Hear JoAnn Falletta's Discussion With Robert Siegel
Our country's culture is a vast conglomeration of more than 200 years of influences from all over the world. We have taken what began as an extraordinary European tradition and expanded that legacy on American soil. We have added our essential egalitarianism, our love of experimentation, our inclusiveness and our boldness to the very form of the symphony. Americans have not been bound by one definition of the symphony, and composers have applied that formal name to pieces of varying length, structure and content.
The Special Focus for July is Jonn Serrie. Originally known for long-form space-music journeys, leading planetarium composer Jonn Serrie has been looking to the heavens for inspiration for decades. Using both analog and digital synthesizers, his rhythmic outings often have an understated heroic and sometimes romantic feel. He has had numerous works commissioned for planetariums around the world and has reshaped and redefined ambient space music. In addition to his many albums, his body
We taped this Field Recording shortly after Hurricane Sandy devastated communities in and around New York and New Jersey. One of those affected was drummer Nasheet Waits, who had lost his kit in the storm's waters. Luckily, the Steve Maxwell drum store in midtown Manhattan was willing to lend a hand — and one gray morning, we found ourselves in a gem of a space, surrounded by an incredible array of instruments, including Elvin Jones' setup.
Led by Tracyanne Campbell's effortlessly breezy voice, Camera Obscura's easygoing new album arrived just in time for summer. During the indie-pop band's recent live session on Morning Becomes Eclectic, Campbell credited Desire Lines' fresh and upbeat aura to recording in Portland, Ore., instead of Camera Obscura's hometown of Glasgow. Here, the band performs its new song "Do It Again."
Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony have been consistent champions of American music of all shapes and sizes. Are there — or will there be — American symphonies that stand with those of Mozart and Beethoven, Mahler and Shostakovich?
Critics and fans love a good debate over the great American novel or great American movie. But what about the great American symphony?
Is there one? If not, why? If so, which symphonies are good candidates for the title? (Check out our Spotify list for some contenders.) And in the land of the melting pot, what does it mean for a symphony to be "American" in the first place?
Dayna Stephens is a patient musician. The 34-year-old tenor saxophonist and composer fashions supple, searching improvisations that brim with melodic cogency. His compositions often exude a widescreen sensibility with languid, narrative-like passages, suspenseful interludes and sumptuous harmonies.