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The Courage of Composers and the Tyranny of Taste Reflections on New Music

A book by Bálint András Varga
All-new interviews with 33 of the world’s leading composers–from Adams and Crumb to Gubaïdulina and Rihm–give unique insights into the creative process.
 
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Bálint András Varga is perhaps the world’s most respected interviewer of living composers. For The Courage of Composers and the Tyranny of Taste: Reflections on New Music, Varga has confronted thirty-three composers with quotations carefully chosen to elicit their thoughts about an issue that is crucial for any serious creative artist: How can one find courage to deal with the sometimes tyrannical expectations of the outside world?
 
̌Hans Abrahamsen (b. 1952), John Adams (b. 1947), Vykintas Baltakas (b. 1972), George Benjamin (b. 1960), Friedrich Cerha (b. 1926), Unsuk Chin (b. 1961), George Crumb (b. 1929), Chaya Czernowin (b. 1957), Paul-Heinz Dittrich (b. 1930), Pascal Dusapin (b. 1955), Michael Gielen (b. 1927), Sofia Gubaidulina (b. 1931), Georg Friedrich Haas (b. 1953), Giya Kancheli (b. 1935), György Kurtág (b. 1926), Helmut Lachenmann (b. 1935), Olga Neuwirth (b. 1968), Enno Poppe (b. 1969), Wolfgang Rihm (b. 1952), Rebecca Saunders (b. 1967), Jörg Widmann (b. 1973), Paul Griffiths (b. 1947)…
  
Bálint András Varga is the acclaimed author of György Kurtág: Three Interviews and Ligeti Homages; Three Questions for 65 Composers; and From Boulanger to Stockhausen: Interviews and a Memoir (all available from University of Rochester Press).
  
University of Rochester Press
  
The German version: Der Komponisten Mut und die Tyrannei des Geschmacks
Wolke Verlag, 978-3-95593-071-4

A review by N.Prufer about the performance of b(ell tree) by JACK quartet in NY

16 oct. 2011, “Sounds of a New Century” Festival, New York (USA)

Columbia / University’s Miller Theatre, JACK quartet

(…) Another gem that I was able to hear on that beautiful Sunday was Vykintas Baltakas’ b[ell tree]. The virtuosic JACK Quartet did a fantastic job realizing the score. It opens very minimalistically, with some dotted rhythms, and then slowly a beautiful counterpoint develops, which reminded me of Shostakovich’s string quartets. And while it started so sparsely and perhaps timidly, we then heard elegant, confident lines weaving through and around each other, blossoming. Surprisingly, the composer’s muse for this beautiful piece was a Swiss cowbell, as per the program. I would love to hear what this composer has to offer next. (…)

Neil Prufer

I Care If You Listen