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Frank J. Oteri at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2003
865 articles on NewMusicBox
Show activity on NewMusicUSA
1 media item

Frank J. Oteri

New York, NY         

Frank J. Oteri is the composer advocate at New Music USA and the co-editor of NewMusicBox, which has been online since May 1999. An outspoken crusader for new music and the breaking down of barriers between genres, Frank has written for numerous publications and has also been a frequent radio guest and pre-concert speaker. Frank also serves on the Executive Commmittee of the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) and chairs the Communication Committee of the International Association of Music Information Centers (IAMIC). Frank holds a B.A. and a M.A. (in Ethnomusicology) from Columbia University where he served as Classical Music Director and World Music Director for WKCR-FM.

Frank’s own musical compositions reconcile structural concepts from minimalism and serialism and frequently explore microtonality. His music has been performed in venues ranging from Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall and the Theatre Royal in Bath, England to the Knitting Factory, the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, and PONCHO Concert Hall in Seattle where John Cage first prepared a piano. Among his most widely performed compositions are: Imagined Overtures, a 36-tone rock band piece that has been performed around the country and is the centerpiece of a 2009 CD by the Los Angeles Electric 8; and Last Minute Tango which pianist Guy Livingston has toured around the world and paired with a short film by Thijs Schreuder on his DVD One Minute More that can be streamed from the website of NPR. MACHUNAS, a performance oratorio inspired by the life of Fluxus-founder George Maciunas which Oteri created in collaboration with Lucio Pozzi, received its world premiere during the 2005 Christopher Summer Festival in Vilnius, Lithuania; that performance can be streamed in its entirety from the website of the Other Minds Video Archive. Oteri’s most recent works include: Love Games, a setting for girls chorus, harpsichord, and two tambourines of three poems by the Elizabethan sonneteer Mary Wroth which was commissioned and premiered by the Young People’s Chorus of New York City under the direction of Francisco J. Núñez for their Radio Radiance series; (not) knowing the answer, a setting of six sijos by James R. Murphy for unaccompanied vocal ensemble in 13-limit just intonation; and Counting Time in Central City, a setting for unaccompanied SATB chorus of three poems by Charles Passy commissioned by Central City Chorus for their 35th anniversary season, which received its world premiere performance in New York City in June  2016.

Ironically, Oteri’s most recent composition, Dually, is also his oldest. It is based on material from his earliest piece of chamber music which was written after becoming intrigued about instrumental composition due to his high school music teacher, Dr. Lionel “Lee” Chernoff, shortly before turning 15 in 1979. Chernoff died in December 2016 prompting Oteri to re-examine that music which led to a realization that it contained anagrams of Chernoff’s name inspiring a “new” work for alto saxophone and guitar which was performed by the Duo Montagnard (Joseph Murphy and Matthew Slotkin) in the rotunda of Bronx Community College’s Gould Memorial Library on April 26, 2017 and again at the First Presbyterian Church of Elmira, New York on Friday, December 8, 2017.

In 2007, Oteri was the recipient of ASCAP’s Victor Herbert Award for his “distinguished service to American music as composer, journalist, editor, broadcaster, impresario, and advocate” and, in January 2018, he received the Composers Now Visionary Award. For more information, visit fjoteri.com.

Articles by Frank J. Oteri:

Conversations March 1 2018 | By Frank J. Oteri
Barbara White: A Plea for Compassion

The deeply personal nature of so many of Barbara White’s compositions explains why she has predominantly written music for soloists or small ensembles. Even the largest-scale project she has ever...

Headlines January 18 2018 | By Frank J. Oteri
2018 ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards Announced

The ASCAP Foundation has announced the 15 recipients of the 2018 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards which were established in 2002 to encourage young gifted jazz composers up to...

Conversations January 1 2018 | By Frank J. Oteri
Michael J. Schumacher: Composing is Listening

Although Michael J. Schumacher has stated that he is interested in "defining boundaries and not crossing them," he does not let that limit his own extremely wide range of musical...

Conversations December 1 2017 | By Frank J. Oteri
Thea Musgrave: Where The Practicality Comes In

The distinguished, soon-to-be nonagenarian composer Thea Musgrave is one of the music world's great raconteurs. Her numerous anecdotes about everyone from her one-time teacher Nadia Boulanger to electronic music pioneer...

Conversations November 1 2017 | By Frank J. Oteri
Christopher Cerrone: Everything Comes From Language

While composer Christopher Cerrone has not written any original prose fiction or poetry, he approaches his own musical compositions in much the same way that a writer weaves a narrative....

Conversations October 2 2017 | By Frank J. Oteri
Stefania de Kenessey: 20 Years After Rewriting History

In 1997, composer Stefania de Kenessey launched the Derriere Guard movement to promote a "return to long-forgotten, long-abandoned ideas rooted in history and tradition” but now, 20 years later, she...

Headlines September 13 2017 | By Frank J. Oteri
Remembering Halim El-Dabh (1921-2017): A Citizen of the “Fourth World”

According to Tommy McCutchon, "'Fourth World Music' has become a dominant sub-genre designation for any music that combines avant-garde electronic processing with a mélange of world music aesthetics." But Halim...

Conversations September 1 2017 | By Frank J. Oteri
George Walker: Concise and Precise

If there’s any quality that distinguishes all of the music of George Walker, who at the age of 95 is still actively composing, it’s its conciseness and preciseness. Walker often...

Conversations August 1 2017 | By Frank J. Oteri
Chris Brown: Models are Never Complete

Despite his fascination with extremely dense structures, California-based composer Chris Brown is surprisingly tolerant about loosely interpreting them. Chalk it up to a musical career that has been equally devoted...