Identifying representative works in 21st-century music

Posted on: April 16, 2012

Friday (4/13) on, Rob Deemer writes, “A noted musicologist requested that I submit up to three scores that would adequately represent the musical innovations of the past 10-15 years, and over the past two weeks I’ve been going over lists of composers and their repertoire to see if I could find some common threads that stood out as being both important and new in some way. … Out of all the innovations that have affected concert music since the mid-nineties, one would be hard-pressed to find a more pervasive one than digital technology. … Ranging from simple aural enhancements and ‘with tape’ pieces to basic looping software and the most far-flung digital transmutations, composers and performers alike have been slowly becoming acclimated to the ubiquity of microphones and laptops in the studio and on the stage.” Deemer also notes a trend in composers “asking for special techniques or skills that a particular performer has mastered (including improvisation, extended techniques, or stylistic performance traits). This has encouraged many performers to search for performance techniques that would allow them to stand out from the crowd—an example would be the growing number of violinists, violists, and cellists who have learned to sing while playing their instrument.”

Posted April 16, 2012