A blog of the Portsmouth Music and Arts Center

Putting the spotlight on today's composers.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Listening Session: Girls FM

I swear I'll write more about the AMAZING Chris Weisman soon. Busy times at PMAC - sorry for being so quiet here! For the weekend, enjoy the super-catchy Girls FM by Chris' latest band project, Happy Birthday.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Listening Session: Natural Symbol

I've been on vacation this week - thus the lack of postings to kick off Chris Weisman's tenure as LCOTM. I'll be better next week! But don't think I'd let you enter the weekend with out some listening. Chris is one of my favorite songwriters, and I didn't know this one until I discovered it on YouTube. Enjoy!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Chris Weisman

Today we welcome August's Living Composer of The  Month: Chris Weisman. Chris was a member of the PMAC faculty for several years before moving to Brattleboro, Vermont two years ago to pursue his compositions and a recording and performance career. Since that time he has released several new CDs of original music and his band, Happy Birthday, signed with SubPop Records and released a CD that has received some critical acclaim. Happy Birthday is now on tour, without Chris (read article linked below to learn why Chris chose not to tour with the band), and Chris just spent two weeks at PMAC leading our Summer Rock Workshop for Teens.

Chris is a prolific songwriter. Many of his songs can be sampled and purchased for download at his website, www.chrisweisman.com. Be sure to check out his site!

To get us started, here is a recent article about Chris from Seven Days.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Thank you, David Smooke

We would like to extend a big THANK YOU to composer David Smooke for being our LCOTM for July! We hope everyone has enjoyed learning about his music this month!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Listening Session: blades

For our final Friday Listening Session of July, enjoy David Smooke's blades for singing, whistling cellist. It is particularly exciting to see composers working with performers who think outside the box. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Generation DIY

Last week Amanda Palmer released her new album, Amanda Palmer Performs the Popular Hits of Radiohead on Her Magical Ukelele, on BandCamp.com. In 3 minutes she sold over $15,000 of recordings and merchandise. See the Paste Magazine article here.

We are now firmly in a new era. I think the new generation should be called Gen DIY (do it yourself). The internet has made it possible to be your own label, your own distributor, and to finally have EASY access to the world. You can develop a fan base from virtually ANYWHERE (with "virtually" being the key word).

While you do need to be creative in figuring out how to now compete with EVERYONE ON THE PLANET, your destiny is in your own hands and anything is possible.

This relates strongly to my recent post about self-publication. David Smooke and Jennifer Higdon are both excellent examples of self-production and self-promotion in today's world of classical music.

For most, this is the only way to maintain control over one's art. Commercialism has killed the pop music industry for music lovers. Mainstream music has become more about consumption than art. Independent artists fight the mainstream model, and now some, like Palmer, are beginning to win.

That is great news.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Listening Session: 21 Miles to Coolville

Better late (in the evening) than never. It has been an intense week at PMAC, with a lot of art and quite a lot of new music being composed by students in our Summer Rock Workshop. It's been incredibly rewarding, but we are all ready for the weekend.

This Friday we showcase David Smooke's 21 Miles to Coolville for bassoon quartet performed by Dark In The Song. Check out the score here. The recording is beautiful and the accompanying video documents the journey from Athens, Ohio (where David was teaching at Ohio University when he wrote the piece) to Coolville - 21 miles away. Enjoy!