My preview of Seattle Symphony’s upcoming festival of American music, from Charles Ives to Julia Wolfe and John Luther Adams:
“There are as many sides to American music as there are to the American people,” Leonard Bernstein remarked in one of his popular Young People’s Concerts devoted to the topic “What Is American Music?”
“Maybe that’s the main quality of all — our many-sidedness. Think of all the races and personalities from all over the globe that make up our country. We’ve taken it all in,” he said.
Bernstein broadcast that message almost six decades ago in 1958. Since then the musical landscape has become vastly more diverse, many-sided and multi-layered. The old-fashioned image of the melting pot seems quaint compared to the dazzling, complex intersections and border crossings that make today’s musical scene so vibrant and self-aware.