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Archive for 'Criticism'

Cage and Beyond

Just before intermission of the opening concert of the Beyond Cage Festival on October 22, I pulled out my iPhone to see if the Giants were beating the Cardinals for the National League Pennant, and was disoriented to see that it was 9:49pm. It seemed like there must have been a massive network malfunction, because […]

Ruggles: An American Rarity

If you were having a conversation with fellow music lovers about the great American composers, Carl Ruggles would not be the first person to come to mind. The “Great American Composer” honor is most often bestowed upon Copland, Ives, or even depending on the company you are with, Bernstein. This is not to say, however, […]

New Noises Hardly Explained

In a recent piece for Slate , musicologist Jan Swafford took readers on a little tour of contemporary music that has yielded a fair share of controversy. Mind you, that Slate is publishing a piece on contemporary concert music (or, as Swafford puts it, “contemporary ‘classical’ music, or whatever you want to call it”) for […]

Levine leaving BSO, but show goes on with Birtwistle premiere

We’re saddened to learn of James Levine’s cancellation of the rest of his appearances this season at the Boston Symphony Orchestra and his resignation from the post of BSO Music Director. Levine has been in that position since 2004, but has had to cancel a number of appearances during his tenure due to a variety […]

New music heard in San Diego recently

They’ve been piling up, my reviews at sandiego.com, to be passed on to you here. Lots of good music heard the past three months: San Diego Symphony plays Remembering Gatsby by John Harbison (1/15/11) Harbison has an ear for arresting sonorities, an original way of arranging chords so that one hears harmonies in a completely […]

Bright Sheng and Anthony Newman premieres at La Jolla Summerfest

Older readers may recall with fondness Edgar Bergen, a very popular American entertainer who poured his comic routines through ventriloquist dummies named Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd. Edgar so loved the performing arts, that he created an annual celebration to showcase classical music, dance, opera, and theater, which continues and thrives to this very day: […]

Same Old Story for a New Age

Luke Gullickson is a composer, pianist, and writer currently working on a Master’s in composition at UT in Austin, Texas. He keeps a blog, Sonatas and Interludes, where he recently pondered how “new age” can reach out and bleed into even the “avant-garde”: There’s a problem in new pretty piano music. I call it the […]