptural interfaces, they’ve got it all. Past guests include Curtis Roads, Max/MSP creator Miller Puckette, sythesis pioneer Morton Subotnick, and more.

  • 28: Great Little Book Club – Anthony Marasco on hardware hacking, microcontrollers, blowing students’ minds, and the possibility of a Patch In book club. Plus news and information.
  • 26: Metaphor of a Journey – Ben and Nate talked with Curtis Roads about his music, granular synthesis, Ferraris, and his new book Composing Electronic Music: A New Aesthetic.
  • 20: Creating a Non-Instrument – Morton Subotnick joined us to discuss technology, the past/present/future of music, the legendary Buchla 100, and of course, Silver Apples of the Moon.
  • 15: The Rules Break Themselves – We were joined by David Cope, creator of EMI and Emily Howell, the two composing AIs that he created. He discussed style, the nature of musical creativity, and breaking the rules.
  • 10: The Notorious M.S.P. – Ben and Nate talked to Miller S. Puckette, creator of Max/MSP and Pure Data, about the languages he created, his book, teaching, the Raspberry Pi, and his amazing guitar synth.

On Streamers and Punches, composers Bill Withem and Kevin Wilt get together to talk about the latest in film music. They review new releases, analyze scores from film and television, share their own experiences in the field, and interview people at all levels of the industry. Also, they make jokes. Sometimes even good ones. [Archived show]

  • 68: Pompous ChordDownton Abbey composer John Lunn joined the panel to talk about creating a musical language that separates characters from one another.
  • 64: Don’t Miss Deadlines – In this episode we discussed recent comments from Zimmer and Horner and interview Arrow and The Flash composer Blake Neely about contributing to comic book franchises with such rich musical traditions.
  • 59: Hello, Newmann – We interview Bones composer Julia Newmann about writing for such a long-running series on a relatively small budget. Plus, we go in-depth about Michael Giacchino’s score to Dawn of Planet of the Apes, talk about what else we’ve been listening to lately, and look at which composers are being honored in Europe.
  • 56: House of Beal – Jeff Beal joins the panel to discuss his music for the hit Netflix series House of Cards. He tells us about how it might be different to create music for the binge experience, and how the musical vocabulary of the show evolved from season 1 to season 2.
  • 49: Breaking Bear – In this episode we interviewed composer Bear McCreary on getting his first big gig on SyFy’s Battlestar Galactica, and how busy his schedule has gotten with Eureka, Defiance, DaVinci’s Demons (Emmy-winner), The Walking Dead, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..

Saxophonist Tim Rosenberg and composer David MacDonald chat about how hard it is to make this music stuff happen. Each show focuses on a single topic. It is what it says on the tin: Music is Hard[Archived show]

  • 49: Ideas – Often, the most difficult part of making music is finding an idea. Where do ideas come from? How are they conveyed in music? What kinds of ideas to performers have to come up with? How and when do we go back and evaluate our ideas?
  • 48: Repeat Performances – All too often, composers spend months (years?) writing a new work, performers spend months (years?) preparing them, all for only one performance? Why do we have this problem? What can we do to help new works receive subsequent performances?
  • 43: Movement – What happens when musicians become “dancers”? Do players bouncing and swaying around look like idiots, or do their motions contribute something to the performance? Is there a point at which a performers movements can actually detract from an otherwise strong performance?
  • 38: Scale – Tim provides anecdotal evidence of composers writing an increasing number of short works. Is this a trend that should concern us? What is the importance of scale to our perception of new works?
  • 18: Taste – What’s the difference between good things and crappy things? How do we develop our senses of personal taste in art and music? Can we convince other people to value the same things in art that we do? Should we?