It’s 25 years since a US university made a musical impact

It’s 25 years since a US university made a musical impact


norman lebrecht

March 19, 2021

From the Lebrecht Album of the Week:

…  The climaxes are sensational, some of the strongest music Krzysztof Penderecki ever created. This live recording of the Oregon premiere takes us back to a time when a remote American campus festival was ambitious enough to engage with the best living composers. We may never see its like again….

Read on here.

And here.

En francais ici.

In Spanish here.

In Czech here.

More languages follow.



  • FrankUSA says:

    What European Universities have made a musical impact?

  • Hmus says:

    For what it’s worth, Marietta Simpson (along with her sister, soprano Evelyn Simpson-Curenton) sang in the chorus of world premiere performance and recording of Penderecki’s Utrenja (Entobment of Christ) with the Temple University Choirs (inder Robert Page) and Philadelphia Orchestra under Ormandy, back in 1971 – when U.S. Universities could make a musical impact.

  • fflambeau says:

    The headline seems odd and completely wrong. Sensationalism?

  • Yulia says:

    R.I.P. Maestro Penderecki, thank you for your wonderful music

  • David K. Nelson says:

    The Oregon Bach Festival is “remote?” It’s a famous one. Somehow I have this hunch that there have been quite important musical events taking place at USA university campuses (with the school either just the host, as I believe is the case of the Bach festival, or the actual origin of the music making, given that many universities have modern music ensembles, Mills College being a prominent example) since then, but if Oregon and its festival are considered remote then I suggest those events have not been kept track of in such a way that the “it’s been 25 years” statement can be considered authoritative.

    Gunther Schuller has had important premieres at Boston University since then. Silkroad was in residency at College of the Holy Cross for years and saw premiers there by among others Osvaldo Golijov.

    Someone would have to have been keeping very close track of the annual performance calendars of several hundred universities and colleges to make a bold and flat statement that “It’s been 25 years ….” And painful as it may seem, that would have to include performance calendars at even the “remote” schools.

    Or spend a little time with a carefully crafted Google search, as I did.

    • Petros LInardos says:

      Quite right.
      Two prominent examples from New England:
      – The Tanglewood Music Center Fellowship Program is Boston University’s summer academy.
      – Marlboro Music is hosted by Marlboro College.

      • jt says:

        Not quite. Tanglewood Music Center is the Boston Symphony’s summer academy, BUTI (Boston University Tanglewood Institute) is for teenagers. Marlboro Music Festival was hosted by Marlboro College until last year when the College was bought by Emerson College (Boston)

  • 25 years since it happened or 25 years since anyone paid attention?

    I’ll note that in 1980 Augustana College and the Handel Oratorio Society of Rock Island, Illinois commissioned and premiered a major work by the famous American serial composer, Charles Wuorinen. We found it was nearly impossible to interest the arts media or any media beyond the local papers in this milestone for Western civilization.

    I expect the media’s notice of remote festivals and new music has only declined the 40 years since.

  • Monty Earleman says:

    Do you know what “major” composers charge for commissions these days? No University can afford it!

  • Larry W says:

    16 years ago, the University of Houston hosted and presented the second performance of a major work, conducted by the composer. Alumnus Christopher Theofanidis led the Moores School Chamber Orchestra and a faculty violist in a performance of his Viola Concerto, winner of a recent Grammy Award.