Entries by Steve Smith

Best of 2016: Noteworthy Recordings

Trying to tally the year’s “best” recordings is a thankless task, not least because there’s no realistic chance anyone has heard everything.… every listener’s taste is individual, and focus can be contingent upon situation. All of which said, the following lists comprise the new recordings and archival projects that impressed and moved me most in 2016, with an appendix of still more albums that brightened this year.

Best of 2016: 10 Memorable Musical Events

For anyone expecting a painstakingly winnowed-down, tightly focused tabulation of the most significant events to take place in the musical world circa 2016: I apologize, but you’ll have to look elsewhere. Even so, it’s not at all difficult to name 10 meaningful and affecting musical performances I witnessed this year.

Best of 2016: In Praise of National Sawdust

For all the manifold benefits that come with being a music journalist and critic embedded at a performing-arts incubator and presenter – and they are substantial – one meaningful constraint is that it feels inappropriate now to include my employer’s projects and products among my year-end best-of listings. What follows is a concise tally of NS-related events and releases that under other circumstances absolutely would have figured into my own personal summaries of the year’s most vital art.

Remembering Pauline Oliveros.

I was struck, on learning late last week via social media that the composer, improviser, and teacher Pauline Oliveros had passed away on Thanksgiving morning, by how many of her friends, colleagues, and admirers posted something to the effect of “I thought she’d always be here.” And it was true: Pauline had meant so much to so many of us for so long, for a wide variety of different reasons, that it seemed her presence might continue indefinitely.