This month on Hammered! we invite three pianists to curate episodes focused on the diverse body of keyboard music generated by some of the twentieth and twenty-first century's most revolutionary musicians. Listen in 11 am and pm all this week for episodes hosted by the fearless Kathleen Supové.
"Groundbreaking Composers Who Changed Music Forever" is how the San Francisco Symphony and Carnegie Hall described the American Maverick Festival. I found myself thinking that the description belies the title, since isn’t one of the great features of maverick artists that they may not change things? Take Terry Riley. He has written what many people believe to be the ur-minimalist work, In C. But much of his life has been spent outside of music circles and outside of major music centers in America. Instead, he has gone around the world, touring with his breathtaking evening-length piano recitals, and leading pilgrimages to India, just two activities from his multifaceted life.
When one thinks of American Mavericks, several names immediately come to mind: John Cage, Lou Harrison, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, John Adams, and a few others. In my series, I tried to focus on artists other than these, some of whom are underplayed, some young and not yet well known and some I believe to be Mavericks in ways that perhaps you don't expect.
The lineup includes: Terry Riley, Phyllis Chen, Charlemagne Palestine, Tristan Perich, Joan La Barbara, Morton Subotnick, Carolyn Yarnell, Randall Woolf, Missy Mazzoli, Lukas Ligeti, Annie Gosfield, Frederic Rzewski, Angelica Negron, Milton Babbitt and John Luther Adams. This is part of the Hammered! series, so pianos, toy pianos, Disklaviers, bowed pianos, keyboards, and electronic effects are all fair game. The music is not only innovative, but it’s compelling as can be and the performers are stellar.
Hammered. Mavericks. Enjoy.
As a footnote, I want to mention some more composers that are worth checking out. There are many more interesting people than could be programmed. This list is substantial, though it certainly isn’t exhaustive: David Del Tredici, Earle Brown, Timo Andres, Gabriel Kahane, Jed Distler, David Borden, Julius Eastman, Neil Rolnick, Morton Feldman, Pauline Oliveros, Eve Beglarian, Annea Lockwood, Corey Dargel, Matt Marks, Ryan Brown, Cecil Taylor, Jason Moran ...