In the afternoon I'm usually pretty spent on writing, so it's piano practice time, or tending to clerical chores like mailing scores, updated the website, or doing email. Email is really the worst—it can take over an entire day if I'm not very firm with it.
I don't actually have a huge amount of time for listening to other music, which is an ongoing problem, and something that I'd like to work on.
If you could come up with a name for New Music besides “New Music” what would it be?
How do you balance being a performer and a composer? Do you think this dual role is becoming more typical, as it was pre-20th century composer/performer schism?
My theory is that as music became so hyper-specialized in the mid-20th century—almost a scientific discipline—it didn't leave any room or time for composers to spend learning to play it. That role had to be delegated almost entirely to another group of specialists, New Music performers. It was all just so difficult that it demanded 100% of a musician's time and attention. We still have performers who specialize in contemporary music, or course, and the level of virtuosity is higher than it's ever been. But also the music being written now acknowledges and benefits from human performers more, from our strengths and our foibles. It feels like things have mostly returned to how they used to be, pre-Modernism.
How would you introduce classical music to someone that is completely unfamiliar with the genre?
I wish I could take them all to a concert I went to a couple of weeks ago—the LA Phil and Dudamel playing the Rite of Spring at Disney Hall. It was really quite thrilling.
I once saw you perform a show of alternating Glass and Schubert pieces: who/what do you think someone might pair your music with in a similar format?
There are many pairings I could imagine working well. I've played my own music with Schumann a whole bunch, as well as Ives. The singer/composer Gabriel Kahane and I do a show which interweaves our own music with Ives, Britten, Bach, Adès, Andrew Norman, and lots of other little things. I think the iTunes shuffle feature opened a lot of people's minds to different juxtapositions of music 10 or 15 years ago, and programming is slowly getting more interesting as a result. Not all the experiments work, but that's why they're experiments.