Can a piece of music can be inherently bad, or are all such judgements purely subjective? Associate Professor in Composition Matthew Shlomowitz reports on a recent premier in Oslo addressing such issues.
I was commissioned by the Ultima Festival in Oslo to compose a forty-minute work for the Plus Minus Ensemble, a group I direct with English composer Joanna Bailie. For this commission I decided to do something different: instead of writing a piece, I wrote a ‘lecture-piece’. Drawing on scholarship from the fields of psychology, philosophy, music cognition and cultural studies, the work explores what is going on when we make aesthetic judgements. I perform the role as lecturer along with four musicians who present musical demonstrations and recreations of psychological experiments.
Here is a video of the performance at the Norwegian National Opera.