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 […]

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 […]