Results of Q2 Music's Third Annual New-Music Countdown

Bring in the New Year with the Best Music of the Last 100 Years

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Silver in the Sky: Confetti in Times Square on New Year's Eve

A few weeks ago, we invited Q2 Music listeners to vote on their favorite classical music of the last 100 years. The ballots have been cast and Saturday, December 28 at 12 pm, we'll begin our third annual New-Music Countdown. This year's choices are the most varied yet – while they include of winners from last year's countdown, there are plenty of surprises, making an eclectic survey of classical music composed after January 1, 1914.

Join us in bringing in 2014 with your favorite 100 pieces of the last 100 years.

The countdown runs Saturday and Sunday from 12 pm to midnight and continues Monday from 4 pm to midnight. On Tuesday, Dec. 31st, beginning at 11 am, host Phil Kline will celebrate the New Year with a countdown of the top 20 choices.

You can check this page for updates of the countdown list every few hours.

Check out the results of our 2012 New-Music Countdown as well as WQXR's 2012 Classical Countdown.

The Countdown

100: Arnold Schoenberg - String Trio
99. Olivier Messiaen - Oiseaux exotiques
98. Jennifer Higdon - Violin Concerto
97. Einojuhani Rautavaara - Piano Concerto
96. Leos Janacek - String Quartet No. 2
95. Gerard Grisey - Vortex Temporum (I)
94. John Luther Adams - Dark Waves
93. Tobias Picker - Old and Lost Rivers
92. Arvo Part - Te Deum
91. Meredith Monk - New York Requiem
90. Elliott Carter - String Quartet No. 2
89. Donnacha Dennehy - That the Night Come
88. Iannis Xenakis - Metastasis
87. György Ligeti - Lux Aeterna
86. Terry Riley - Salome Dances for Peace (excerpts: "The Gift" and "Good Medicine")
85. Sergei Prokofiev - Symphony No. 5
84. Lou Harrison - Suite for Violin, Piano and Small Orchestra
83. Witold Lutosławski - Cello Concerto
82. David Lang - Death Speaks
81. Luciano Berio - Folk Songs
80. Karlheinz Stockhausen - Stimmung
79. Steve Reich - Double Sextet
78. Kaija Saariaho - L'amour de loin
77. Jean Sibelius - Symphony No. 7
76. Igor Stravinsky - L'histoire du Soldat
75. Edgard Varese - Poeme Electronique
74. John Adams - Short Ride in a Fast Machine
73. Edgard Varese - Ionisation
72. Caroline Shaw - Partita for 8 Solo Voices
71. Alban Berg - Lyric Suite
70. John Adams - The Chairman Dances
69. György Ligeti - Atmospheres
68. Béla Bartók - String Quartet No. 6
67. Glenn Branca - Symphony No. 3
66. Ralph Vaughan Williams - Fantasy on a theme of Thomas Tallis
65. Thomas Adès - Polaris
64. Sergei Rachmaninoff - Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
63. Samuel Barber - Knoxville: Summer of 1915
62. George Crumb - Music for a Summer Evening
61. Thomas Adès - Asyla
60. Igor Stravinsky - Apollo
59. Philip Glass - String Quartet No. 5
58. Morton Feldman - Rothko Chapel
57. Leonard Bernstein - Chichester Psalms
56. John Cage - String Quartet in Four Parts
55. John Adams - Shaker Loops
54. Henri Dutilleux - Metaboles
53. George Crumb - Black Angels
52. Benjamin Britten - Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings
51. Edgard Varese - Density 21.5
50. David Lang - Little Match Girl Passion
49. Charles Ives - Symphony No. 4
48. Béla Bartók - String Quartet No. 4
47. Arvo Part - Spiegel im Spiegel
46. Aaron Copland - Quiet City
45. Benjamin Britten - Peter Grimes ("Four Sea Interludes")
44. Arvo Part - Fratres
43. Béla Bartók - Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste
42. Ralph Vaughn Williams - The Lark Ascending
41. Sergei Prokofiev - Piano Concerto No. 3
40. Philip Glass - Satayagraha (3 excerpts)
39. Olivier Messiaen - Turangalila Symphonie
38. Maurice Ravel - Bolero
37. Steve Reich - Different Trains
36. Krzystof Penderecki - Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima
35. John Cage - 4'33''
34. Edward Elgar - Cello Concerto
33. Aaron Copland - Fanfare for the Common Man
32. Samuel Barber - Violin Concerto
31. Arvo Part - Tabula Rasa
30. Alban Berg - Violin Concerto
29. Benjamin Britten - Ceremony of Carols
28. Luciano Berio - Sinfonia
27. George Gershwin - An American in Paris
26. John Cage - Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano
25. Edgard Varese - Ameriques
24. Igor Stravinsky - Symphony of Psalms
23. Henryk Gorecki - Symphony No. 3
22. George Gershwin - Concerto in F
21. Ferde Groffe - Grand Canyon Suite
20. John Adams - Harmonielehre
19. Alban Berg - Wozzeck
18. Sergei Prokofiev - Romeo and Juliet
17. Gustav Holst - The Planets
16. La Monte Young - The Well-Tuned Piano
15. Jean Sibelius - Symphony No. 5
14. Carl Orff - Carmina Burana
13. Benjamin Britten - War Requiem
12. Olivier Messiaen - Quartet for the End of Time
11. Samuel Barber - Adagio for Strings
10. Terry Riley - In C
9. Leonard Bernstein - Candide
8. Leonard Bernstein - West Side Story
7. Philip Glass - Einstein on the Beach
6. John Adams - The Dharma at Big Sur
5. Dmitri Shostakovich - Symphony No. 5
4. George Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue
3. Béla Bartók - Concerto for Orchestra
2. Aaron Copland - Appalachian Spring
1. Steve Reich - Music for 18 Musicians


