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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution


The ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award

Presented to Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar


Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar is a radio show, cybercast, and website originating from a tiny, 900-watt radio station in central Vermont. And on December 6, its hosts -- composers Dennis Báthory-Kitsz and David Gunn, both of Northfield -- traveled to New York's Lincoln Center to receive the annual ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for "a music website of singular excellence."

ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award
The ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award

ASCAP -- the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers -- honored the winners of the 33rd annual ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards for outstanding print, broadcast and Internet coverage of music. The winners were presented at a special reception hosted by ASCAP President and Chairman Marilyn Bergman at Lincoln Center's Stanley Kaplan Penthouse in New York City.

Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar began in 1995 as a summer replacement program on WGDR-FM in Plainfield, concentrating on new concert and electronic music and especially on the views of its composers. Vermont composers Gwyneth Walker, Thomas L. Read, Gilles Yves Bonneau, Peggy Madden, Dennis Murphy, Bill Harris, and Bea Phillips were among the show's first guests, but with its arrival on the Internet that September -- as well as the show's installation on WGDR's permanent schedule -- Kalvos & Damian began to converse with composers outside Vermont.

Using a new technique called RealAudio, K&D were pioneers in Internet music. Five years later, the Internet is bursting with competitive technologies and burgeoning with music. But in 1995, computers with 14.4K modems were the norm; the scratchy, almost unlistenable RealAudio 1.0 was K&D's sound delivery system. Yet it opened the world to the humble K&D show.

So in the search for interesting composer stories, Báthory-Kitsz and Gunn took their microphones on tour to New York City, Amsterdam, Paris, Cologne, Brussels, and Toronto, as well as to Dartmouth College's regular and adventurous new music concerts. The show began building composer-focused web pages and gathering on-line resources, and before long, Internet searches for new music invariably led to the K&D site.

The show began archiving its interview programs in 1997 after Goddard College expanded its network bandwidth, and K&D was streaming live programs worldwide that same year. There were live performances in WGDR's "Studio Z" -- a nearby performance and recording hall that once hosted The Panther Players -- including a full-length student opera from Middlebury College, and a guest appearances by groundbreaking composers such as Pauline Oliveros, Fred Ho, and others.

The show embarked on a cooperative program with Vermont's Web Project in 1996, bringing composers in the U.S., Canada, and Europe on-line to mentor Vermont school students. Composer essays were published on the K&D site, along with biographies, photos, catalogs, scores, and hundreds of sample music clips. In September 1998, K&D presented a groundbreaking, live, five-hour concert from Amsterdam's STEIM using Internet and broadcast distribution technology connected simultaneously in Haarlem, the Netherlands; Plainfield, Vermont; and Los Angeles. Gunn's "Damian" anchored from Plainfield, and Báthory-Kitsz's "Kalvos" hosted from Amsterdam.

And the guests kept coming, including Michael Torke, Maria de Alvear, Eric Salzman, Laurie Spiegel, Fred Ho, Eve Beglarian, James Tenney, Kaija Saariaho, Kyle Gann, Elodie Lauten, and David Del Tredici. By late 2000, nearly 150 guests had been interviewed on K&D, and the show had won Web awards, appeared in the New York Times definitive list of arts sites, been featured in the Village Voice, and received a special commendation from British education site Schoolzone. Its interview with legendary Canadian composer Ann Southam was featured in Musicworks magazine.

The success of K&D, however, was not without its trials for Báthory-Kitsz and Gunn. The show was becoming expensive to produce, and without funding -- Internet music was not on the public horizon as late as 1997 -- its co-hosts bore the costs out-of-pocket, along with the generosity of some innovative local businesses and some of the guest composers themselves.

Then the copyright battles of 1998 took a toll on Báthory-Kitsz and Gunn's time, as new laws separated Internet use of music from its broadcast use. Overnight, legal uses became illegal. Permissions had to be gathered during most of 1999 as licensing agencies took notice of the now-prominent K&D website. A worldwide advisory board was assembled, and by earlier this year, the troubles had quieted, and the show hosts were able to take a few deep breaths.

K and D CD-n-Cheese Presentation
K&D's ASCAP Presentation: CD 'n' Cheese
Download the Presentation

In September, an unexpected gift from the Argosy Foundation enabled K&D to complete its plans for next year, including microphone tours of Montréal and the San Francisco Bay Area, an extensive revamping of its website, and the transcription and print publication of many important K&D interviews.

The ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards are presented in honor of Deems Taylor, distinguished composer, music critic, editor, and radio commentator who served as ASCAP's President from 1942-1948. Over the years, tens of thousands of dollars have been distributed in cash prizes to winning authors, journalists and broadcast producers and personalities.

Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar is heard every Saturday afternoon from 2:30-4:30 on WGDR-FM in Plainfield, and on the Internet at http://kalvos.org/