Monday, June 20, 2005

ASCAP Awards to American Orchestras for their Participation in American Culture

As reported by the American Music Center's NewMusicBox,
the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers
(ASCAP) has announced 25 Awards to American orchestras
which prominently feature music composed within the past 25
years; thus attempting to bring the Western orchestral
institution into the late 20th century and early 21st century.

The Award for the strongest innovative programming went
to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, under James Levine.
The Award for strongest commitment to new American music
went to the New York City-based American Composers
Orchestra, under Steven Sloane and Robert Beaser. The Award
for outstanding educational programming went to the
Minnesota Orchestra under Osmo Vanska.

Other Awardees for commitment to contemporary music, among
the largest orchestras, are the San Francisco Symphony under
Michael Tilson Thomas, the Los Angeles Philharmonic
under Esa-Pekka Salonen, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Please see NewMusicBox for the other 19 awards for out-
standing programming by less wealthy orchestras, as well as
youth and festival orchestras.

[Julia Werntz's field report -- "Dusting Off the Cobwebs" --
for NewMusicBox, on James Levine
and the Boston Symphony Orchestra is at]


I am happy to see that the Boston Symphony Orchestra,
under James Levine, is performing two works by living
composers at the Kennedy Center next winter: Elliott Carter's
Three Illusions for Orchestra, and Peter Lieberson's Neruda
Love Songs, with outstanding mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt
Lieberson (a former musical colleague and classmate of mine.)
I am happy that the American orchestral prohibition against
programming two works by living composers on a single program
is finally being breached.

I'm also happy that the Philadelphia Orchestra, under Christoph
Eschenbach, will be performing Jennifer Higdon's Percussion
Concerto at the Kennedy Center next season.

I am less pleased to see that the Award-winning San Francisco
Symphony, under Michael Tilson Thomas, will be travelling all
the way across country, to Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center,
to perform a program of Debussy's Jeux, Berg's Lulu Suite,
Mahler's Adagio from Symphony #10, and an excerpt from
Wagner's Ring. What does MTT think this is, an academic
symposium at Berkeley or Harvard, rather than an American
orchestral concert in the 21st century? I truly hope that when
I next read about these concerts, I will see the name of
John Thow, William Kraft, Andrew Imbrie, or Gloria Coates
as an appropriate substitution.

ASCAP, can you give the SFS a call?


For small images of Fertod Palace, now in Hungary,
where Franz Joseph Haydn composed many of his
early- middle Symphonies (Haydn had a room on the
ground floor of the West wing) :


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