The Other Minds Podcast features interviews with some of today’s leading composers and performers of new and experimental music. Produced by Other Minds and hosted by members of the Other Minds staff, each episode delves into the creative process of musicians from around the world to provide a context for some of the most innovative music being created today. Special episodes cover specific topics of interest in contemporary music and artistic projects.
Episode 18: Morton Subotnick, On the Right Track
Morton Subotnick is an American composer of electronic music, best known for his 1967 composition Silver Apples of the Moon, the first electronic work commissioned by a record company, Nonesuch. He has worked extensively with interactive electronics and multi-media, co-founding the San Francisco Tape Music Center with Ramón Sender, and is an innovator in works involving instruments and other media, including interactive computer music systems. On the podcast, we talk about his youth growing up in Los Angeles, his co-founding of the San Francisco Tape Music Center, shifting from the clarinet to the electronic music studio to live electronic performance, and his upcoming performance of As I Live & Breathe at Other Minds 27 with video artist Lillevan.
Episode 17: Eivind Buene, Telescopic Listening
Eivind Buene is a Norwegian composer living and working in Oslo, where he is professor of composition at the Norwegian Academy of Music. Apart from writing music for soloists, ensembles, and orchestras, Buene also frequently engages in collaborations with improvising musicians, developing music in the cross-section between classical notation and improvisation. In addition to music, Buene writes critiques, essays, and novels, and is exploring hybrid forms between music and text in large-scale orchestral works. In the interview, we talk about his relationship with the music of the past and his idea of a telescopic mode of listening, hybrid forms in which text and music are equally important, and his new piece Chorales, which will be premiered at Other Minds Festival 27.
Photo by Lars Skaaning.
Episode 16: Mary Kouyoumdjian, Music as Documentary
Mary Kouyoumdjian. Mary is a composer and documentarian with projects ranging from concert works to multimedia collaborations and film scores. Her music covers thematic material that often relates to her family’s experiences during the Lebanese Civil War and the Armenian Genocide, exploring themes of displacement and exile through the use of documentary materials. Topics include working with documentary materials, composing from a diaspora perspective, and Kouyoumdjian’s monumental work They Will Take My Island, a string octet about Armenian-American abstract expressionist painter Arshile Gorky with video by Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan.
Photo by Alik Barsoumian.
Episode 15: Artur Avanesov, International References and Microtonal Chorales
Born in 1980 in Moscow and educated at the Yerevan State Conservatory in the capital of Armenia, Artur Avanesov is among the leading Armenian composers of his generation. He is also an accomplished pianist and musicologist, having published multiple research papers and held seminars on Armenian music internationally. On the podcast, we discuss the many international references in his work, his piece Tezeta and its connection to Ethiopian popular music, and microtonality in his piano quintet Quasi harena maris.
Photo by Mane Hovhannisyan.
Episode 14: Carl Stone, Unlimited Free Samples
Carl Stone is one of the pioneers of live computer music, having used computers in live performance since 1986. Hailed by the Village Voice as “the king of sampling,” today he divides his time between Japan and Los Angeles between his busy international touring schedule. In the interview, we talk about the genesis of his sampling practice dating back to his time preserving LPs on cassette as a student at CalArts, issues of cultural meaning in sampling, and live computer music performance.
Photo by Akira Saito.
Episode 13: Bora Yoon and Joshue Ott, Multimedia and Kinetic Sculpture
Bora Yoon is a Korean-American composer, vocalist, and sound artist who conjures audiovisual soundscapes using digital devices, voice, and instruments from a variety of cultures and historical centuries to formulate a storytelling through music, movement, and sound. Joshue Ott is a visualist and software designer who creates cinematic visual improvisations that are performed live and projected in large scale. On the podcast, we talk about their history of multimedia collaborations, their recent project at the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, and their upcoming performance at Other Minds Festival 27. We also discuss Bora’s newly commissioned work for Ensemble Decipher, featuring a large kinetic sculpture designed to imitate the string game cat’s cradle.
