Friday, May 23, 2008

68th Annual American Music Festival

I've received a press release about the 68th Annual American Music Festival, presented by WNYC. The blurbage starts this way:
The 2008 American Music Festival will explore “America’s Classical Music” by examining it in contrast to the established forms of Western European traditions. Recordings, interviews, and critical commentary will coalesce into an examination of the processes, styles, ensembles, and folk traditions that are uniquely and arguably authentically American. Oratorio will give way to spiritual, Pavarotti to Paul Robeson, string quartet to jazz combo, Beethoven to Ellington, waltz to rag, and bel canto to the blues.
All well and good, but here are all the names mentioned in the press release as participants or composers/performers to be discussed:

Charles Mingus, Paul Robeson, John Fahey, Frank Sinatra, William Bolton, Terrance McKnight, David Garland, William Bolcom, Jason Moran, Gunther Schuller, John Zorn, Grey Reverend (LD Brown), J. J. Johnson, Charles Mingus, George Handy, Duke Ellington, Bill Smith, Joe Venuti, Earl Hines, John Fahey, Glenn Jones, Duke Ellington, Paul Robeson, John Rockwell, Charles Ives, Les Baxter, Lennie Tristano, The Beach Boys, Ornette Coleman, Jerry Goldsmith, The Velvet Underground, John Coltrane, Frank Sinatra, Captain Beefheart, Jimmy Durante "and others."

Guests for one program are TBD.

I sent email in response:
Serious question - does "America's Classical Music" include women in any capacity? If not, why not? If so, why isn't there a single female name in this press release? Will music by American women composers even be mentioned in this festival?

3 comments:

Matthew said...

And did they really mention Duke Ellington twice? I mean, I'm a big fan, but somewhere, Billy Strayhorn is banging his head against a wall.

Olivia Walling said...

Go get 'em Iron Tongue. When will a woman be a classic?

Lisa Hirsch said...

Matthew, no - they mention Ellington three times.

Olivia, thanks - I've got an answer from the organizers that I'm going to post.