Talkin' 'Bout My Generation

Piano music from the young and the young at heart

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Among the many perks of New York City concert-going, consistent exposure to new music by young composers is difficult to top. Many of these composers are establishing themselves as concert hall (or nightclub) mainstays, and collectively have begun redefining our conceptions – and flattening our preconceptions – of what contemporary classical music actually means today.

This week Hammered! showcases piano music of this promising and increasingly prominent generation of composers, keeping the age limit – with a few “young at heart” exceptions – to 30-something.

Prominent venues all over New York are increasingly making it a programatic priority to promote new works by young composers. CONTACT!, the New York Philharmonic's adventurous and consequential contemporary music series that tends to feature world premieres by these youngsters, is one such series. In coordination with next weekend’s CONTACT! concerts, the cornerstones of this week’s Hammered! come from CONTACT! commission recipients, including James Matheson, Nico Muhly, Sean Shepherd, and Arthur Kampela. Expect to also hear music by CONTACT! curator and ever-modern New York Philharmonic composer-in-residence Magnus Lindberg.

A veritable surfeit of remarkable music fills out the rest of the week. You’ll hear a few of Q2’s household new music names, like Timo Andres, Tristan Perich, and Kevin Puts, but also - among others - scores from Gabriel Prokofiev, Caleb Burhans, Ryan Francis, Bent Sorensen, Julian Day, and Avner Dorman, whose album of concertos recorded by the Metropolis Ensemble was recently nominated for a Grammy.

To keep all this youthful energy in check, a few tracks will be mixed in from the vital and energetic John Adams (Luther and Coolidge), Steve Reich, and birthday boy Elliott Carter (102 on December 11!).

Who are we missing? Leave your suggestions and we’ll consider them for future Web cast.

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