Have you attended a concert yet? Don’t let February pass you by: it is the single best month to attend a concert of contemporary music in New York City! Check out the Calendar to find an event happening when you are free. Take advantage of today’s holiday to attend a performance of music by African-American composers.
If getting out to a concert this month is difficult, you might want to write a review of new recording or respond to an issue in the press, or write a post that is timely (look for composers celebrating birthdays right now, for example. Some ideas: Philip Glass (Jan. 31), John Adams (Feb. 15), John Corigliano (Feb. 16), Gyorgy Kurtag (Feb. 19))
Review one of the albums or pieces that won a Grammy last night. Since our course is mostly about “art” music we should start by looking under “Best Instrumental Composition” and then anything with “Classical” in the title, such as “Best Engineered Album, Classical”, “Best Orchestral Performance”, “Best Opera Recording”, “Best Choral Performance”, “Best Chamber Music / Small Ensemble Performance”, “Best Classical Instrumental Solo” etc. You might be pleasantly surprised by the music you discover here. Of course, we shouldn’t ignore Jazz and many other genres, but I think that Beyoncé and Adele get enough press without our help.
You might write something that is relevant for Black or African American History Month. Do a little research about a composer or an issue that is relevant today. Here’s is an article about a recent recipient of the Grawemeyer Award who was “deeply humbled” by the award, but questioned the lack of racial and gender diversity in the concert halls. (Remember, March is Women’s History Month, so look for topics that might be appropriate for future posts). Here’s another article in which several prominent African-American composers discuss race in contemporary music.