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Frank J. Oteri at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2003

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Frank J. Oteri at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2003

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 premiered by the Duo Montagnard (Joseph Murphy and Matthew Slotkin) in the rotunda of Bronx Community College’s Gould Memorial Library on April 26, 2017. The Duo will perform the work again at the First Presbyterian Church of Elmira in Elmira, NY on 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.” For more information, visit fjoteri.com.

Fair and Balanced, Mvt 4: Incremental Change

Fair and Balanced is a quartertone saxophone quartet that was composed for PRISM Quartet in celebration of their 20th anniversary. They have performed the work around the world and have recorded it on their innova CD Dedication. Other groups have recently begun performing it as well such as the wonderful Pacific Saxophone Quartet. Here is the PSQ’s performance of the final movement, “Incremental Change.”

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NewMusicBox Articles

Conversations November 1 2017 | By Frank J. Oteri
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Conversations October 2 2017 | By Frank J. Oteri
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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...

See more of Frank J. Oteri's articles on NewMusicBox.