Soundtracks: September 1999

As the cost of making orchestral recordings in the United States continues to skyrocket, less than 15 recordings by the major American orchestras have been slated for studio time this year. Clearly, something must be done to make American orchestral recordings viable once again and the answer is in the recording of new American repertoire. […]

The Orchestra in Contemporary American Musical Life

Frank J. OteriPhoto by Melissa Richard Is the orchestra a viable contemporary American institution? That’s a question that’s been on a lot of people’s minds both within and outside the orchestral music community as well as within the new music community which all too frequently has been treated like an opposition political party. There are […]

Describe your best and worst memories of premiere performances

John Corigliano“The best premiere I can remember is that of my Clarinet Concerto with Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic and Stanley Drucker as the soloist…” Tim Page“…I’d choose the first performance of the orchestral version of Reich’s Tehillim in 1981 as the “worst” premiere.” Laurel Ann Maurer“I premiered [Meyer Kupferman's] work “Chaconne Sonata” […]

The Philadelphia Orchestra at 100

To celebrate The Philadelphia Orchestra’s centenary on November 16, 2000, the artistic and management team of the orchestra decided to devote their entire 2000-2001 concert season exclusively to music composed since the orchestra was founded–that is to say the music of the 20th century.

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 […]

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?” 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 […]

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 […]