Atlanta Symphony’s Spano champions tonal contemporary works

Posted on: June 1, 2010

In Tuesday’s (6/1) Wall Street Journal, Barbara Jepson writes, “All too often, music commissioned by symphony orchestras is as ephemeral as a shooting star, lighting up a concert program and quickly vanishing from view. Compare that to the rollout given ‘City Scape’ by American composer Jennifer Higdon. After its premiere by Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in 2002, ‘City Scape’ was performed on tour, recorded for Telarc and reprised in later concert seasons. … [Spano] is particularly known for his espousal of a cadre of primarily American composers dubbed the ‘Atlanta School.’ They are Ms. Higdon (this year’s Pulitzer Prize winner), Michael Gandolfi, Osvaldo Golijov and Christopher Theofanidis. The addition of a fifth composer to the group, 29-year-old Adam Schoenberg, will soon be announced. … Beginning June 3 here, Mr. Spano leads the latest Atlanta School creations—two world premieres on the same program. ‘QED: Engaging Richard Feynman’ by Mr. Gandolfi was inspired by discoveries of the Nobel Prize winning physicist … ‘On a Wire,’ a concerto for sextet and orchestra by Ms. Higdon, features the crack new-music ensemble Eighth Blackbird. … In a reversal of usual box-office patterns, concerts with music by Atlanta School composers typically sell at about 84% of capacity, says marketing vice president Charles Wade, versus an average of 78% for other classical events.” On Friday, June 16, as part of the League of American Orchestra’s National Conference in Atlanta, Spano will lead the Atlanta Symphony in a special concert of works by ‘Atlanta School’ composers Gandolfi, Golijov, Higdon, and Theofanidis. For more information, click here.

Photo by J.D. Scott

Posted June 1, 2010