As WTTW’s 10 Buildings that Changed America neared completion, WFMT got to thinking, what pieces of music have had that kind of significance? We decided to enlist the help of a broad swath of critics, composers, educators and conductors—the people who have had access to those who write music, access to the audiences, to the performers; and most importantly, to the music—and Lasting Impressions was born. These professionals, our panelists, responded with great passion to the following question: “Which single piece written in the last 25 years do you think will still be heard in 100 years?”
It should be noted: 1) there were no duplications 2) this is a list of works which our panelists feel have enduring value, but is in no way a list of the only pieces with enduring value 3) this list has a lot to do with Chicago’s musical scene. Most of our panelists are American, which probably skews the answers toward composers who are working in the U.S.—but there’s more to it than that; many composers from around the world choose the U.S. as home. Since the world wars, and before, the U.S. has been a beacon for composers seeking opportunity and creative freedom (including Hindemith, Stravinsky, Bartok, Schoenberg, Weill; to present day composers like Chen Yi, Elbio Barilari, and Shulamit Ran). Successful composers working in this country do tend to find their way to Chicago, from time to time. Hence, this list does break out of the Chicago bubble to some extent.
The broadcast of Lasting Impressions takes place throughout the day on Monday, May 13, starting at 9:00 AM. Here are the results.
If you’re interested in hearing some of the very latest compositions to roll off the printer (actually no, they don’t use vellum anymore), the Chicago Symphony’s new music series MusicNOW will feature a brand new piece by composer-in-residence Mason Bates, plus works by Saariaho, Theofanidis and Balter. This concert takes place on June 3 at the Harris Theater.