The only music-makers the average concertgoer sees are the performers, yet all concert music starts with the composer. The New York Philharmonic has created a new series, which debuts this month, and which is intended to help audiences understand the composer's role.
"Hear & Now is an attempt to bring the actual creators of the music into the concert hall, where composers and audiences can interact," says John Corigliano, the composer whose music will be spotlighted in the first concert of the series.
In addition to exploring Mr. Corigliano's Violin Concerto, "The Red Violin," Hear & Now will examine John Harbison's Milosz Songsin February, and Peter Lieberson's The World in Flower in May. In each performance, Steven Stucky‹himself a major composer and winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for music‹will host.
Each 75-minute Hear & Now begins at 6:45 p.m., and will open with about 30 minutes of discussion, followed by a full performance of the featured work.
Mr. Stucky will act as moderator, and as a conduit between the composers and the audience. "The fact that someone is talking to you about the music is almost more important than what the person says," he declares. "The barriers are taken down when the composer and the audience think of themselves as allies."
Kenneth LaFave is a composer and writer whose credits includeOpera News, Dance Magazine, Playbill, and 15 years with The Arizona Republic newspaper in Phoenix.