Composers - photo by Heikki Tuuli


Music cannot exist without the composer. Yet the job has morphed from the solitary artist at the piano, working out chords as he pencils notes onto sheet music, to the multitasking dynamo, equal parts creator, musician, software savant and entrepreneur.

For the inaugural month of, we thought “musician as creator” was an excellent topic to start things off. Along with Greg Sandow’s piece defining some key terms, January’s “Composers Issue” delves into the craft of composition and the business behind it all. Mark McCoy interviews 2014 Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw; Derek Bermel, Gabriel Kahane, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Steven Stucky and Augusta Read Thomas opine in our virtual panel discussion; Scott Timberg, author of the recently published Culture Crash comments on the state of commissioning; and New York Philharmonic’s director of artistic planning Ed Yim talks orchestra programming.

Other cool areas include:
POP Picks: a curated and accumulating list of the most interesting People, Organizations and Projects selected by a panel of discerning music tastemakers. Watch for our voting and awards in December 2015.

The Hub: our collaborative community for 21CMers to connect.

Go Guide: a planner designed to keep you updated on the best 21CM-inspired events, programs, festivals and conferences in the world.

We created to provide a place where collaboration, experimentation and excellence in serious music are discussed, applauded, and yes, copied and emulated. If, in turn, this venture someday makes the need for a site devoted to this topic obsolete, then our mission will be accomplished.

Alma Schindler aka Editor at Large

P.S. Please let us know how we are doing at


Next Month: Education


An Interview with Caroline Shaw

Caroline Shaw Interview 2

Caroline Shaw was virtually unknown as a composer before she won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 for Partita for 8 Voices. Some knew her as a vocalist with the Grammy award-winning Roomful of Teeth, for whom she wrote Partita, others knew her as a violinist, performing with everyone from The Roots on The Tonight Show to the Mark Morris Dance Group Ensemble.



The Composer’s Way

21CM Q&A with Composers 2

Iconic composers Derek Bermel, Gabriel Kahane, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Steven Stucky, and Augusta Read Thomas talked with 21CM about their creative process, the glorious advantages and limitations of technology, and how being a composer has changed with the times, and remarkably stayed the same.