Music For Writers: ‘Self-Publishing’ Cellist Kate Dillingham

iStock_000055017152_Small by Schneider-Photgraphie

Crossings: ‘A Whole CD Of New Music’

It’s a big change that’s happened in both literature and in music. The DIY aspect of it. Do it yourself.The necessary focus that many of us maintain these days on the development of the self-publishing sector in the books world can sometimes cause us to look right past the fact that contemporary classical music artists are also learning to be their own producers of what’s important to them.

That’s the cellist Kate Dillingham, whose new album from Furious Artisans is Crossings: New Music For Cello. It’s to be released on the 15th of this month.

Thanks to New York Public Radio’s Q2 Music, a 24/7 Internet streaming service in contemporary classical, earlier readers had a chance to preview the CD. Its writeup in Album of the Week at Q2 Music by Marina Kifferstein is here.

Cellist Kate Dillingham by Daniel Shearer
Cellist Kate Dillingham by Daniel Shearer

From the first chord in the opener, Almost Within Reach, byGilbert Galindo, you’re hearing exactly the kind of resonant quandary that Dillingham’s canny curation offer you. She is accompanied by pianist Amir Khosrowpour. And this is richly rendered music of its time: disturbing, provocative rhapsodies on quieter moments of internal need and grace — perfect for the melancholic intelligence of the cello’s prized voice.

And the oldest piece is from 2009, she points out to me as we talk about it.

Like many of us who use Q2 Music as a virtual HQ for a fast-rising new-music army of listeners and artists, Dillingham is keenly aware of the curiously deep bench of outstanding composers we’re hearing from in these early years of the century.

“A lot has happened to us humans since the year 2000,” she says, “on a global scale, on a personal scale, on a spiritual level. There’s been a lot of amazing change of thought, and representation of thought — which is how I think music really works, expressing something that we don’t really have words for.”

Getting this new collection recorded and beautifully produced to full professional standards required a sustained act of purpose on Dillingham’s part in the importance of delivering “a whole CD of new music.”

“I’d had it in my mind for a long time to do a recording of new music, but didn’t have a repertoire of new music that I felt strongly enough about that could fill out a whole album. I wanted to do something that was unique to my experience.”

Wry and articulate in conversation — with the classic wintry bare branch of a sturdy tree just outside her window as she talks — Dillingham suddenly widens her eyes and laughs in mid-sentence at the thought of what she and her associates have accomplished in making this album appear.

Number One, it’s an amazing feat that we pulled it off.

Number Two, the editing process took a long time to get the real feel of each piece.

This has been one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done.

The Genres Come Tumbling Down

Crossings cover by Avy ClaireAlmost eerily echoing current debates among authors about the book industry’s overly restrictive genre designations and writers’ needs to cross styles and customs where necessary, Dillingham talks about the newly flexible, evolving scene today, frequently involving composers who perform.

In the world of music, there’ve been such strict rules, strict academic rules for the last 50 years — many, many years. But in the last 10 years, I would say, the younger set and really all people who are composing music seem to be knocking down those walls.

They’re taking some [influences] from the pop idiom and the rock idiom and jazz and hip-hop. We’re humans, we don’t categorize things, we listen to music we enjoy. And if [those influences] leak into the thing we’re composing, all the better.

I think a lot of people are much more open to what’s out there. Writing the way your teacher wrote works for a while, you emulate people you admire.

But you have to get to know your own voice. You have to go within yourself to find that. And have conviction with it.

Read More

There’s more: Read the full story at Thought Catalog

By Porter Ander­son

Writing on the Ether: Music For Writers: ‘Self-Publishing’ Cellist Kate Dillingham On ‘An Amazing Feat’

Originally published by Thought Catalog at


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