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Seeing New Music by Denise Burt

Seeing New Music is a hardcover book on contemporary classical music through the eyes of a graphic designer.

“In a cultural climate where there is considerable, daily navel-gazing, bewailing even, of how to make Classical music—let alone the frightening
contemporary stuff!—relevant and appealing to today’s audiences, this is a book the relevance of which utterly belies the modesty of its scale.”
– Guy Rickards, Gramophone (UK), May 2015 

Over the last 10 years, graphic designer Denise Burt has been on a unique discovery of contemporary classical music through her work designing covers for hundreds of art music releases.

In Seeing New Music – Contemporary classical music through the eyes of a graphic designer she tells the stories of how a selected 24 of her CD designs were made. The stories are told chronologically – spanning a decade – and describe her journey of discovery in the genre called ‘new music’. Through her assignments, we meet the work of a diverse range of composers and also get into the head of a graphic designer faced with the task of visualising conceptual music.

‘I’ve been repeatedly told over the years that the CD is dead… I don’t worry any more about them becoming obsolete. What interests me is not the format itself but the challenge of finding a way to represent and communicate conceptual music to new audiences. It’s the ultimate design task to try to make someone understand something about a piece of music before they have heard it.’

Composers and artists represented in Seeing New Music include:
Per Nørgård (DK), Paul Hillier (UK), Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen (DK), Jexper Holmen (DK), Anders Koppel (DK), Julia Wolfe (USA), Vagn Holmboe (DK),
David Lang (USA), Michael Gordon (USA), Helene Gjerris (DK), Ejnar Kanding (DK), Frank Bretschneider (DE), Bent Sørensen (DK), Morten Olsen (DK),
Rune Glerup (DK) and Peter V. Swendsen (USA).