Life After 40

Olivia Giovetti fills in this week for Nadia Sirota

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Monday, April 25, 2011

The response to Q2 and NPR Music’s crowdsourced 100 Composers Under 40 project has been amazing and endlessly fascinating. As an under-40 myself, I’m constantly amazed by both the quality and quantity of new works churned out by my (far more talented) peers.

Of course, good music is good music, regardless of who churned it out. You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who admires Wagner for his personality and politics, but if the sold-out houses at the Metropolitan Opera this month are any indication, there are still plenty of folks who go bonkers for his music. Likewise, a work like Steve Reich’s rocking Double Sextet bears no indication that the composer was well into his '70s when he wrote it.

So this week we’re having some fun with our music-makers who, despite checking off a different box on the census, are ageless. Some just skirted the line (Matthias Pintscher, anyone?), others are courting triple-digits (hello, Elliott Carter!). Some of the works were written long before the mid-life point and others still bear wet ink.

And the funny thing is, many of the pieces written at the beginning of the last century have the same freshness and vibrancy of pieces written in the last couple of years. I dare you to try and tell what was written when -- and at what age -- in a blind listen. While you’re at it, if we were to make a list of Composers Over 40, who would be on your list?

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Olivia Giovetti
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Comments [3]

Hear, hear, Richard, I agree on the fine graphics we're seeing on q2live.org! Would love to see some credit where it's due!

Apr. 26 2011 03:16 PM

Sure would like to see credit for all of the great new graphics at Q2.

Apr. 25 2011 02:15 PM
Susan Scheid from Hudson Valley

First, thank you, Q2, for being there and doing everything you do! Here are some on my list: John Metcalf (the Welsh composer, not to be confused with John Metcalfe--some find him too "pretty," but listen on; there's a whole lot going on in this music), Peter Sculthorpe (Australian--gorgeous use of indigenous elements, among other things), Steve Reich, John Luther Adams, John Coolidge Adams, Arvo Pärt, Ned Rorem, Joan Tower

Apr. 24 2011 07:16 PM

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