Photo by Allison Spann.
Episode 12: Linda Bouchard, New Notations
Linda Bouchard has been active for over 40 years as a composer, orchestrator, conductor, mentor, and researcher. Since 2001, she has been increasingly interested in how traditional artistic practices are influenced by the integration of new technologies, reflected in her development of the Ocular Score, “a visual musical score drawn using data generated from the analysis of complex sounds.” In the interview we talk about her Live Structures Project, designing new forms of musical notation, and her upcoming performance with Ensemble TriOcular + at the Other Minds Festival.
Photo by Faryn Borella.
Episode 11: A Neil Rolnick Sampler
A pioneer in the use of computers in performance since the late 1970s, Neil Rolnick’s music has been performed around the world and appears on 22 commercial recordings. Born in Dallas in 1947, he earned a bachelor’s degree in literature from Harvard and a PhD in music composition in 1980 from UC Berkeley. He went on to develop the first integrated electronic arts graduate and undergraduate programs in the US, at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and, and has lived in New York City since 2002. On the podcast, we talk about his use of sampling from the 1970s to today, his involvement in the first-ever live computer-music performance at IRCAM in 1978, and his recent release of music for piano and electronics on Other Minds Records, Lockdown Fantasies.
Photo by Chloe Bland.
Episode 10: Ghost Ensemble, with Ben Richter and Sky Macklay
Ghost Ensemble fosters groundbreaking music that blurs borders of genre, style, and scene, expanding perceptual horizons through shared immersive experience. Their May 18th performance at St John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in San Francisco, California presents new works by composers Sky Macklay, Ben Richter, and Catherine Lamb. In this interview, Joseph Bohigian talks with Macklay and Richter, who are both members of the ensemble, about their works, Ghost Ensemble’s evolution since its founding in 2012, and the influence of Pauline Oliveros and Deep Listening. We also hear from Lamb about her new work for Ghost Ensemble, interius/exterius.
Photo by Sarah Krasnow.
Bonus: Charles Ives’s Concord Sonata with Kyle Gann and Marc-André Hamelin
We have a special episode for our subscribers, a recording of the pre-concert talk from our Other Minds 30th Anniversary celebration with pianist Marc-André Hamelin and composer/author Kyle Gann. You’ll hear a panel discussion between Hamelin, Gann, and Other Minds Artistic and Executive Director Charles Amirkhanian about the subject of the night’s event, Charles Ives’s Concord Sonata, followed by a lecture by Kyle Gann about the piece drawing on his research for his 2017 book Charles Ives’s Concord: Essays after a Sonata. After the episode, head over to this page on our website, where you can watch a video of Marc-André Hamelin’s performance of the Concord Sonata at Mills College at Northeastern University in Oakland, California.
Photo by Raymond Holbert.
Episode 9: Lars Petter Hagen, Musical Memory
Lars Petter Hagen is a Norwegian composer whose music concerns memory and our relationship with the past. We talk about memory in his orchestra piece Gestern, inspired by Stefan Zweig’s 1934 memoir Die Welt von Gestern – Erinnerungen eines Europäers, his string quartet Transfiguration 4, and his Ingmar Bergman-inspired piece Seven Studies in Sadness. We also discuss his new role as Director of the Bergen International Festival.
Photo by Victoria Stevens.
Episode 8: Lauren Newton, Vocal Adventures in Free Improvisation
Lauren Newton has gained recognition in both the jazz and avant-garde music scenes through her vocal practice expanding her range of voice techniques without using words, focusing primarily on vocal expression. In the episode, we talk about her collaborations with French bassist Joëlle Léandre in anticipation of their performance together at OM 26, as well as recent collaborations with pianist Myra Melford. We also discuss her new book, VOCAL Adventures: Free Improvisation in Sound, Space, Spirit and Song.
Photo by Koho Mori.