More in:

Comments [15]

Louise V. North from New Jersey

May I suggest that, for future Countdowns, you merge the "Classical" and "New Music" lists? Having one list would make the Countdown more interesting, not to mention that listeners would finally be able to hear music written in the last 25 years on the air.

Jan. 03 2015 07:53 PM
Mary Stevenson from Irvington, NY

I didn't listen at the end because I was so sure that Beethoven's Ninth or some other Beethoven would be first, as it has been every other year! Did you eliminate some composers as having appeared too frequently? And I was so sure I heard Brhams German Requiem, didn't listen to end, also Mozart Requiem, which I have sung repeatedly. I do love them, and have asked for more choral music, which I think you had ignored. There are a lot of choral singers, both amateur and professional in the NY area. Not on the list? I do applaud all the newer Composers, I hope you will play more of them day by day.

Jan. 02 2015 03:30 PM

Also have to say it's not everyday that one encounters a list where Stockhausen and Ferde Grofe are both "members of the club". I had a nice chuckle from this I must say; I have an occasional soft-spot for "Americana" and I happen to like Stockhausen as well. In any event such juxtapositions are funny, or at least to an immature obsessive overtalking musicophile like myself :D

Jan. 13 2014 02:44 PM

I must say i am absolutely stunned and wholly perplexed that Alan Hovhaness didn't make the list at all. I think it's safe to say that his "Mysterious Mountain" (Symphony #2) is one of the towering masterpieces of the 20th century.
Or the "Prayer of Saint Gregory" for trumpet and strings; it's an ethereal piece that imo trumps "Adagio for strings", admittedly a great piece/excerpt from Barber's string qt. The Tobias Picker is "pleasant" enough, a bit
and sentimental..but i can't believe that made the list and AH did not! (or how about Martinu's great concerti or anything Vagn Holmboe penned?? and on and on..) Yes it's all very subjective i suppose but many listeners i'm guessing choose largely from the WQXR/Q2 playlists that they "know". Hovhaness does get airplay so i'm that much more surprised!

Jan. 13 2014 02:25 PM
Stanis Mihm from Red Bank, N.J.

