Alt-classicists increasingly making inroads at major institutions

Posted on: October 16, 2009

In Wednesday’s (10/14) Washington Post, Anne Midgette writes, “In Silver Spring [Maryland], a cellist plays in duo with electric guitar, their music wrapped in an envelope of reverb and static from the computer processors onstage. In Baltimore, a saxophone and bass clarinet perform acoustic compositions by acclaimed 20th-century composers in tandem with new electronic pieces by younger ones, interspersed with a live contribution from a DJ. And in Washington, a composer who wants to form a new-music group turns, not to conservatories, but to Craigslist. … The ensembles of the new alt-classical world are poised somewhere within the Venn-diagram intersection of traditional classical music and contemporary culture. … There are two main aspects of the alt-classical idea. On the one hand, it represents an attempt to break down the traditional concert format. … But the second main point about alt-classical groups is that they are increasingly featured on mainstream, traditional concert series and orchestra programs. … A couple of weeks ago, in Baltimore and at Strathmore, Time for Three opened the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s subscription series with a concerto written for them by Jennifer Higdon, which was commissioned by no less an institution than the august Philadelphia Orchestra under Christoph Eschenbach, the NSO’s future music director and a big Time for Three fan.”

Posted October 16, 2009