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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Carnegie Hall Commissions

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

Here is the URL:

The Carnegie Hall Commissions project is without question impressive in scope. Now a broad sampling of twenty two new works that were commissioned and performed can be heard on the venue's website as streaming media. Accompanying each work is a photograph and short bio of the composer, along with a related link to find out more.

Taken as a whole, this web resource is a good way to survey the zeitgeist of our musical culture, and attain a bird's eye view of what's being written today. While audiences have heard commissions specifically from Carnegie Hall since 1986 (with a piece by Leonard Bernstein), the commissioning process appears to be gaining momentum with no less than twelve new works performed in 2008 alone. Although familiar names can be found in the complete list (Carter, Babbitt, Reich), there are many new faces on the website and a wide-diversity of musical inclinations represented. I have to confess, that the under-thirty generation of composers is mostly new to me. I've never heard of them or their music, but clearly the public has. I have some catching up to do in order to stay on top the recent trends.

But how does a poor struggling composer get to Carnegie Hall?

Unfortunately the website does not provide a link to apply. Presumably it's a "don't call us, we'll call you" system. I would hope that being under-thirty and living in NYC is not a prerequisite. Then again, perhaps that's exactly what the public wants.