Mystery score

Mystery score

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

World Premieres, U.S. Orchestras, 2010-11

Here's the world premiere score card for orchestras I'm tracking:

New York Philharmonic (Gilbert): 7

Los Angeles Philharmonic (Dudamel): 9

San Francisco Symphony (Thomas): 1.5 (the .5 was expected this season, will be performed next)

Atlanta Symphony (Spano): 5

Chicago Symphony (Muti): 4 (but you really have to dig through the press release to figure this out)

Cleveland Orchestra (Walser-Most): Has not announced 2010-11 season yet

Boston Symphony Orchestra (Levine): Has not announced 2010-11 season, excepting their Carnegie Hall appearances, which will include a new violin concerto by Harrison Birtwistle, which Christian Tetzlaff will perform.

9 comments:

Henry Holland said...

I looked at the LA Phil premieres and I see they did their usual shananigans of having a chunk of them (3) by unknowns in one concert, in the Green Umbrella New Music ghetto. Another one is for organ, Salonen's is for solo piano, so that leaves Francisco Coll, whose music at least seems to acknowledge that the post-war avant-garde existed, plus the big ticket commissions for Barry, Golijov and Lieberson.

Not bad, it's better than a few years ago when they hyped "Nine World Premieres!!!!" and 7 of them were by unknowns on the same Green Umbrella concert.

Billy said...

Green Umbrella is not a ghetto, it's an opportunity to hear new small-ensemble works in a setting that allows for a better listening experience than subscription performances. Placing new music in a different context isn't "ghetto-izing" it, it's liberating it. That said, there should a balance between new music programming in subscription and special series, which L.A. does.

My *rough* tally of new music performances in L.A., Chicago, and New York.
http://seatedovation.blogspot.com/2010/02/new-music-old-orchestras.html

Lisa Hirsch said...

Totally agree with Billy about the Green Umbrella programs!

Billy, that's a great tally, THANK YOU. I will be looking it over carefully tomorrow and very likely hoisting it from the comments. More people should read that posting.

Anonymous said...

Look, if it's not the full orchestra, it doesn't count in the same way. It just doesn't, and it is useless to pretend that relatively inexpensive shows have the same heft as the big time. Regardless of the fact that they may be associated with the larger organization, they are part of the new music ghetto, and the reason it is a ghetto is because the regular season attendees hate that stuff (or think they do). Plus, a lot of composers of new music don't seem very interested in the old orchestra format (possibly because they can't get performances of music in that format - a self-fulfilling cycle).

Robert Gordon said...

Responding to Anonymmous: the Green Umbrella series in LA doesn't feel like a new music ghetto. The concerts may not sell out, but they sell pretty well (to my eye, 60 to 80% of the house), and the audiences are more mixed as to age and ethnicity than the full orchestra subscription concerts.

Also, at least in LA, the regular season attendees really don't "hate that stuff" -- they couldn't, there's too much of it. It didn't used to be that way, but Salonen's 20-year course in modern music gradually had its effect. By now I think LA audiences are really ready to listen to anything and enjoy whatever they find to enjoy.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Salonen and Dudamel are both programming a decent amount of new and recent music for the orchestra. I agree with Robert and Billy that the Green Umbrella concerts aren't a ghetto. They are good companion programs to the full orchestra concerts. I happen to think chamber music does count as important; so much important repertory of the 19th and 20th c. IS chamber music, after all.

Henry Holland said...

Green Umbrella is not a ghetto, it's an opportunity to hear new small-ensemble works in a setting that allows for a better listening experience than subscription performance

Bold is the key point. Yes, that setup is important, as Lisa noted, but look, if it's not the full orchestra, it doesn't count in the same way. It just doesn't, and it is useless to pretend that relatively inexpensive shows have the same heft as the big time

What it does is allow subscribers an easy way to opt out, in addition to not having people that don't want to hear that stuff trapped while they wait for Brahms.

Also, at least in LA, the regular season attendees really don't "hate that stuff" -- they couldn't, there's too much of it

I'm sorry, that's simply not true in a couple of ways. Yes, compared to mausoleums like Philly or Cleveland, the LAP does play a lot of non-standard rep, but compared to ensembles in Europe, they're pikers. Fine, the crowds here don't boo or walk out or sit in silence like elsewhere, but I'm 100% certain that a majority of the crowd would be quite content to never hear anything written after Strauss.

What Salonen has done is make stuff up to about ca. 1945 palatable, much as Pierre Boulez has spent his conducting career doing.

I have a bad habit of eves-dropping on people after concerts to gauge their reactions and I guarantee you, European modernist stuff is NOT popular with the "Music died with Brahms and Verdi" crowd. They tolerate it so they can hear their Beethoven and Mozart, just as I grit my teeth through Haydn and Brahms to get to pieces I like.

Let's be honest, how much of the "new music" that Salonen programmed was of the rightly-mocked "10 minute piece for orchestra that's always played as a curtain raiser for the 19th century piano or violin concerto that follows" variety?

Look at the reaction to two Salonen pieces: the ghastly John Adams Variations, erm, LA Variations got a standing ovation while the wonderfully High Modernist Insomnia got polite applause. The Philharmonic loves to pat themselves on the back for the adventurous crowds they draw, but it's easy to do when you segregate the new stuff from the standard repertoire via festivals or New Music Groups.

I'll give the New York Phil credit, they announced that they'll be doing 3 post-war classics, Stockhausen's Gruppen, Boulez' fab Rituel in Memorium Bruno Maderna and Lindberg's wonderfully user-hostile Kraft in the coming seasons. The question is: will they be done in the Contact! series or part of regular subscription concerts paired with the Beethoven 5th and a Mozart piano concerto? I would think the Contact! series because of the forces involved and the fact that both the Stockhausen and Boulez require very specific stage setups.

Michael Walsh said...

Maybe segregation is the answer.

SFS season ticket plans basically divide the season into four parallel tracks, and the ticket plan consists of buying seats to just one through all four of them. (I cut back from three to two this year, and will have to see the schedule before even buying one next year.)

With that infrastructure, they don't have to hide the new music in between the Tchaikovsky and Vivaldi like burying the brussels sprouts under the mashed potatoes. Just redistributing the works from this season would give you three-plus tracks of "traditional" fare and a whole track of modern stuff. The advantage here is that a new audience could gravitate to that last track and fill the seats vacated by the bluehairs.

Heck, it might finally give them a real measure of our interest in this beyond lame subscriber surveys.

Anonymous said...

NY Phil is doing "Kraft" next season, not further on. And will be done by full Orchestra.