Conductor Cristian Măcelaru on creating socially relevant new music

Posted on: July 20, 2017

The story of Lidice, a Bohemian village destroyed by the Nazis in World War II, “came up the other day in a conversation with Cristian Măcelaru,” writes Mark MacNamara in Tuesday’s (7/18) San Francisco Classical Voice. Măcelaru is music director of the California Symphony, and “this year he was appointed music director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, which runs from July 30 through August 12…. [Says Măcelaru], ‘You think of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s beautiful poem, “Murder at Lidice” (October 1942) and how that prompted [works] like Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man and Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů’s funeral march, Memorial to Lidice (1943)…. Art needs to have social relevance…. Think of how [Mozart’s The Marriage of] Figaro was an incredible social statement at the time.” For this year’s Cabrillo Festival, “Măcelaru approached Karim Al-Zand, a 47-year-old Canadian American composer of Iraqi descent [who] teaches music theory at Rice University…. Al-Zand wrote The Prisoner, a work inspired by the story of Adnan Farhan Abd Al Latif, a Yemeni citizen imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay from January 2002 until his suicide 10 years later.” Măcelaru says he encourages composers to “make a statement and … say something you’re passionate about.”

Posted July 20, 2017