Episode 7: Charles Amirkhanian, Ratchet Attach It Attach Ratchet It
A very special guest! Other Minds Executive and Artistic Director Charles Amirkhanian joins the podcast to talk about his piece Ratchet Attach It for ten percussionists. We cover Amirkhanian’s early years in Fresno as a budding percussionist influenced by Cage, Harrison, Hovhaness, and Cowell, his time in the Fresno State marching band, his lifelong fascination with the ratchet, and his interest in piano rolls. Stick around for the Nick Cannon reference!
Photo by Joseph Bohigian.
Episode 6: Theresa Wong, Timbral Merging
Theresa Wong is a composer, cellist, and vocalist active at the intersection of improvisation, composition, and the synergy of multiple disciplines. On the podcast, we discuss the importance of physicality in her performance and composition. We also talk about her use of just intonation in her string and vocal writing. Finally, Theresa talks about her new album for cello and voice, Practicing Sands, with focuses on microphone usage, merging the timbres of her cello and voice, and the imprint of genetic memory on her music.
Photo by Andria Lo.
Episode 5: Hanna Hartman, You’re Hearing a Different World Than I Do
Hanna Hartman is a Swedish soundartist, composer, and performer based in Berlin. Hartman creates compositions that are exclusively made up from authentic sounds taken out of their original context which she has recorded around the world. Topics covered include her experiences at the Electronic Music Studio in Stockholm and in radio, including her work CRUSH, commissioned by Sveriges Radio. We also discuss her live performance practice featuring close amplification of objects and high powered magnets.
Photo by Göran Gnaudschun.
Episode 4: Kui Dong, Music and Belonging
Kui Dong is a composer whose work spans diverse genres including ballet, orchestra, chamber works, chorus, electro-acoustic music, film scores, multi-media art, and improvisation. On the podcast, we discuss her opera-in-progress Hutong and the presence of diaspora identity in her music. We also talk about her piece for four percussionists on two moving marimbas Scattered Ladder, which will be performed at OM 26.
Photo by Duo Huang.
Episode 3: Raven Chacon, Music and Place
Raven Chacon is a composer, performer, and installation artist awarded the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Music. We talk about the importance of place and location in his music, which is often written to be performed outdoors. We also discuss his interest in graphic notation and the expectations of representing one’s culture in art. Finally, Chacon talks about his recent collaboration with experimental composer, sonic architect, performance artist, and visual media artist Guillermo Galindo, which will be featured at Other Minds Festival 26.
Photo by Jamie Drummond.
Episode 2: Mari Kimura, Is a dog toy an instrument?
Mari Kimura is a violinist, composer, and leading figure in interactive computer music. She developed a motion sensor system called MUGIC® which tracks her hand movements as she plays her violin. We discuss her own performances with the MUGIC® sensor in her piece Rossby Waving. We also talk about her MUGIC® collaborations with Ensemble Decipher and percussionist Aiyun Huang, as well as the sensor’s life in other composers’ and artists’ works.
Photo by Brandon Rolle.
Episode 1: Dominic Murcott, Hells Bells!
Dominic Murcott is a composer, percussionist, curator, and educator based in London. His background as a percussionist and performing in bands has had a deep influence on both his creative work and his research. We talk about his longtime interest in the music of Conlon Nancarrow and his solo percussion arrangement of Nancarrow’s Piece for Tape. We also discuss his monumental percussion work The Harmonic Canon, written for a half-ton custom-made bell designed by sculptor Marcus Vergette using Finite Element Analysis, a type of structural analysis that determines the vibration patterns of the bell.
Photo courtesy of Dominic Murcott.
The Other Minds Podcast features interviews with some of today’s leading composers and performers of new and experimental music. The podcast is produced by Other Minds in San Francisco, which hosts concerts, a record label, a weekly radio program, an archive, and a yearly festival of contemporary music. Season 1 of the podcast features interviews hosted by Joseph Bohigian with the composers featured on our 26th Festival, which will be held on October 13-15, 2022 at the Great Star Theater in San Francisco, California.