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WFMT Chime In

Chime in: How to Approach New Music

This Saturday from 5-7 pm, WFMT’s Relevant Tones presents the second
annual Thirsty Ear Festival at City Winery, presenting some of finest
composers and musicians of new music today.

American composer Steven Stucky has written five pieces of advice
regarding listening to new music:

(1) don’t expect the wrong things; (2) be prepared for discontinuity;
(3) don’t try too hard; (4) expect new instruments, new sounds, and
new influences from other cultures; and (5) give yourself permission
to dislike what you hear.

Do you agree? What’s your advice for listening to new classical music?

Chime in today on or on our Facebook page.

  • Fred in Lincoln Square

    My advice is *listen*. Don’t think, don’t judge, don’t write a mental review, and for God’s sake don’t think about what other people might think! Just listen, and let the music speak to you. While I agree that you should give yourself permission to dislike the piece, don’t be afraid to be delighted, should it move you.

  • Ted Foin


    I support five stations around the country. It wasn’t more than two years ago that new music was almost never played. WFMT was the occasional exception, and Club Mod on was the only regular new music program I was aware of. But now things are changing, and once again WFMT is out in front, with Seth’s program and now today’s playlist. The key: edge from the overly familiar (Adams, Glass) rather than go “cold turkey” with the most adventurous and academic pieces. Give your audience a chance to get acclimated first. Educationally, this is the best was to give contemporary music a hearing.

  • Steve

    Start with the classics and look for something familiar. So much of classical music has been used for movies, tv shows, even Disney cartoons. Make the easy connections and explore.

  • Ann Raven

    I have been meaning to thank Seth Boustead for Evyian and Kerry Frumkin for Annie Fischer!

  • Ann Raven

    As far as new music is concerned, I think of it as exciting. We know the interface of society with 18th through 20th century composers. Now look how our world has changed and how the old and the new are affecting what contemporary composers throw out at us. MusicNow and Seth Boustead and the CSO introduce and help us to appreciate our newest music. Thank goodness we have opportunities to connect!

  • Ken and Gaye Klopack

    Thank you so much for including Jan Weller in your programming. He’s a delight! He’s easy going and sooo knowledgeable. His choice of music is the best!!

  • mimi harris

    Who was the last group that played on the program? I thought you said Ethel but I have seen and heard Ethel and they are amazing but different. This group is mroe than awesome; who are they?

  • Nicolas

    Thanks so very much for playing all of those Bud recordings. Hearing those elegant, clear, rich notes sail across the hall was an incomparable experience.

  • Silvia Albillos

    Dear Lisa, you can imagine how terrific the situation is in Galicia, precisely on the Patron Saint of the region and of the whole country. It used to be a national festivity and is still the main day in Santiago de Compostela end of the Pilgrim´s Way. Many people was heading to Santiago for the feast. Of course the commotion has been so terrible that everything has been cancelled. So far 80 people dead and many more in critic condition in the hospitals, with the fear that this number could rise any time.Nearly half of the passengers were killed in the accident.

    We all pray today for the victims, for their families and are very thankful to the people in Galicia who have behaved bravely and lend thousands of hands immediately bringing blankets, water and food for the rescue people, apart from helping out many injured at the very first minute. Hospitals have been overwhelmed by blood donors after they called for donations.

    A terrible moment for the nation, but thank God people´s solidarity goes always beyond.

    Music will bring some comfort as usual in hard times.

  • Anthony

    Just heard the Bernstein recording of the Sibelius 2nd. Amazing how he could make the Vienna Philharmonic sound so utterly dreadful.

  • R. J. Belmonte

    More Chabrier. Are the Carl Grapentine Allstars cranking up Perry Como in the right field bullpen?

  • M.P. Tyler

    I am trying to listen to your streaming via Winamp. Nothing is coming through: no music, no sound. Same problem when I went to your web site and clicked on, “Listen Now.”

  • Jim

    The most exciting Chicago musical event for me was a CSO convert version of Strauss’ “Salome” with Birgitta Nilsson singing the title role and Solti conducting.

  • LarryAt27N

    This is really ugly. “Schelomo-Hebraic Rhapsody” (1915-6) 1:00 pm | Bloch | Bernard Haitink, conductor. | Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra

    I am muting the sound and will return when it is safe to listen. As far as I am concerned, this is experimental music with no redeeming qualities.