How to present challenging music to audiences?

Posted on: March 13, 2018

“Even as some of their works are almost a century old, modernists like Ligeti, Pierre Boulez, and Ruth Crawford Seeger still pose a challenge. What are you supposed to pay attention to? How should you listen to this stuff?” writes Ryan Ebright in Friday’s (3/9) New York Times. “To answer these questions, ensembles are rejecting a longstanding premise … that music is best appreciated through hearing the abstract structural relationships between its various elements…. When the ensemble Alarm Will Sound performs Ligeti’s music at Carnegie Hall on March 16 [it will use] Ligeti’s early life experiences to illuminate his later music, using a mixture of storytelling, recorded audio and performance … Nadia Sirota … co-host for the Carnegie show … developed it alongside Alarm Will Sound’s artistic director and conductor, Alan Pierson…. In recent years, the San Francisco, New World and National symphonies, and other orchestras, have offered their own nontraditional concerts…. This June, [Ensemble Dal Niente] will play a world premiere by Sky Macklay and [Schoenberg’s] ‘Pierrot Lunaire.’ … ‘We’re going to stage “Pierrot” as a sort of cabaret piece,’ said [Dal Niente conductor Michael] Lewanski…. ‘Parts of it are weird, so let it be weird.’ ”

Posted March 13, 2018