Looking back at the history of music since 1945 one can clearly see the musicians who took on the newly developing repertoire with all its difficulties both in performance and in selling it to an audience. These are the performers who introduced these new pieces to unsuspecting audiences and lovingly nurtured them to the place they now hold in the canon of musical masterpieces.
I’m speaking here of people like David Tudor, champion of the New York School (Cage, Feldman, Brown and Wolff) as well as a composer in his own right. I’m speaking of ensembles like the Kronos Quartet and the Arditti Quartet, champions of innovators in music for string quartet. I’m also speaking of conductors including Serge Koussevitzky, Leopold Stokowski, Leonard Bernstein and a host of others who daringly programmed new music and even sometimes endeared their audiences in so doing.
These are the people who brought that fascinating repertoire to my ears and those of many over the years They are the people who also taught me why this music needs to be heard, whose enthusiasm communicated the depth in the scores they lovingly rehearsed and performed.
These musicians are part of a tradition, that of championing new music. They widen and deepen the repertory by their selection, interpretation and performances of music that is new or not yet well-known. They are the high priests and priestesses of the religion of sonic culture. And as they fade into history they leave a vacuum which must be filled.
My intention here is to identify some of the musicians I have discovered who seem to be taking up residence in that vacuum. I am starting a series of articles in which I intend to share what I believe to be important cultural finds both in the musicianship and the emerging repertory.
As always I am open to any and all suggestions for inclusion here. I would like to know who is going to introduce me to my next favorite musical discovery.
My first article, currently in preparation, will be on the French pianist Nicolas Horvath. His significant presence in social media makes him almost hard to miss and relatively easy to research. Please stay tuned.