Maybe this will bw a wake up call to WQXR music directors that not everyone wants "your early morning Bach".
Please lets put an end to it in 2014.

Jan. 07 2014 01:44 PM
Daryn Kent-Duncan from New York City

An incredibly disappointing list. Very few of the greatest composers are even listed. No list without Chopin is serious. Only one Rachmaninoff. No Tchaikovsky. And even though they're not my personal favorites, omitting Bach and Beethoven simply isn't credible.

Jan. 03 2014 01:12 PM
kakerino from Central oregon

Copland's Appalachian Spring and Barber's Adagio for strings are on both the Classical and the New Music countdowns which leads me to wonder how each musical subset is being defined.

Jan. 03 2014 12:35 PM
mark from NJ

My biggest surprise in this list was Zoe Keating's conspicuous absence: judging by the airtime she gets on Q2, Pandora, etc I thought she was more popular than WQXR's vote would suggest.

Jan. 02 2014 12:57 PM
Jeff from Jerusalem, Israel

A very diverse list of pieces; one of the reasons that I frequently listen to Q2. I love classical music in general, but I like being challenged by the new.

It would be wonderful if someone or some company could build a compilation set of discs that collected the various pieces that make this list up. I know that the copyright issues would be very difficult to overcome, but this could be a great seller, and would be a wonderful way of introducing people to the new classical music. Well a man can dream.

Jan. 02 2014 09:07 AM
Jackie from Washington DC

It was an interesting juxtaposition in the end. The old modern versus the new contemporary - Steve Reich Number 1 while Aaron Copland as Number 2, then Einstein on the Beach with a surprising showing just edging out Leonard Bernstein. The contrast could not be more compelling. It was a great countdown - Q2 listeners are a diverse group - that is a good thing.

Jan. 01 2014 12:58 PM

David: This is a "new-music" countdown--best music from the last 100 years. For older music, try WQXR's list:!/story/wqxrs-2013-classical-countdown/

Dec. 31 2013 11:38 PM
David from Brooklyn, NY

Why are most of these not classical pieces but more modern pieces? A few years ago it was not like that--most pieces were "classics" by famous composers of years gone by, such as Bach, Handel, Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, Chopin, etc. Will you please tell me what changed? And even if people voted for them, why are they included a CLASSICAL countdown if they are not classical?

Dec. 31 2013 10:30 PM
Bonnie Wright from San Diego, CA

I've listened all day and am thrilled that Music for 18 Musicians is top choice. I've only heard it live a couple of times, at Bang on a Can Marathon and UCSD. I love it: amazing music. Thank you for this day of great music. I have saved the list and will make sure I hear it again and again.

Dec. 31 2013 10:27 PM
Joy from Ocala, FL

Thank you so much for playing Bruckner’s 8th Symphony! Wow, did it ever bring back happy memories! I heard this performed by the Vienna Philharmonic at the Musikverein in Vienna 13 years ago, conducted by Zubin Mehta. What an exciting performance it was! I was like a kid in a candy store sitting in the 4th row, close enough to see the performers and even smile at the one cute violinist. It was one of my all-time dreams- come-true to be there to hear them at the beautiful Musikverein. Thanks for bringing all of those memories back to me.

Dec. 30 2013 03:38 PM

My brother just told me about the "Top 100" countdown . . . which inspired this suggestion: Why not a "Top 100" of the highest grossing or most-often-pirated classical pieces. This would include items like "Bolero," "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik," "Fur Elise," "William Tell Overture," "Gaities Parisiennes," "Ode to Joy," "Also Sprach Zarathustra," several waltzes, and all those pieces that accompany cartoon films - especially old cartoon films.

Dec. 30 2013 12:48 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

The WQXR e-newsletter. Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.

Follow WQXR 







About Q2 Music

Q2 Music is WQXR’s multiplatform home for musical discovery and dynamic new classical music from trailblazing composers, ensembles and leading New York new-music venues. Q2 Music's 24/7 stream lives online at and is accessible via the free WQXR app.


Follow Q2 Music