For a newcomer to Terry Riley, In C is where to begin, with its 53 melodic fragments passed back and forth between whatever instruments may have been assembled, and which are paced against the constant pulse of a piano’s top two Cs.
From time in the serialist trenches of academia to a position in the front ranks of the neoromantic movement, David Del Tredici has played a surfeit of roles over the last half-century. Read Seth Colter Walls's portrait, and listen to the composer introduce his works.
In recent decades, American composer David Lang has been best known as a founding member of the Bang On A Can collective – something of an activist-spirited composer/performer/educator outfit based in New York.
Born in 1985, Timothy Andres (occasionally billed, somewhat insouciantly, as “Timo”) works in the post-dogmatic era of contemporary American composition. This means, among other things, that Andres feels as much at home recomposing (and playing) Mozart’s “Coronation” Piano Concerto as he does taking part in a street performance of Mauricio Kagel’s Eine Brise (for 111 bicyclists).
Sitting at the crossroads of installation art, extended vocal technique and non-score-based rehearsal processes is one of America’s late-20th century masters: Meredith Monk.
Morton Subotnick has almost as many pioneering credits to his name as he does compositional ones. A leader of the San Francisco Tape Center in the '60s – a place where Terry Riley, Pauline Oliveros and many others took some of their earliest aesthetic steps – Subotnick has consulted (or commissioned) the building of synthesizers from the ground up, and also recorded the first electronic-music album meant just for listening, instead of live-performance miming. (So radical!)
Nico Muhly's Two Boys, which got its world premiere at English National Opera on Friday, was envisioned as part crime procedural, part online morality tale. Despite a choppy first act, Muhly's gripping music redeems this lurid tale.