Composer Marti Epstein Makes 'Unimaginable' Music

By 
John Mirisola
March 10, 2020

The longtime Berklee faculty member talks imagination, her opera Rumpelstiltskin, composing without computers, and more on Sounds of Berklee.

Marti Epstein
Image courtesy of the artist

Composer Marti Epstein has been on the faculty at Berklee for almost 30 years, and since 2008, she has taught at both Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory at Berklee. Her music has an unpredictable, dreamlike quality to it, often made all the more strange by her choice of reference points: a fairy tale, a piece of abstract art, or a passage from Moby-Dick, for instance. In this episode of Sounds of Berklee, Epstein unpacks what it means to create “unimaginable music”—music that creates its own unique world of sound. She also explains why she advises her students not to use a computer to compose music, and how she went about developing her opera, Rumpelstiltskin.

Note to listeners: this episode refers to a planned performance of Rumpelstiltskin at the Kennedy Center that has now been canceled.

Listen to more of Marti Epstein’s music, including the full recording of the piece used in this episode, “Oil & Sugar,” on SoundCloud.

Engineered by Tony Brown and Brandon Bichajian
Produced by John Mirisola and Bryan Parys
Edited by John Mirisola
Theme music by Sleeping Lion

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