Seeking the “Great American Symphony”

Posted on: July 3, 2013


In Tuesday’s (7/2) National Public Radio column Deceptive Cadence, Tom Huizenga writes, “Critics and fans love a good debate over the great American novel or great American movie. But what about the great American symphony? Is there one? If not, why? If so, which symphonies are good candidates for the title? And in the land of the melting pot, what does it mean for a symphony to be ‘American’ in the first place? These are just a few of the questions we’re asking as July 4th approaches. And our search for a symphony deserving the stature of works like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird, Citizen Kane or The Godfather is just beginning. Throughout the summer, we plan to ask a variety of composers, conductors, critics—and especially you—to help us think about the state of American symphonic music. We’re not out to crown the best American symphony, to decide whether Aaron Copland’s Symphony No. 3 is more important than John Corigliano’s Symphony No. 1. Instead we’re wondering: Is the music still viable? Who writes symphonies in America these days? And who hears them? What relevance do they have in the American artistic landscape?”

Posted July 3, 2013