Composer Andrew Norman: expanding symphonic styles

Posted on: November 30, 2015

“When Andrew Norman was growing up, Star Wars was the only film his family owned on video,” writes William Robin in Sunday’s (11/29) New York Times. “Fascinated by John Williams’s classic score, Mr. Norman decided when he was young that he wanted to be a composer. If not quite as eagerly anticipated as The Force Awakens, the premiere of Mr. Norman’s latest work—Split, a mercurial piano concerto written for Jeffrey Kahane and the New York Philharmonic, on Dec. 10 at David Geffen Hall—is still a major event in the music world. With an uncanny gift for daringly theatrical symphonic writing, Mr. Norman has found increasing support among major orchestras and praise from critics.… Part of the appeal of his music is a sense of sweep that harks back to the symphonies of Beethoven, whose orchestral writing represented a kind of public oratory. But rather than draw on old forms, Mr. Norman’s feverish style pulls concepts from architecture, games and digital media.… Many of Mr. Norman’s contemporaries focus on the orchestra’s sonic palette, making subtle narratives that emphasize combinations of instrumental color. Mr. Norman instead treats an ensemble as a grandly theatrical apparatus.”

Posted November 30, 2015

Pictured: Andrew Norman, in the middle wearing a tie, at a performance of his percussion concerto Switch with the Utah Symphony in November. Photo by Fred Hayes/Utah Symphony