Composer

Classical composers have long had their patrons: Beethoven had Archduke Rudolph, John Cage had Betty Freeman. For contemporary opera composers, there's Beth Morrison. She and her production company have commissioned new works from some of the most innovative emerging composers today.

Ben Johnston doesn't follow the rules of music. Sure, he's got degrees from two colleges and a conservatory. But from an early age, Johnston heard music differently. When he was growing up in Georgia, he questioned the standard scales he was taught in school. "I played by ear and I invented my own chords," he says.

Ennio Morricone is as about close as a film composer can come to being a household name — and, at age 88, he's still going strong. This year, he was signed to a new record label and has now released a new recording, Morricone 60, named for the number of years he's been in the business.

John Williams, so famous for his award-winning film scores including Jaws, Star Wars, and Schindler’s List, wrote a violin concerto that transcends the personal story behind it. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more.

Talk to nearly any classical music critic about heroes of the trade and one name usually comes up: Virgil Thomson. Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times advises: "Every practicing and aspiring critic today should read Thomson's exhilarating writings."

 

In 1930, The Philadelphia Orchestra gave a successful U.S. premiere of the 10th symphony of a revered Russian composer—Nikolai Miaskovsky—sometimes called "The Father of the Soviet Symphony." As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the work and the composer, both little known in America in today, are being championed by one of today's leading conductors.

On Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Saturday September 10th, 5 to 6 pm. Last month we left the Hungarian conductor Anton Seidl in late 19th-century New York City, where he led, at one time or another, the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Not too long after, the Spanish composer and pianist Enrique Granados was there, basking in a successful premiere at that same Met. The year was 1916—100 years ago.

Jason Bourne is back, though it might seem like he never went away. The character created by best-selling author Robert Ludlum has populated 12 novels, a made-for-TV movie, and now five big-screen adventures. In four of the five Bourne features, the music underlying the action has been the work of British composer John Powell.

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