Olivia Giovetti: Ways of Listening

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“No why. Just here.” I first came across the Cage quote shortly before I started meditating, a practice that I’d adopted initially out of the need to give myself some space from my work in the music industry. When I started practicing at MNDFL, a Greenwich Village studio that offers classes based around different branches of mindfulness, an offering of sound-based practice seemed counterintuitive to someone whose livelihood depended on sound.

Another Brooklyn: Reflections on Race, Response, and Reconcilation

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When Jacqueline Woodson, a writer of beautiful and arresting works, agreed to host and curate a National Sawdust+ program – quickly tapping her “dream team” Toshi Reagon and Carl Hancock Rux to join her – I knew we were in for a powerful evening. But I had no idea it would prove so provocative an experience, eliciting reactions from the audience that ranged from deep sadness to tremendous inspiration on that cold December night.

Ellen McSweeney: Getting Our Own House in Order

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Particularly for those of us who deeply care about the fate of the world, being an artist can feel like a retreat, a cop-out, a failure to “really help.” An accomplished musician friend of mine said: “I’ve been spending a lot of time asking myself: why the hell am I doing this?” As musicians, we may ask ourselves that question constantly. We’re often forced to defend—whether to others, or to ourselves—the decision to devote our lives to art.

Christopher Cerrone: Understanding and Empathy Through Poetry

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As far back as I can remember, music has always been my means of navigating the world. But words have always been a second and equal love. In the past month, I’ve turned extensively to words I love after a baffling election.

Remembering Pauline Oliveros.

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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.

Lucy Caplan: Music in Moments of Crisis

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Since the cataclysmic election earlier this month, I have struggled, at times, to find comfort or inspiration in music. With increasing apprehension, I wonder how music can make a difference going forward. We are on the brink of catastrophe. What can artists do with music in this moment, and how do we discern its limits?

Gotye's tribute to Jean-Jacques Perrey

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Walter De Backer, better known as Gotye, pays homage to the late French music maverick Jean-Jacques Perrey, whose music will be featured in the debut performance by Ondioline Orchestra on Nov. 22 at National Sawdust.

So Percussion: Taking aim at guns in America

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Making art in response to unspeakable acts is difficult – at least it has been for us. The first problem that is so easy to stumble over is “what do we say?” But we realized that the first question for an artist could also be: “what do we make?”

Christopher Rountree: What is Los Angeles?

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"it’s somewhere where most of my meetings take place eating a coconut popsicle, walking around a lake, with dozens of people in pedal boats on it, during winter." We asked conductor, composer, and wild Up founder Christopher Rountree to explain the funky new magic of Los Angeles; in response, he waxed poetic.

Shrinking arts coverage – how soon is now?

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We've all seen signs of diminishing arts and culture coverage in New York's two premier daily newspapers, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Now, a Deadline Hollywood article has spelled out some putative specifics.