Once upon a time, Carnegie Hall was the either apex of someone’s career, or a highly desirable debut – but the excitement has somewhat faded the late 20th century, since anyone with a budget can buy themselves a debut at Carnegie Recital Hall. However, with the general renovation and the construction of Zankel Hall, Carnegie is kindling an old flame.

My friend Bobby tells a story about Zankel Hall… He went there to hear a John Cage piece where the performers are to react to a happening in the space… and during one of those quiet moments, when the performers stopped, waiting for a chance event as a cue, the faint rumble of the subway filled the silence and ebbed, and they resumed the piece. In New York, short of complete soundproofing, we have to accept extraneous noise as part of music. When I first started composing, I used to add noise soundtracks to all my pieces because that’s how I heard them, always mixed in with some unrelated noise that my keen ear would detect, no matter how soft.

The program for Carnegie Hall’s upcoming 2005-06 season reads like a Balzac novel, enhanced by 70s retro Polaroids, mostly of of the performers, more rarely the composers.. Overall, the quantity and variety of programs is simply amazing.

The following is a brief overview from the point of view of living composers.

Thomas Adès, Asyla, Berliner Philharmoniker
John Corigliano, Symphony No 1, National Symphony Orchestra
Jennifer Higdon, Percussion Concerto, Philadelphia Orchestra
Anders Hillborg, Exquisite Corpse, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
Michael Jarrell, Cassandre, St Louis Symphony
Giya Kancheli, …al Niente, St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
Bright Sheng, (untitled as yet…), Philadelphia Orchestra
Melinda Wagner, Extremity of Sky, piano concerto, National Symphony Orchestra
Charles Wuorinen, Theologoumenon, world premiere, MET Orchestra
Chen Yi, Si Ji (Four Seasons), Cleveland Orchestra

Chamber Music
Cellist Maya Beiser will play works buy Jody Talbot, Brett Dean, Tan Dun, Chinary Ung, Michael Gordon, and Eve Beglarian, while Midori plays Judith Weir, Isang Yun, Alexander Goehr, Gyorgy Kurtag and Witold Lutoslaski
The Kronos Quartet has its own series at Zankel, with works by Alexandra Du Bois, Michael Gordon, Glenn Branca, James Thirlwell, Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, Rahman Asadollahi, Terry Riley, Chen Yi.

I omitted the dates since most of this will take place next year. But this is your chance to see who’s in and who’s not… I am happy to see an effort to include new American works, although the program shows the usual propensity towards Pulitzer prize winners and the like.

NOTE: http://johncageshoes.blogspot.com/ is a new blog about John Cage posted by Michael Andre.

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