West Coast Meets Hudson Valley

Glory be, I am mentioned, quoted, and even pictured in tomorrow’s Times. It’s in Steve Smith’s advance piece on the New Albion festival that starts at Bard next Friday, August 1, and runs until the 10th. The ever-wonderful Sarah Cahill will play my Private Dances on the 2nd. You can read the entire program here (scroll down). Should be a fun ten days, with lots of Downtowners and California composers and musicians, all recorded on the New Albion label, running around in my (metaphorical) back yard.

By the way, you’ll notice that the Uptown-Downtown split gets mentioned in the article, not by me, but by composer Ingram Marshall. Guess he didn’t get the memo that there was never any such thing, or at least that there isn’t any more. Funny how I wasn’t the only one deluded into that peculiar perception.
UPDATE: The Times also contains an obituary for Norman Dello Joio (1913-2008). I played a delightfully bitonal piano sonatina by Dello Joio in high school (I can hear it in my head as I write this), and always found his work inventive and musical. A self-described “conservative,” but not a bad composer by any means (even if he did win a Pulitzer), and someone who didn’t deserve to fall off the radar as much as he has. Probably, in fact, a victim of the 12-tone years, as he himself seems to have thought.


  1. says

    Mr Gann, I’m curious how you reconcile your insistence that there was a 12-tone orthodoxy in American compositions with Joseph N. Straus’s research that serialists did not, in fact, have any position of power and were always outnumbered by conservatives or free atonalists.
    KG replies: You’ve got to read Anthony Tommasini’s deft skewering of Straus’s thesis in the July 9, 2000, Times:
    His basic point is that Straus took 1970 as his self-serving cut-off point, when everyone who complains about this knows full well that the situation worsened *after* that point, not before it. I also published a George Rochberg comment about Straus here:
    UPDATE: For a masterly and more detailed takedown of Straus, read this essay by composer John Halle:

  2. Ingram Marshall says

    Downtown/ uptown aside, what i found lacking in the article was any substance in terms of who and what is to be played. It was a
    “preview” after all.
    As for Razumovsky–silly! I shouldn’t have responded to that; it trivializes Foster’s contributions to my music.

  3. richard says

    Congrats on the write-up, but is your local beer up to snuff? The Bay Area has some great brewers!
    KG replies: The spiegeltent where the festival is sells varieties of Magic Hat, a microbrew from Burlington, Vermont. It’s quite good. We do have to keep the well-to-do NYC crowd happy up here.