Celebrating gay and lesbian composers, Olivia Giovetti fills in for Nadia Sirota
Monday, July 04, 2011
Usually, we remember where we were when national tragedy hits. However, I'm willing to bet that we'll someday be telling our grandchildren where we were on the night of Friday, June 24, when the New York State legislature approved a gay marriage bill—becoming the sixth state of the union to legalize same-sex marriage.
I got the call when we were leaving the celebratory and life-affirming The Cunning Little Vixen at the New York Philharmonic. Friends in the audience for The Normal Heart heard the news announced from the stage and one friend discovered the passing when he went to take his dog out for an evening walk in the West Village. The amount of love passing around the city and Internet ether was flooring.
We're continuing the love this week with a celebration of gay and lesbian composers. We kick off with the jubilant Chichester Psalms by Leonard Bernstein, who, in Alex Ross's words, was gay "on certain days of the week" and grappled with his sexuality at a time when society was closely closeted (one imagines that he tapped into his own personal struggles when penning his 1983 opera, A Quiet Place).
We also look at real-life musical partners like Samuel Barber and Gian Carlo Menotti or John Corigliano and Mark Adamo, and even go back in time to hear the radical musical leanings of such greats as Tchaikovsky and Benjamin Britten, while also setting the dial forward to hear works by Corey Dargel, Meredith Monk and Eve Beglarian.
I'm also really excited to share with you this archival interview (with music!) between this show's regular host Nadia Sirota and composer Nico Muhly, which was produced as part of WNYC's 2009 Homophony Festival—a festival marking the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots that also included Alex Ross and Ann Powers discussing secretive and coded histories in 20th-century music with Terrance McKnight, Pauline Oliveros elaborating on the experimental music scenes on both coasts and Kiki and Herb talking with David Garland.
With so much to celebrate, we're not at a loss for music to play and composers to celebrate this week. But tell me, who are some of your favorite out composers?