The Great American Symphony

We’ve just celebrated Independence Day, which means most of us had a good dose of All-American music by the likes of Sousa, Copland, and Gershwin.  Now seems a good time to take this one step further and look at the larger American music landscape.

When this country was first formed, music was, as you would expect, mostly in the European tradition.  Newly-arrived composers were busy trying to establish an “American sound.”  No less than Antonin Dvorak attempted to show American composers that they had plenty from which to choose when it came to native themes.

Is America’s musical landscape any more clearly defined 237 years later?  NPR is offering you the opportunity to weigh in on the subject throughout the summer, either on Twitter (@nprclassical), or Facebook in the comments section.  They’ll also be polling conductors, composers, and critics for their opinion.

JoAnn Falletta started the conversation in writing here, and followed up with a conversation with Robert Siegel.  Let us – and NPR – hear your opinion!

Listen above as Studs Terkel talks with Aaron Copland about his music

Read In Search of the Great American Symphony (Deceptive Cadence)

Watch portions of Martha Graham’s original ballet, reassembled from 16mm reference film, then combined with a 1958 film soundtrack.

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