"Every year," the front page of CBS News' Assignment America website states, "the major networks (CBS included) spend millions of dollars trying to figure out what people want to see on TV. Yet, in the end, much of the programming isn't what you would have picked at all." No kidding! Last week, CBS asked viewers to vote for one of three possible news subjects: 1) a Holocaust survivor who never had his bar mitzvah; 2) an in-flight dating service; or 3) a composer who earned his masters from the University of Michigan, studying with William Bolcom, Michael Daugherty, and William Albright. Interestingly, the student of Bolcom won — although it must have helped that he was advertised as a "hip-hop violinist." As anyone who follows American music will have guessed, I'm talking about composer-violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain, who, having won the viewers' votes, will be profiled on the CBS Evening News this Friday. I'll tune in for that, and, later, for Conan O'Brien's report on his grand tour of Finland. I'm hoping Conan makes a pilgrimage to Ainola. (Via NewMusicBox.)
Not entirely unrelated is Kyle Gann's profile of the excellent young composer Mason Bates. As it happens, both Roumain and Bates are featured on a March 17 program by the American Composers Orchestra at Zankel. Unfortunately, I will miss that promising-looking event; I'll be on my way to the University of Michigan (!), to talk about Shostakovich.... Odd coincidence: Robert Gable and I seem to have simultaneously purchased used LP's of Peter Lieberson's Piano Concerto (No. 1). What a powerful, gratifying piece that is.... On the theme of composers showing up in unexpected places, here's an article on Brian Ferneyhough in Popmatters.