My Year-End Picks for 2011…Sort Of

This being the end of the year, and the fact that this is a music-oriented blog where I’ve been keeping up (or trying to keep up with) the artists and relevant releases, I have to confess that I don’t really have the extensive lists that people have been posting on their respective pages. BUT I do like these a lot, and having listened to them all the way through as one should (I listen a few times before I write about them), I can safely say they are worthy of inclusion for any kind of year-end best releases list.

A big reason for the short list is simply because I’m unemployed and don’t have the money to purchase CDs like I used to. There have been a few opportunities to hear some great recordings that I will definitely list on here as my favorites for the year, but it just won’t be a Top 50 or Top 25.

And even though it’s comprised mostly of classical/new music, I’ve decided the addition of Mark Mandeville and This Frontier Needs Heroes (both being indie folk recordings) is not so crazy given that lots of people have hip-hop and rock on their lists with the classical releases. Continue reading

Composers: Dale Trumbore

Dale Trumbore, originally a “Jersey Girl” but living in L.A. now, is yet another composer I know from the world of Twitter that has been making her mark on the world of new music during what seems like a renaissance of sorts. Along with a new album of art-song cycles titled Snow White Turns Sixty she is also about to have the New York premiere of her work for string quartet titled How It Will Go by ACME (The American Contemporary Music Ensemble). Dale even wrote her own article about the piece that was posted on Sequenza21. Having won numerous awards, grants (among them American Composer’s Forum Subito and USC’s Sadye J. Moss Composition Prize), and academic honors, besides composing, Dale has also been a teaching assistant at USC, and currently provides private piano instruction. She managed to find a window of solitude to talk to us. :) Continue reading

Composers: Leah Kardos

Australian-born composer Leah Kardos is in the process of taking her place in the already sizeable club of composer/performers, and is another harbinger of the days now where the worlds of new classical and indie music are barely separated by a blurred-over line. Initially a founder of the band Helzuki, she currently has 2 other indie acts: My Lithium & Me and Spider & I. Along with these activities, she also has been writing film scores and occasionally assists other bands with orchestral, choral or chamber arrangements on their songs. Recently the composer decided to make a self-recorded CD of short compositions threaded together as a thematic statement on her life and relationship with her first love, the piano, and this was what became Feather Hammer. Having had Leah as a great acquaintance on Twitter, I realized that I needed to do an interview with her soon before she hired a publicist. ;) Continue reading