Symphonic music, though full of tradition, is still very much evolving, with contemporary pieces written and then performed while the composers are still alive. Shortly after wrapping up its 68th season recently, the Spokane Symphony was awarded a national ASCAP First Place from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers for adventurous programming, acknowledging their successful efforts to continually broaden the music they provide for their audiences.
Though their season was not lacking the more famous composers such as Mozart and Beethoven, it was also full of living composers such as Anna Clyne, John Mackey, Andrew Norman and Esa-Pekka Salonen.
But what exactly is evolving in symphonic music if it is not similar, yet slightly different versions of the same traditional styles? Well, composers such as Franz Liszt were considered rock stars of their time, leaving lasting impressions with their innovative takes on classical conventions. Contemporary composers are now looking back to alter some of the basics of instrumental music.
Foreign Bodies by Salonen incorporates unconventional instrumental techniques, requiring performers to play melodic strong instruments percussively and even detune some of their instruments.
With potentially the most unique subject matter of the Spokane Symphony’s 2013-2014 season, Andrew Norman's piece, The Great Swiftness, attempts to embody the large, orange curves of Alexander Calder's La Grande Vitesse sculpture in Grand Rapids, Michigan, through glissandi — slides from one pitch to another while playing all of the pitches in between.
The Spokane Symphony performs at The Fox under Eckart Preu for more than 150,000 each year. Their 2014-2015 season concert list and ticket information can be found here.