Soundtracks: August 1999

We have tracked down new recordings of music by 65 American composers this month. As always, the variety is overwhelming. There are three new MMC anthologies of orchestral music featuring works by 21 composers proving that the orchestra continues to be a source of inspiration for composers with a wide variety of stylistic inclinations ranging […]

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?”

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 […]

Tania León: What it Means to be an American Composer

Although raised in Cuba, Tania León was born into a family that had roots from all different parts of the globe. Since arriving in the United States, where she has been based since 1967, she has come to realize that her own multicultural heritage is what makes her a quintessentially American composer.

Memorable outdoor premieres you’ve heard and/or your most unusual exposure to a new piece of music Joseph Dalton, Executive Director, Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI)

Joseph DaltonPhoto by Dorothy Alexander Collecting composers’ autographs used to be a hobby of mine. In my youth it was an early indicator of my future profession. It also got me to attend (and sometimes to endure) all manner of musical happenings, and allowed me to meet some wonderful figures, some of whom are now […]

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

Marilyn Nonken by Sara Press A few years ago, I stumbled into a Henry Brant premiere taking place outdoors at Lincoln Center: a work written to commemorate Columbus’s discovery of America. Various ensembles were playing around the plaza: jazz band, orchestra, maybe a sax quartet or mariachi ensemble. Honestly, no matter where I went, I […]

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 […]