Viewpoint

What do you expect to hear when someone says “American music?”

Chen Yi“I think that all musical works composed in the States AND influenced by American culture are considered American music.” Judith Lang Zaimont“In a very real sense, it is the lifeblood of our country expressed in sound.” Howard Mandel“America’s music is wide and wild, fed by hundreds of old and new musical strains.” David Nicholls“From […]

What is American Music?

Frank J. OteriPhoto by Melissa Richard America is a land of immigrants and the culture of America has been formed and reshaped time and time again by the immigrants whose traditions get introduced here and then morphed into something completely new. When we speak of an “American tradition,” it is almost an oxymoron because it […]

What do you expect to hear when someone says “American music?” Judith Lang Zaimont, Composer

Judith Lang ZaimontPhoto courtesy Judith Lang Zaimont What is ‘American music’? It reflects the vital, energized, young and action-oriented nation we are.In general it’s color-sensitive, edgy and, more often than not, pulsed — wickedly pulsed. It likes to take chances, and, as befits our polyglot national character, sometimes incorporates a staggering variety of modes of […]

What do you expect to hear when someone says “American music?” Howard Mandel, President of the Jazz Journalists Association

Howard MandelPhoto courtesy Howard Mandel America’s music is wide and wild, fed by hundreds of old and new musical strains. It starts with Native American chants, flutes, rhythms, North American colonies of the Spanish and French and Germans as well as the Pilgrims, in the community functions, dilletante artistry and diverse forms of entertainment, becomes […]

What do you expect to hear when someone says “American music?” David Nicholls, Professor of Music and Research Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Keele University, Staffordshire U.K.

David NichollsPhoto courtesy David Nicholls “Defining American Music” What do we mean by “American music?” From a millennial perspective, the answer is apparently simple: as America’s Music, the Cambridge History of American Music, and The New Grove Dictionary of American Music make manifestly clear, it is synonymous with inclusivity. From Barber to barbershop, Cage to […]

Memorable outdoor premieres you’ve heard and/or your most unusual exposure to a new piece of music

Greg Sandow“Was it an outdoor experience? I’m not sure, and who cares?…” Michael Torke“I remember a concert at the Tanglewood Music Center that had both David Del Tredici’s “Happy Voices” (from Child Alice) and John Adams’s Harmonielehre on the same program!” Marilyn Nonken“…the sight of Brant –headgear, jumpsuit, etc.– will always stick with me: Ives […]

How Festivals can Attract New Audiences to American Music

Frank J. OteriPhoto by Melissa Richard Five years ago some friends of mine drove me down to a bluegrass festival in Stumptown, West Virginia — a more than 10 hour journey from New York City which was more time than I’ve ever spent in a car in my whole life being the die-hard urbanite! At […]

Memorable outdoor premieres you’ve heard and/or your most unusual exposure to a new piece of music Michael Torke, Composer

Michael TorkePhoto by Vivianne Purdom, courtesy Decca I remember a concert at the Tanglewood Music Center that had both David Del Tredici’s “Happy Voices” (from Child Alice) and John Adams’s Harmonielehre on the same program! This was the summer of 1984, fresh after Paul Fromm made public his criticisms of the ’70s kind of thorny […]

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