Monday, September 28, 2009

RE: No Passport Required: Around the World With Five Compositions

In the New York Times from today, September 28th, the article titled, "No Passport Required: Around the World With Five Compositions," caught my eye. This article reviews the first concert of the season by the New Julliard Ensemble, referred to as, "one of the best and most interesting of the Juilliard School’s student groups." I found this opening sentence of the article quite intriguing in itself, for it captivates the reader into an interest for new music. New music is often viewed as less accessible, or pleasant to listen to by the general audience/public attending classical music events. But, by opening an article in the NYT with this praise for the group, it hopefully serves to grab a reader's attention and thus encourage them to become a future audience member at New Julliard Ensemble events. 

The mission of the music director, Joel Sachs, to give the ensemble experience playing music from all over "the planet," is fascinating to me. I can imagine that as a music director, especially of a more standard era ensemble, and not just new music, would find this goal a challenge. It is far easier to stick to compositions from certain parts of the globe - western europe, etc. Sachs' goal is impressive, not only in it's potential listening variety for the audience, but also in giving the musicians a wide range of experience with varied kinds of musical compositions. 

I especially enjoyed reading about Chris Gendall's piece, "Rudiments," because Chris was a friend and TA of mine at my undergraduate school, Cornell University. I attended many new music performances at Cornell, as the composition department is rich and varied. Thus, it was interesting to read this writer's review of Gendall's work in comparison to my interpretations of his work a few years ago, when we were both at Cornell. 

I enjoyed reading this review and it made me hopeful for the future of new classical music, as this writer made it sound exciting and accessible to listen to. He also framed the pieces in a style that made me, as the reader, feel like I could relate to the music on a personal level. Hopefully, his article had this affect on many other reader's, too and will thus help to increase the interest in exciting new additions to the classical music genre.

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