Michael Tilson Thomas conducts Still, Nancarrow, Copland, Ruggles, and Ives
New World Symphony
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The New World Symphony pays homage to some of the most important figures in twentieth-century American music! Under the baton of its founder, the prodigious Michael Tilson Thomas, the esteemed ensemble accompanies virtuoso pianists Thomas Steigerwald and Wesley Ducote, and interprets works by five pioneers of contemporary Americana.
William Grant Still's Patterns for String Sextet and Harp kicks off the evening's festivities, before the gripping chords of Conlon Nancarrow's Prelude and Blues for Solo Piano fill the New World Center. The ensemble continues with the stupendous Quiet City by Aaron Copland, a work originally composed for a stage play by Irvin Shaw, reflecting the struggles of one of its main characters; Copland later expanded the composition into the ten-minute work heard here, designed to be performed as a standalone piece. After Nancarrow's Sonatina for Solo Piano and Carl Ruggles's Angels, the concert comes to a spectacular conclusion with Charles Ives's Three Places in New England, one of the great American's emblematic works, a beautiful distillation of New England's folk traditions and the spirit of its people.