Writings About Music

Crucial Crossroad

For myself, the excitement and challenge of composition is to have music performed by the meruvina come alive, including endowment with an improvisational spirit embedded into notated scores. The point is that such instruments have their own unique expressive and technical characteristics. Downplaying them simply because they are different from more traditional instruments literally played by flesh is a reactionary and superficial viewpoint unnecessarily limiting the true spirit of music, as is insisting upon rendering them subservient to the same. For example, stating that computer-based instruments are too precise for music is really the same criticism that Kandinsky and Picasso experienced over a hundred years ago for being too angular – it’s all about how it is done as part of creative new perspectives. Perhaps the road not taken that I took is being greatly indebted to Ornette Coleman and John Cage as catalytic agents rather than aesthetic centers. For actual improvisational substance, I’ve found that artists like Alan Dawson, Lee Konitz, Anindo Chatterjee and Shivkumar Sharma (among myriad others) have best stood the test of time, part of American jazz, Indian classical music, and various forms of rock and pop overtaking European classical music as the most significant Western classical music of the past 75 years, providing a fertile milieu for compositional exploration.

- Michael Robinson, August 2017, Los Angeles


© 2017 Michael Robinson All rights reserved


Michael Robinson is a Los Angeles-based composer and writer (musicologist).