As part of our American Mavericks concert, we’re showcasing two masters of minimalism: John Adams and Philip Glass. According to Artistic Director & Conductor Jung-Ho Pak, “Minimalism takes away the structure of rhythm, harmony and melody, and alters your perception of time.” Pretty trippy, right?
It’s fitting that the style first began in the 1960s. Philip Glass was one of the first composers to write minimalist music, starting in 1967, and he’s still composing today at the age of 80.
In his “Anniversary Overture,” Glass combines Romantic ideas with minimalism. Jung-Ho says that “he uses the orchestra as a huge palette of colors.” Composed in 2012, the piece is about the 100th anniversary of the War of 1812, between the United States and Britain. That’s the war in which Britain burned down the White House! Glass took inspiration from Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” which everyone knows from Fourth of July celebrations. Not everyone knows that Tchaikovsky’s piece commemorates a battle between Russia and France, and has nothing to do with the United States! But thanks to Glass, we now have a piece of music that celebrates America’s victory – although it’s very challenging for the orchestra and will probably never be performed with fireworks in the background!
John Adams is ten years younger than Glass and began composing minimalist music exactly ten years later than he did, in 1977. “The Chairman Dances,” written in 1985, is subtitled “Foxtrot for Orchestra,” has been described by Adams as an “outtake” from his opera Nixon in China, about President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China in 1972. Adams liked to write about relevant, important topics, and according to Jung-Ho, “he used the orchestra in a deft way, and changed the direction of classical music.”
Tickets are going fast for American Mavericks on May 5 and 6, also featuring the music of Leonard Bernstein. Buy online or call us at 508.362.1111.