From NPR/music: “What Jazz Can Learn From Today’s Classical Music Presenters”

Everyone interested in serious music should read Joel Harrison’s post at A Blog Supreme/NPR Jazz.


Here is just a taste:

“A recent wave of classical new music festivals have led me to believe there is a quiet revolution taking place. The Ecstatic Music Festival at Merkin Concert Hall, Tune-In Music Festival at the extraordinary Park Avenue Armory and Tully Scope at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall all have offered listeners the most bracing combinations of adventurous, fulfilling music in recent memory. And did I mention the eight-hour marathon of all living composers at Symphony Space?

Things have changed. I vividly remember how cold, uninviting and hidebound the classical world seemed to me as a teenager in the ’70s. Babbitt’s famous adage, “I only write for my colleagues,” had not lost its sway. Writing new music that involved jazz or rock or “world” music — or for that matter any sort of overt emotion — was very rare. This is one reason that I turned to jazz. At the Aspen Music School, I recall the look on fellow composers’ faces when I said that I favored tonal music. Shock! When I declaimed that jazz and progressive rock music were just as important as Schoenberg, I was regarded as a simpleton.”

I do have one objection to Mr. Harrison’s thesis: there is a wide gulf between what we think of as “Classical Music” and what the writer describes, which is normally described as “New Music”. So, maybe the title is not quite accurate. And then in the essay we see the expression “classical new music” which is a bit confused. But the essay is extremely accurate and well-informed.

Read the full article here.