February 25, 2012 5:04:40 PM EST
“American Mavericks” series. The usual suspects: Ives, Ruggles, Cage, Feldman, etc. plus whichever young(er) ones can be wedged in between those. So, then who are the un-mavericks? Copland? Or just other American composers not considered important nowadays, like Howard Hanson? I think “mavericks” are the American composers. I’ll be a little snarky and question John Adams as a “maverick.” LIke him or not (I like Shaker Loops), he seems more of a Copland/Hanson mix than a Cage/Ives kind of person.
“Who Changed Music Forever.” Well, not a claim I’d want to make about (again: like ’em or not) Mason Bates, David Del Tredici, Elliot Sharp, Jennifer Higdon, Missy Mazzoli. Martin Bresnick. Granted, maverick is a marketing term, and it’s been around for a long time to rope a bunch of composers together without otherwise branding them. But that was then (decade or so ago)… Ho hum now. And finally, every festival is political in that after the banner of great masters passes, others will be chosen by someone to fill in the ranks behind. The choosers are key to understanding this.
Thumbnail review of the brochure for Michael Tilson Thomas’s “American Mavericks,” March, 2012, New York.