CLASSICAL MUSIC — A YOUTHFUL BEGINNING The PSO’s Robert Moody.
A BIRTH: MOODY'S PSO
The Portland Symphony Orchestra's search for and subsequent appointment of a new music director was one of the most exciting things to happen to the Maine classical-music scene this decade. While Toshiyuki Shimada expertly led the PSO for 20 years, there's something special about the new guy. ROBERT MOODY does things a little differently. He has friends who are electronica DJs who compose orchestral music with digital effects, and African-drumming prodigies who take to the Merrill stage with a casualness that puts a younger audience at ease. He even puts the magic back in the Magic of Christmas. Moody is young, feisty, and always has something up his sleeve. He understands that the silver-hairs want Mozart, but he also knows he has an opportunity to turn the PSO into a great orchestra that takes risks, and champions new works, ideas, concepts, and genres. And, well, he's not hard to look at, either.
A DEATH: THE GENRE
CLASSICAL MUSIC DIED THIS DECADE. That's not a bad thing. It wasn't the music that died — it was the name. That "boogie-man" word: "Classical," as one young Portland composer put it, has to go. Because what young people are writing and performing isn't classical with a lower case or capital C. It's something else. It's mixed genres, with rap seeping into old Celtic tunes, jazz dancing around with Led Zeppelin, all written and performed by classically trained musicians. It's also mixed-medium. Piano-cello-flute trios don black masks, dim the lights, and perform songs inspired by whales. Up at Bowdoin, Elliot Schwartz's New Music Ensemble weave quotes from Facebook pages into thrilling melodies. An aging string quartet livens things up by inviting a violinist who employs effects pedals and rocks out, improvising over Vivaldi and "Amazing Grace." Suddenly lighting, dancing, speaking, prose, photography, video, poetry, and visual art are impossible to separate from music. Art music has become all-sensory. Suddenly, anything is possible.
: Lifestyle Features
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