Contemporary Classical Music
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      Recent Programs

      Payton MacDonald – Super Marimba

      Percussionist Payton MacDonald calls Super Marimba the nexus point of all of his artistic activities. Featuring influences from jazz and classical to Hindustani and improvisational music, this is the marimba as you’ve never heard it before.

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      In the Field: Poland, Part II

      We at Relevant Tones had the fantastic opportunity to travel to Wrocław, Poland to attend the storied World Music Days festival, where we met a wealth of Polish composers who are part of the living legacy of this vibrant cultural mecca. Next time on Relevant Tones, we’ll hear the second of a two-part series titled, In the Field: Poland.

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      Wroclaw-Rynek-7.2005

      In the Field: Poland, Part I

      We at Relevant Tones had the fantastic opportunity to travel to Wrocław, Poland to attend the storied World Music Days festival, where we met a wealth of Polish composers who are part of the living legacy of this vibrant cultural mecca. Next time on Relevant Tones, we’ll hear the first of a two-part series titled, In the Field: Poland.

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      Image Credit: Harry M. Rhoads

      Image Credit: Harry M. Rhoads

      Through the Grapevine

      We’re having a ball trying to keep up with our ever-expanding musical collection as composers and performers around the world joyously overwhelm us with their creations. We’re consistently amazed by their level of talent and artistry, and are thrilled this week to share it with our listeners.

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      Haunted Landscapes: Music of George Crumb

      Legendary composer George Crumb created a unique, haunting sound world that leaves an indelible impression upon anyone who hears it. The master turns 85 in October and we’ll celebrate with an entire show dedicated to his music.

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      The Art of Spoken Word

      It takes fine craftsmanship to achieve a perfect partnership between text and music in which neither element overshadows the other. This week, we’ll listen to a fascinating array of spoken word and music by composers striving to achieve this symmetry.

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      Image Credit: Alex Delfanne

      Image Credit: Alex Delfanne

      What is Wandelweiser?

      Originally a German musical creation, Wandelweiser is a kind of extreme minimalism that is fast becoming popular with composers around the world. We talk with two of its creators, Jürg Frey and Eva-Maria Houben, about the phenomenal growth of this movement. Jürg Frey: More or Less Normal a.pe.ri.od.ic 5:37 Frey: 60 Pieces of Sound (excerpt) […]

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      In the Field Estonia: Arvo Pärt Centre

      Mystical Minimalist Arvo Pärt is one of the most significant composers in the 20th and 21st centuries, and in this program we’ll travel across the Baltic to Estonia to visit his musical homeland and talk with the people curating his music.

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      Starting From Scratch

      This week’s Relevant Tones focuses on composers who have tried to step outside the box, redefine their definitions of music, and start over without limitations. We’ll be examining the works of Alvin Lucier, Chris Preissing, James Tenney, Lou Harrison, and more.

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      Modern Concerto

      The ultimate instrumental showcase, the concerto has inspired composers to torture performers for hundreds of years, relentlessly pushing their physical capabilities. Now that performers have virtually no limits on their technique, how are composers innovating this storied form?

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      Crossing Barriers

      A big trend in the 2000’s saw contemporary music ensembles commissioning composers not to write new pieces for them but to arrange music by pop artists. We’ll listen to music from two such collaborations: Alarm Will Sound performing arrangements of electronic musician Aphex Twin and Osso Quartet’s arrangements of indie pop superstar Sufjan Stevens.

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      In the Field: Finland, Part II

      Part II of our field trip to Finland features more interviews and performances of music by leading and emerging composers from this incredible musical hotbed.

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      In the Field: Finland, Part I

      The next installment of In the Field brings us to a country that has exported a dizzying list of big name composers and conductors in the last couple of decades: Finland. We’ll talk with established composers and rising stars about their music and the lasting influence of the Sibelius Academy.

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      Christopher Rouse

      Composer Spotlight: Christopher Rouse

      For many years the composer-in-residence with the NY Philharmonic, Christopher Rouse combines neoromanticism with hard driving, rock-inspired rhythms to create a fascinating musical style all his own.

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      Host Seth Boustead at the 2014 Thirsty Ear Festival.  Photo by Elliot Mandel.

      The Thirsty Ear Festival (syndicated release)

      The syndicated release of Relevant Tones’ annual live contemporary music festival, recorded July 12, 2014 at City Winery in Chicago. Performers include Fonema Consort, Gaudete Brass, and Graham Reynolds.

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