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Diverse All-American Pieces and Composers

Diverse All-American Pieces and Composers

Called “riotously funky” by the Chicago Tribune, Jonathan Newman’s Blow It Up, Start Again was commissioned by the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and premiered in 2012 at Orchestra Hall in Chicago. The piece continues to be performed by orchestras around the world. Trained as a pianist, trombonist, and singer, Newman’s music incorporates many styles from classical to jazz, and everything in between. In fact, Newman is a founding member of the composer-consortium BCM International, a group of stylistically-diverse composers dedicated to mixing up the repertoire of “traditional” classical music.

George Walker, an African-American pianist, organist, and composer was born in 1922. Lyric for Strings is based on the Second Movement of the String Quartet No. 1 (another one of Walker’s works) and is one of the most frequently performed orchestral works by an American composer. Lyric for Strings was originally titled Lament, but Walker later changed the title of the piece he composed in memory of his grandmother. Walker’s compositions have been influenced by many musical styles, but the composer would not conform to one specific style. Instead, Walker was inspired by his diverse knowledge of music to create pieces he could call his own. Throughout this life, Walker composed more than 90 works.

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