It is a common misconception that it is difficult or impossible to discuss music, that a piece of music simply speaks to the listener—or not. Paul Steenhuisen, in conversation with composers, offers readers insight into the creative process, and ways of listening and entering into works of new music. Steenhuisen, himself a composer of merit, talks one on one with thirty-two of his contemporaries—twenty-six of whom are Canadian—with a colleague’s candour, sympathy, and expertise. These rare intimations afford fellow composers, musicologists, students, and inquisitive listeners a comparative look into the lives of the people who write some of the most innovative, challenging, and sublime music today.

Composers Interviewed: R. Murray Schafer; Robert Normandeau; Linda Catlin Smith; Alexina Louie; Omar Daniel; Michael Finnissy; John Weinzweig; Udo Kasemets; Pierre Boulez; Barbara Croall; James Rolfe; John Beckwith; Yannick Plamondon and Marc Couroux; George Crumb; Peter Hatch; John Oswald; Francis Dhomont; Martin Arnold; Helmut Lachenmann; Juliet Palmer; Christian Wolff; Mauricio Kagel; John Rea; Gary Kulesha; Howard Bashaw; Christopher Butterfield; Keith Hamel; Jean Piché; James Harley; Hildegard Westerkamp.