Every year, orchestras around the world announce the programs of their upcoming seasons as though it’s an exciting surprise. Don’t get me wrong — the works of Romantic and Classical era composers will never cease to hold a soft spot in my heart. But by adhering to programs full of Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Beethoven, Copland, and Mahler, we’re presenting classical music by composers who are white, male, and dead. Continue reading “Popular Programming Preventing Progress”→
Thirty years ago we started dreaming of the world we wanted to live in. It would be a kind of utopia for music: all the boundaries between composers would come down, all the boundaries between genres would come down, all the boundaries between musicians and audience would come down. Then we started trying to build it. Building a utopia is a political act — it pushes people to change. It is also an act of resistance to the things that keep us apart. — Gordon/Lang/Wolfe
Thirty years ago on Mother’s Day in a SoHo art gallery, a one-day marathon concert spurred the development of a performing arts organization that now hosts a variety of year-round international activities. Bang on a Can, co-founded by minimalist composers David Lang, Michael Gordon, and Julia Wolfe (above, photo by Peter Serling), has been dedicated to cultivating innovative music regardless of its origin. Continue reading “CME Bangs on a Can”→
The large audience at Oberlin’s Warner Concert Hall experienced something spectacular on Friday evening, but don’t expect to hear about all of it. Due to the fact that Vijay Iyer’s Trouble for violin and chamber orchestra was still being tweaked, the publisher requested that no one review the artistry or the piece itself. Continue reading “What To Say? Not a Lot”→
It’s no April fools’ joke — anyone really can come to love contemporary music! On Saturday evening, April 1, Oberlin’s Contemporary Music Ensemble made their debut at a new, laid-back venue, the Birenbaum. CME invited every audience member to open their minds and ears to what many consider the least accessible of all classical music periods, with a program consisting of pieces written by composers who are still alive. And as CME trombonist Alex Melzer so aptly stated, the musicians really “played the heck out of it.”Continue reading “CME Welcomes Audiences with Accessible Performance”→
On April 7th, the Oberlin Sinfonietta performed at Warner Concert Hall under the baton of Timothy Weiss. While the student ensemble has played recent compositions in the past, this time they presented a work so new it has not yet been officially premiered: Vijay Iyer’sTrouble, a violin-concerto-in-progress, written for and featuring Oberlin alum Jennifer Koh.