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February 23, 2012 8:09 PM   Subscribe

I would like to get up to date with the most cutting edge modern orchestral music being composed today.

Who are the composers who are changing the art? What websites or blogs keep good track of these things? I feel like nothing's been happening and I know I'm wrong.
posted by hanoixan to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Bang on a Can and WQXR's Q2 are great starting places if you want to see what's going on with contemporary composers.

They're not the most cutting edge anymore (probably were 20ish years ago) but the minimalist-associated composers—Philip Glass, John Adams, Steve Reich—do fantastic stuff for orchestra.

I am also a fan of Gabriel Kahane who is a younger composer who mixes rock and classical sensibilities. I have recently seen classical works by him and by the Dessner twins from rock group The National. I think there is a lot going on lately with this rock/classical merger (Kaufman Center's Ecstatic Music Festival is a recent example of this).

Nico Muhly is another young composer at the intersection of classical and rock (though definitely more on the classical end); his blog is worth a read.
posted by mlle valentine at 8:49 PM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Seconding the recommendation for Q2. Listening to that station and googling the pieces you like will teach you a lot.
posted by CutaneousRabbit at 9:55 PM on February 23, 2012

Response by poster: Yes, wow, Q2 is exactly the type of source I was looking for! Thanks so much you two.
posted by hanoixan at 10:28 PM on February 23, 2012

If you're interested in American new music, start here at the American Composers' Orchestra page.

If you're interested in young Brits, try here (BBC Radio 3).

For Canadians, try this one here (Canadian Music Center).

...sadly, I'm not as savvy about websites for European and other groups.
posted by daisystomper at 10:32 PM on February 23, 2012

The "composers in residence" are a good bet. If not cutting edge, at least they're the bright young - and youngish -things getting the jobs. Luke Bedford and Julian Anderson at Wigmore Hall; Magnus Lindberg and Christopher Rouse at the New York Philarmonic; the ones at the Philarmonique de Strasbourg; Toshio Hosokawa at Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin. And so on.
posted by lucia__is__dada at 2:13 AM on February 24, 2012

Have you heard Golijov's Ainadamar? It might rock your socks if you don't know about it.

Also, OperaVista hosts an annual new opera festival/contest here in Houston which could be within your geographic reach. It's done over the course of a couple weeks, and organized a bit like American Idol, except... the contestants are new operas.
posted by jph at 7:58 AM on February 24, 2012

I've thought about doing an FPP on Jennifer Higdon. She won a Pulitizer Prize in 2010 for her Violin Concerto. Seeing her piece ZONES performed in concert was how I got interested in contemporary classical music.
posted by gladly at 12:32 PM on February 24, 2012

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