Revisiting New Music at the Philadelphia Orchestra

First, a correction: in this post, I listed works by Higdon, Torke, and Salonen as the only pieces by living composers during next year’s Philadelphia Orchestra season. I omitted a work by Lorenzo Palomo, whose Nocturnos de Andalucia will be performed. Apologies to the Philadelphia and Mr. Palomo.

Second, by way of comparison: The New York Philharmonic will perform seven works by living composers during subscription concerts next season, plus six more on special “Contact” new music concerts. In addition, although he is technically deceased and therefore not a living composer (at least not on this planet), the Philharmonic will also play Stockhausen’s Gruppen as a special event. The San Francisco Symphony will also play seven pieces by living composers on regular concerts – but they will additionally do a good bit more as part of next year’s iteration of the “American Mavericks” festival, which will also tour. Visiting orchestras to Davies Hall in SF seem to play a lot of new music as well, including the Philadelphia Orchestra’s presentation of a work by Behzad Ranjbaran.

Now, four pieces by living composers is about four more than a great many orchestras in this country will play next season, and as a composer and a concertgoer I am grateful for these four. Yet, I do hope the Philadelphia will increase its presentations of new music as Yannick settles in.

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