Cantrell: It’s time to perform more American composers

Posted on: January 23, 2014

“Quick, how many pieces of American orchestral music could be called standard repertory?” asks Scott Cantrell in Friday’s (1/17) Dallas Morning News. “Apart from the Barber Violin Concerto, only a few lighter pieces cling to the edges, more often on pops or light-classics programs,” including familiar works by Ives, Gershwin, Copland, and Bernstein. “For a nation with a century-and-a-half of substantial orchestral compositions, this is a disgrace.… We get token new pieces by composers du jour, but almost nothing of our musical heritage…. We neglect finely crafted and engaging music by other 20th-century composers, among them Schuman, Walter Piston and Howard Hanson. And we can’t fully appreciate our 20th-century music without knowing at least something of excellent earlier composers including John Knowles Paine, George Whitefield Chadwick, Edward MacDowell and Horatio Parker. None of this is remotely challenging fare. It is music that tells us about who we are as a nation, where we came from, how we integrated and transformed different cultures.”

Posted January 23, 2014