Tuesday, April 1, 2008

New York Sun: Atlanta Symphony's Robert Shaw Commissioned Ulysses S. Kay

[Ulysses Kay: Works for Chamber Orchestra; Metropolitan Philharmonic Orchestra; Kevin Scott, Conductor; Troy 961 (2007)]

The New York Sun
A Contemporary Tradition
Classical Music

By Fred Kirshnit
April 1, 2008

Although the traditional and the contemporary are often at odds in today's classical music world, Robert Spano will offer a compromise when he brings his Atlanta Symphony Orchestra to Carnegie Hall on Saturday evening: a tradition of presenting the contemporary.

The work in question is the New York premiere of the Here and Now by Christopher Theofanidis.”

While the work is an unusual composition, it is not surprising that the Atlanta Symphony is its vehicle; the symphony has been a leader in the introduction of contemporary works. When Robert Shaw took over the ensemble in the 1960s, he did much more than simply elevate its musical standards.”

Shaw was a tireless champion of the modern. He programmed Penderecki, Schoenberg, Lutoslawski, Ligeti, and Schuller, and also commissioned a work by Ulysses Kay, significantly for that time and place, a black composer. After his board complained, Shaw scheduled 10 uncompromising works by Charles Ives. The board asked for Shaw's resignation, but public outcry saved his position.” Full Article [Ulysses Simpson Kay, Jr. (1917-1995) is profiled at AfriClassical.com]

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