Missy Mazzoli had this to tweet last week:
I’m proud to announce: the culmination of my tenure as composer-in-residence at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra…the world premiere of my newest orchestral work. It’s called Beethoven 4 & 7. 😉 https://t.co/dkhm1UTOuE— Missy Mazzoli (@missymazzoli) February 18, 2020
To save you a click, this is what one sees when they get to the webpage.
Mazzoli, the professional that she is, played it off nicely but it’s hard to believe this is still a thing. Sure, Beethoven is a behemoth. Just the name, “BEETHOVEN,” carries so much “grave sèrieuse.” But goddamn, this modern-day music maker is a living, TWEETING human being.
This aversion that the classical music industry has to promoting today’s stars and today’s music has to end.
Mazzoli is the composer-in-residence at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. That’s a coup for the CSO — not Mazzoli who has already gone on to some serious acclaim in her flourishing career. Mazzoli is the now, the fresh face, and the future of the art form while institutions like the CSO continue to attempt relevancy well after their expiration date.
Mazzoli deserves top billing on this concert. She’s a Grammy nominee and founder of the Luna Composition Lab. Her operas have gone on to worldwide acclaim, and she’s one of the most sought-after composers in this country, hence her residency with one of the largest and most storied symphonies in the US if not the world. What’s Beethoven been up to recently? Well, he’s been dead for 193 years.
It’s my opinion that making composers like Mazzoli the centerpiece of your performance is the smart thing to do, especially if you want to attract new audiences.
Today’s younger generations and aspiring concert-goers don’t identify with Beethoven and Bach. And they won’t get there either unless they are led. And to lead them, one has to appeal to them. But then again, that’s something classical music orgs have always been a little afraid of, haven’t they?
John Adams spared no expense. He gave the CSO some “HellTweet” for their choice:
So typical–this disgraceful way orchestra management does its best to hide the fact a new work is on a program. It’s maddening and insulting (& probably counterproductive.) Art museums and dance companies wouldn’t do it, but orchestras are creaky, risk-averse behemoths. https://t.co/wlM8uX8Hgv— John Adams (@HellTweet) February 18, 2020
“New” and “Music” aren’t bad words. They’re not. They’re marketable! “New Music,” in my opinion, should be much more marketable to a wider audience than most of the dead white guys we revere today. But yet, here we are. Still not quite seeing the opportunity.
Art museums and dance companies wouldn’t do it…John Adams – Twitter @HellTweet
It’s also worth noting that the CSO went on to point out that Mazzoli is known in some circles as “Brooklyn’s Post Millennial Mozart!”
Lol! That’s a cool title and all, but why don’t we have any respect for our audiences? Why do we think they won’t be able to identify with a modern composer unless we prescribe some kind of 200-year-old moniker? If you’re gonna rip something right from her bio – use “her work has been described as ‘savage, heartbreaking and thoroughly original.”’ Your patrons like to read the Wall Street Journal, I’m sure.
I really don’t have anything else to say about it. Feel the way you want to feel. It just seems to me that new music should be trusted to stand on its own.
Check out the Spotify playlist below.
“Heartbreaking and thoroughly original!”Wall Street Journal