Classical music is no longer about dead, White European males…

There’s a wonderful piece “After Tahrir, New Voices in a Global Fugue” written by Mohammed Fairouz as part of a series called “The Score” which is described:

The Score features the writings of composers on their work and the issues involved in creating music in the 21st century, as the traditional notion of “classical” continues to be reconsidered, revised and reimagined. The guest curator of the series is Daniel Felsenfeld.

The paragraph from where I derived my title, which is one of the longstanding contentions within classical music as so many repertoire choices become ossified when stopping at the 19th century, follows:

The era of the white European male as the only model for a typical composer has long been history. This is not to dismiss the value of an important stream of musical thought and development, but rather to acknowledge that this tradition is now part of something larger and more inclusive. Today in the United States, we are witnessing the emergence of previously unheard voices, like those in Tahrir Square. Composers from China to the Middle East are among the most important working in America today. (The current Pulitzer Prize winner, Zhou Long, from China, is a notable example.) What is even more exciting is that nearly all composers are reaching for, and drawing musical materials from, their roots. These roots can be a drum kit, a bluegrass fiddle, folk dances from Mount Lebanon, DJ mixes, Arabic Maqam (modes), the bending notes of the sitar or the nay and infinite others. These composers are now comfortable articulating in fresh ways the music in which they have been most immersed.

I don’t think I can say anything about this piece any better than Fairouz did, so just read the piece and take a listen to the “Tahrir for Clarinet and Orchestra” for some Klezmer clarinet goodness by the ever wonderful David Krakauer!


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