Results of Q2 Music's Inaugural New-Music Countdown

Email a Friend

Taking a cue from the entertaining WQXR 2011 Classical Countdown, Q2 Music asked listeners to vote for their favorite pieces of classical music composed in the 20th and 21st centuries. The resulting list, tallied from hundreds of votes, begins to offer some insights into tomorrow's classical canon. 

Our inaugural new-music countdown will run Saturday from 2 pm to midnight, and Sunday from 7am to midnight. We will be counting down the top 50 listener favorites. 

Thank you to everyone who participated, and if you have ideas for next year's countdown, e.g. favorite pieces post-WWII, of the 21st century, from American composers of 20th and 21st centuries), let us know! 

Disclaimer: Some pieces due to their length (I'm looking at you, Nixon and Einstein!) will be excerpted, but don't worry, the portions are all large in this hearty cornucopia of musical main courses. 


50. Samuel Barber — Violin Concerto, Op. 14

49. Osvaldo Golijov  Tenebrae

48. Osvaldo Golijov  St. Mark's Passion

47. Michael Gordon  Trance

46. Maurice Ravel String Quartet in F

45. Magnus Lindberg — Clarinet Concerto

44. Leonard Bernstein — West Side Story

43. Leonard Bernstein — Chichester Psalms

42. John Corigliano — Symphony No. 1

41. John Adams — Harmonielehre

40. Igor Stravinsky — The Rake's Progress

39. Gyorgy Ligeti — Lux Aeterna

38. Gyorgy Ligeti — Six Bagatelles for Woodwind Quintet

37. Gustav Mahler — Symphony No. 5

36. George Gershwin — Rhapsody in Blue

35. Elliott Carter — Concerto for Orchestra

34. Donnacha Dennehy — Gra Agus Bas

33. Darius Milhaud — Le boeuf sur le toit

32. Claude Debussy — La mer

31. Charles Ives — Piano Sonata No. 2, "Concord, Mass., 184-1860"

30. Bela Bartok — Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta

29. Arvo Part — Spiegel im Spiegel

28. Aaron Copland — Symphony No. 3

27. Steve Reich — Different Trains

26. Philip Glass — Einstein on the Beach

25. Luciano Berio — Sinfonia

24. John Cage — 4'33" (substitution: String Quartet in Four Parts)

23. John Adams — The Chairman Dances

22. Igor Stravinsky — Symphony of Psalms

21. Dmitri Shostakovich — String Quartet No. 8

20. David Lang — The Little Match Girl Passion

19. Bela Bartok — String Quartet No. 4

18. Bela Bartok — Concerto for Orchestra 

17. Arvo Part — Tabula Rasa

16. Terry Riley — In C

15. Louis Andriessen — De Staat

14. John Adams — Nixon in China 

13. John Adams — Dr. Atomic

12. Benjamin Britten — War Requiem

11. William Duckworth — The Time Curve Preludes 

10. Thomas Ades — Asyla

9. Morton Feldman — Rothko Chapel

8. Alban Berg — Violin Concerto

7. Olivier Messiaen — Turangalila Symphony

6. Aaron Copland — Appalachian Spring

5. Henryk Goreck — Symphony No. 3

4. Olivier Messiaen — Quartet for the End of Time

3. John Adams — The Dharma at Big Sur

2. Steve Reich — Music for 18 Musicians

1. Igor Stravinsky — The Rite of Spring