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Sunday, January 28, 2018

More of the Same

Michael Tilson Thomas, outgoing music director of SFS, will be opening the 2018-19 Carnegie Hall season by curating a Perspective series there. He'll be conducting several orchestras: the National Youth Orchestra of the United States, San Francisco Symphony, the New World Symphony, and the VPO.

And it's hard to tell exactly what perspective or vision he's bringing to the series, because it is basically more of the same of what he does here. The composers are largely dead, entirely white, and mostly male.

Here are the dead composers: Gershwin, Sibelius, Ravel, Stravinsky, Ives, Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, Prokofiev, Berlioz, Schubert, aka, nothing unusual.

Here are the living composers: MTT, Ted Hearne, Julia Wolfe. And the three works by the living are performed by the New World Symphony and National Youth Orchestra. Shall we ask what that means about the VPO and SFS?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't think I know Julia Wolf, but Ted Hearne (sp) is not a composer whose work I think well enough of to consider worthy for a festival or as a good representative of living composers.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Wolf's best-known piece is Anthracite Fields, which won the Pulitzer a few years ago. I saw it performed at Cal Performances last year and liked it a lot. I don't think I've heard any Hearn yet.

But my main point here is that the programming for the Carnegie Hall Perspectives series is nothing special and could have simply been lifted from any SFS year in the last five or six.

Anonymous said...

I recognize that point, but wanted to make the additional point that even within that context, Hearne (was it they who misspelled it?) was not an inspiring choice.

Lisa Hirsch said...

The misspelling, now corrected, was entirely my own.

Alex Ross said...

It's Wolfe, not Wolf. Not to be confused with Christoph Wolff, Christian Wolff, Zachary Woolfe, Hugo Wolf, or Virginia Woolf.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I somehow feel that I should start over, given my inability to pick up the names correctly from the Carnegie blurbage.