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Women of Influence in Contemporary Music: Nine American Composers
     

Women of Influence in Contemporary Music: Nine American Composers

by Michael K. Slayton
 

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In Women of Influence in Contemporary Music: Nine American Composers, Michael K. Slayton has collected essays, which focus on women who have made significant contributions to American music: Elizabeth Austin, Susan Botti, Gabriela Lena Frank, Jennifer Higdon, Libby Larsen, Tania León, Cindy McTee, Marga Richter, and Judith Shatin. While these composers

Overview

In Women of Influence in Contemporary Music: Nine American Composers, Michael K. Slayton has collected essays, which focus on women who have made significant contributions to American music: Elizabeth Austin, Susan Botti, Gabriela Lena Frank, Jennifer Higdon, Libby Larsen, Tania León, Cindy McTee, Marga Richter, and Judith Shatin. While these composers have much in common, not least of all dedication to their art, their individual stories reveal different impulses in American music. Their works reflect the shifting societal landscapes in the United States over the last seven decades, as well as different stylistic approaches to writing music.

Each chapter includes a biography of the composer, an interview, and a detailed analysis of one major composition. The composers openly reflect on their individual journeys, in which they have discovered respective musical languages and have found success during different times in history. Because few music books focus solely on female composers, Women of Influence in Contemporary Music offers a rare glimpse into the styles and attitudes of gifted women and their work.

Editorial Reviews

CHOICE
Slayton (Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt Univ.) has assembled extensive and exciting materials on nine significant American composers. For each—Elizabeth Austin, Susan Botti, Gabriela Lena Frank, Jennifer Higdon, Libby Larsen, Tania León, Cindy McTee, Marga Richter, and Judith Shatin—he provides an essay (he contributes two of the nine), a transcribed interview, analysis of a work, a "coda," notes, a list of works, and a discography. Those interested in researching any of these women will find that the materials gathered offer a good first step in a larger research construct. The "conversations" (i.e., interviews) shed light on biographical and aesthetic issues specific to the composer and simultaneously demonstrate her sense of humor. For example, speaking about her earliest musical experiences, McTee says, "In high school I played piano for the choir, and even when we sang Brahms, I continued to improvise—much to the director's displeasure. I was presumptuous enough to think I knew better than Brahms! Now, of course, I hope those who play my music will have greater respect for what's on the page than I did." Karin Pendle's foreword—"Who Are These Women?"—is one of the best features of the volume. Summing Up: Recommended
Notes
The valuable in-depth analyses of major works will perhaps best serve students and academics.... In addition to fulfilling the editor Michael K. Slayton's hope that the book function as a much-needed, alternative, and complementary treatment of the topic, it will undoubtedly act as catalyst for further reading and research.
Choice
Slayton (Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt Univ.) has assembled extensive and exciting materials on nine significant American composers. For each—Elizabeth Austin, Susan Botti, Gabriela Lena Frank, Jennifer Higdon, Libby Larsen, Tania León, Cindy McTee, Marga Richter, and Judith Shatin—he provides an essay (he contributes two of the nine), a transcribed interview, analysis of a work, a "coda," notes, a list of works, and a discography. Those interested in researching any of these women will find that the materials gathered offer a good first step in a larger research construct. The "conversations" (i.e., interviews) shed light on biographical and aesthetic issues specific to the composer and simultaneously demonstrate her sense of humor. For example, speaking about her earliest musical experiences, McTee says, "In high school I played piano for the choir, and even when we sang Brahms, I continued to improvise—much to the director's displeasure. I was presumptuous enough to think I knew better than Brahms! Now, of course, I hope those who play my music will have greater respect for what's on the page than I did." Karin Pendle's foreword—"Who Are These Women?"—is one of the best features of the volume. Summing Up: Recommended
Notes: Quarterly Journal of Music Library Association
The valuable in-depth analyses of major works will perhaps best serve students and academics.... In addition to fulfilling the editor Michael K. Slayton's hope that the book function as a much-needed, alternative, and complementary treatment of the topic, it will undoubtedly act as catalyst for further reading and research.
Notes: The Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association
The valuable in-depth analyses of major works will perhaps best serve students and academics.... In addition to fulfilling the editor Michael K. Slayton's hope that the book function as a much-needed, alternative, and complementary treatment of the topic, it will undoubtedly act as catalyst for further reading and research.
Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association
The valuable in-depth analyses of major works will perhaps best serve students and academics.... In addition to fulfilling the editor Michael K. Slayton's hope that the book function as a much-needed, alternative, and complementary treatment of the topic, it will undoubtedly act as catalyst for further reading and research.
Fontes Artis Musicae
The idea to explore the careers of nine American women who have achieved notable success as composers was an outgrowth of Michael K. Slayton’s discussions with a composer who became a friend in the course of his studying her music. Slayton is associate professor and chair of the Department of Music Composition and Theory at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music. He contributed two of the chapters, in addition to serving as instigator and editor. The matching of authors with composer subjects was a collaborative process, the success of which is reflected in candor that speaks of rapport and trust. The use of an identical formula for each chapter paradoxically works in favor of bringing out the individuality of each composer. In her foreword, Karin Pendle poses the deceptively simple question 'Who are these women?' and, chapter after chapter, carefully chosen details of each woman’s unique personal and professional lives provide a definitive answer.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810877429
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
12/23/2010
Pages:
494
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Michael K. Slayton is associate professor and chair of the Department of Music Composition and Theory at Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music.

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