Tonight at 8 pm, Q2 Music streams the next installment of the New York Philharmonic's CONTACT! series, with premieres of works by Unsuk Chin, Poul Ruders, Yann Robin and Anders Hillborg.
The legendary pianist and Cold War icon Van Cliburn died of bone cancer in his Fort Worth, Texas, but leaves behind a powerful legacy.
On March 14, Q2 Music and New Sounds Live presented a live webcast of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, featuring new works by Anna Clyne, Dan Deacon, Tyondai Braxton and others. Listen to the whole show on demand.
On Feb. 6, Q2 Music presented a live webcast of indie favorites Clogs and Orchestra for the Next Century, and the premiere of Sarah Kirkland Snider's new song cycle, Unremembered. Listen to the full show.
Check out this 6-minute animated tale of mayhem, poultry, and rhythm.
Tonight at 7:30 pm, Q2 Music presents a live audio webcast of singer-instrumentalist Carla Kihlstedt with the International Contemporary Ensemble, live from the Ecstatic Music Festival.
David Bowie unveils a birthday surprise for his fans, a new song and his first album in nearly ten years, The Next Step.
Soundcheck host John Schaefer says the best “End of the World” songs are the ones that leave you to imagine what’s happening.
Scott Walker found early success as part of the Walker Brothers, who were one of the biggest pop acts in the U.K. in the mid-1960's. But over the years, Walker has moved further and further from the harsh glare of the pop spotlight and into someplace far darker. The musician joins us in the studio to discuss his first new album in many years, Bish Bosch.
As part of our Remixing the Holidays series, we invited John Schaefer, host of WNYC's Soundcheck to give us a playlist of holiday songs. He recently asked his audience to name their top picks, but he didn't ask for just their favorite feel-good tunes.
Beck's new sheet music album Song Reader reminds John Schaefer of the old days, the 1970s.
Soundcheck host John Schaefer takes stock of the year in music, including favorite album, song and new artist of 2012.
John Schaefer recalls the Christmas song that scared the holiday cheer out of him.
John Schaefer explains how his baby photo was beamed into millions of homes on a recent episode of '30 Rock.'
A bill before Congress is both controversial and really, really boring. John Schaefer explains.
On Tuesday, Dec. 25 at 8 pm, Q2 Music presents the webcast premiere of the next installment in the New York Philharmonic's new-music series, CONTACT!, featuring works by Andy Akiho, Andrew Norman, Jude Vaclavik and the late Jacob Druckman.
Songs of joy, and music of mourning: Regardless of which presidential candidate you backed yesterday, your heart is, no doubt, singing a happy or sad song today. If you haven't picked out a playlist yet, John Schaeffer, host of WNYC's Soundcheck, has some suggestions for you.
News of Elliott Carter's death yesterday is on the front page of today's New York Times. But three years ago, Elliott Carter had been all over the TV news. This was not because of a great new piece he'd written, or to celebrate his Pulitzer Prizes in Music (yes, that's right, prizes -- plural).
No, Elliott Carter's great, newsworthy achievement was living to be 100 years old. To be present at your own centennial concert at Carnegie Hall was a story too good to pass up.
A year later, speaking to Carter at the annual League Of Composers concert at Miller Theater, I found him to be somewhat bemused by the whole thing. But he laughed when I introduced the event as the start of "Elliott Carter, the next hundred years." A year after that, he regaled us with tales of the founding of the League: Aaron Copland and he had competing composers organizations, an idea the young Carter found "silly." Last year, in 2011, Carter's hearing was dramatically worse, so he came prepared with something he wanted to say about the particular piece being performed that night. "After that," he told me, "you can ask me your crazy questions." I always thought this was just an expression, but I swear, there was an actual twinkle in his eyes when he said this.
Elliott Carter wrote music that for most listeners is impenetrable. I don't mean this either as a putdown or as some kind of sniffy "Oh you wouldn't understand" defense of his work. It's a simple fact, one that Carter was fine with. His music was challenging, intellectual, and uncompromising. Yet he was a very funny guy.
Carter wasn't at this year's League Of Composers concert, but he was at the NY Philharmonic's Contact series, conductor Alan Gilbert's new music events, so I got to talk to him then. By this point he was wheelchair bound, but still sharp as a tack. So there, in the august Metropolitan Museum of Art, surrounded by the distinguished musicians of the New York Philharmonic, I decided it was time for one of my crazy questions.
"I am not the only person who thinks that your works since you turned 90 are the best works of your career," I said. This, by the way, was true; I'd said it backstage to clarinetist Virgil Blackwell, Carter's assistant and the dedicatee of a recent Carter piece, and Blackwell had immediately agreed. "What have you been doing different since then?" Without missing a beat, he answered, "Well, I spent 90 years learning how to be Elliott Carter. I guess I've just gotten good at it."
Not bad for a 103-year-old.
Carter's recent music is so finely distilled, without a single extraneous note, that it becomes somewhat easier to hear the lyricism that has been lurking under the thorny exterior of his music. But that doesn't mean you should ignore the works of his youth, which in Carter's case means his mid 70s. The work that converted me was the piano piece "Night Fantasies," from the early 1980s.
I was not supposed to like Elliott Carter. He represented the old school, the dissonant, academic style that my heroes, Philip Glass and Steve Reich, were fighting against. But "Night Fantasies" is a brilliant depiction of an unsettled night, full of fleeting dreamlike images, spiky but atmospheric.
Tonight, I will be glued to the television, watching the election returns roll in. But I will make some time late this afternoon, maybe after the sun goes down, to listen to "Night Fantasies" again. If you're curious about this major figure in American music, maybe you should too.
Join Soundcheck host John Schaefer this Thursday from 9-11 p.m. ET for our special broadcast, "After The Storm: You Pick The Music."
On Thursday Q2 Music presented a live audio stream of the season-opening concert of the Brooklyn Philharmonic with world premieres from Ted Hearne, Kendall Williams, Matt Marks and more.