New Boston Modern Orchestra Project recordings capture city’s time as a center of composition

Posted on: April 12, 2021

“When I moved to Massachusetts in the mid-1970s to start a doctorate at Boston University … I didn’t realize what a center the Boston area was for contemporary music,” writes Anthony Tommasini in Friday’s (4/9) New York Times. “If you wanted to be on the front lines of the battle between severe ‘uptown’ music and rebellious ‘downtown’ postmodernism, you headed to New York. If you were drawn to mavericks and intrigued by non-Western cultures, especially Asian music, you probably found your way to Los Angeles or San Francisco. But if you wanted a classic education, studying with a true master composer—and at that time, almost all the major university composers were white men—you went to Boston…. Keeping that legacy alive is part of the mission of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and its record label BMOP/sound. The ensemble champions modern and new music from all over. But according to its founder and artistic director, Gil Rose, 40 or 45 percent of its recordings have been of works by Boston-area composers…. Three recordings are especially exciting: Gunther Schuller’s overlooked opera The Fisherman and His Wife and albums of orchestral works by Leon Kirchner and Harold Shapero.”