Cover for Childs: Interviews with American Composers: Barney Childs in Conversation. Click for larger image

Interviews with American Composers

Barney Childs in Conversation

Twenty-three influential composers, in their own words

In 1972-73, Barney Childs embarked on an ambitious attempt to survey the landscape of new American concert music. He recorded freewheeling conversations with fellow composers, most of them under forty, all of them important but most not yet famous. Though unable to publish the interviews in his lifetime, Childs had gathered invaluable dialogues with the likes of Robert Ashley, Olly Wilson, Harold Budd, Christian Wolff, and others.

Virginia Anderson edits the first published collection of these conversations. She pairs each interview with a contextual essay by a contemporary expert that shows how the composer's discussion with Childs fits into his life and work. Together, the interviewees cover a broad range of ideas and concerns around topics like education, notation, developments in electronic music, changing demands on performers, and tonal music.

Innovative and revealing, Interviews with American Composers is an artistic and historical snapshot of American music at an important crossroads.

Contributors: Virginia Anderson, Jay M. Arms, Thomas S. Clark, Stuart Dempster, Michelle Fillion, Robert Fink, Peter Gena, Sara Haefeli, Rob Haskins, Dave Headlam, Kevin Holm-Hudson, Ronald Kuivila, David Neal Lewis, Gayle Sherwood Magee, Horace J. Maxile Jr., Jeffrey Perry, James Pritchett, Bruce Quaglia, John Schneider, and Frances White

"A unique time capsule of recent history of the state of the field of art music composition in the United States in 1972. Virginia Anderson presents Childs’s interviews as-is, warts and all. As such, each interview is revealing of the character of the times and of the protagonists."--Chris Brown, Professor Emeritus and former Co-Director of the Center for Contemporary Music, Mills College

Publication of this book was supported by a grant from the Henry and Edna Binkele Classical Music Fund.

Barney Childs (1926-2000) was an experimental music composer, poet, and educator. His compositions included chamber music and music for keyboards. Virginia Anderson maintained the Experimental Music Catalogue and was the editor of the Journal of Experimental Music Studies. She died in 2021.

To order online:

To order by phone:
(800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada)
(773) 702-7000 (International)

Related Titles

previous book next book
The Music of James Tenney - Cover
The Music of James Tenney

Volume 2: A Handbook to the Pieces

Robert Wannamaker

Beyond Bach - Cover
Beyond Bach

Music and Everyday Life in the Eighteenth Century

Andrew Talle

The Music of James Tenney - Cover
The Music of James Tenney

Volume 1: Contexts and Paradigms

Robert Wannamaker

George Frederick Bristow - Cover
George Frederick Bristow

Katherine K. Preston

Charles Ives's Concord - Cover
Charles Ives's Concord

Essays after a Sonata

Kyle Gann

American Music - Cover
American Music

Edited by Gayle Sherwood Magee

Chen Yi - Cover
Chen Yi

Leta E. Miller and J. Michele Edwards

Music and the Moving Image - Cover
Music and the Moving Image

Edited by Gillian B. Anderson & Ronald H. Sadoff

Peggy Glanville-Hicks - Cover
Peggy Glanville-Hicks

Composer and Critic

Suzanne Robinson

Black Opera - Cover
Black Opera

History, Power, Engagement

Naomi André

The Sounds of Place - Cover
The Sounds of Place

Music and the American Cultural Landscape

Denise Von Glahn

Elliott Carter Speaks - Cover
Elliott Carter Speaks

Unpublished Lectures

Elliott Carter Edited and with an Introduction by Laura Emmery

The Heart of a Woman - Cover
The Heart of a Woman

The Life and Music of Florence B. Price

Rae Linda Brown Edited and with a Foreword by Guthrie P. Ramsey Jr.

Bach Perspectives, Volume 13 - Cover
Bach Perspectives, Volume 13

Bach Reworked

Edited by Laura Buch

Tania León’s Stride - Cover
Tania León’s Stride

A Polyrhythmic Life

Alejandro L. Madrid