Kathryn Spellman Poots: Iran, Integration, and Nowruz

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"When you look at the Muslim populations in different Western countries, every Muslim community in every Western country has a different experience, based on the way that religion is situated within that country’s frame," Dr. Kathryn Spellman Poots observed during a recent interview. Rather than examining those differences closely, she says, Islam too often is characterized as a singular source of fundamentalist oppression and sectarian violence, a view that results in prejudice and irrational fear, as well as heavy-handed attempts at erecting barriers to no one's benefit.

Sarah Kirkland Snider and Nathaniel Bellows: Memories of Unremembered

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An hourlong cycle of 13 songs for three vocalists, chamber orchestra, and electronics, 'Unremembered' is the most extensive project to date from the composer Sarah Kirkland Snider, who collaborated with an old friend and renewed acquaintance, Nathaniel Bellows, a noted poet, novelist, singer-songwriter, and illustrator. Now touring the piece, Snider and Bellows sat down recently to trawl through memories of 'Unremembered.'

Caroline Polachek and Choral Chameleon: Giving Useful Music a Voice

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Up until now, the versatile singer, songwriter, and producer Caroline Polachek has been best known for her work as the singer for the popular, adventurous pop duo Chairlift. Now, as part of Polachek's National Sawdust residency, her recent electronic project comes to life onstage February 23 and 24, with new vocals supplied by the adventurous vocal chamber ensemble Choral Chameleon.

Kinan Azmeh: Exiled by Travel Ban, Maintaining Optimism in Adversity

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In the hours and days after President Donald J. Trump announced an executive order barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States, including those with valid visas and residency permits, numerous stories circulated about soldiers, translators, teachers, scientists, and others who'd performed exceptional service on behalf of the U.S., yet suddenly couldn't come back home. One such narrative that gained especially wide circulation, through an Associated Press article published on January 29, was that of Kinan Azmeh, a 40-year-old clarinetist and composer born in Damascus, Syria.

Alan Gilbert: On Contemporary Music and Future Plans

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Halfway through his final season, New York Philharmonic music director Alan Gilbert talks at length about his association with new music, and offers glimpses of what his future might hold.

David Smooke: Narrative Possibilities and Exploding Boundaries

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One of my favorite things about composer David Smooke is how wide open his ears are. No matter how bizarre the music, he will want to check it out. His own music demonstrates this sort of receptivity in its colorful variety, dramatic textures and quirky spirit. The works on his debut portrait album, Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, range from brooding and creepy to funky and joyous, wrapped up a combination of thoughtful composition and spontaneous improvisations.

Conversation: Missy Mazzoli Meets Prototype

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I feel like the artists that we have showcased, the voices are really singular. I think of trends as being “lets get on the bandwagon and do it this way,” and I just don’t think we’re attracted to artists like that. The trend, maybe, is that rules aren’t really required anymore.

Wadada Leo Smith and Vijay Iyer: In Search of Cosmic Rhythm

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A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke, released on ECM in March 2016, is the rare improvisational piece with a title that clues the listener into its inner workings. In this series of journeying duets, pianist Vijay Iyer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith seek out and magnify aspects of cosmic rhythm, one phrase (and, often, one patient single note) at a time.

Attacca Quartet and Caroline Shaw: Getting to Know You

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The Attacca Quartet, soon to launch its new "Recently Added" concert series with a program devoted to music by Caroline Shaw, chats with Shaw about her development and process.

Tim Berne: Playing with David Torn, Working with ECM

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Seasoned saxophonist, composer and bandleader Tim Berne talked about his long creative partnership with guitarist David Torn and his burgeoning relationship with ECM Records, under whose banner Sun of Goldfinger (featuring Berne and Torn) plays National Sawdust Dec. 3.