Leon Botstein's American Symphony Orchestra to Recreate "New York Avant-Garde" at Carnegie Hall

By Louise Burton on Sep 06, 2013 12:05 AM EDT

A century ago, New Yorkers were astonished to see modernism in painting and sculpture for the first time when the New York Armory Show opened in 1913.

Shock waves from this exhibit resonated through the worlds of visual art and music, but the full impact wasn't heard in American music until the early 1920s.

The American Symphony Orchestra will evoke that revolutionary era with "New York Avant-Garde," their first performance of the 2013-14 season at Carnegie Hall on October 3. Through such works as A Jazz Symphony by George Antheil, whose music literally caused a riot in Paris, and the 1922 version of Amériques by Edgard Varèse, the ASO will recreate the spirit of this daring age.

According to ASO music director Leon Botstein, "The 1913 Armory show was a seminal moment in the history of American art and culture, which led to the sudden embrace of European modernism...people walked out and wrote diatribes and that happened around the music of the 1920s."

The effects of that revolutionary moment can be heard in Aaron Copland's Symphony for Organ and Orchestra and Carl Ruggles' Men and Mountains, two works that are also on the ASO's October 3 program.

"It is unlikely that these composers will be quite as controversial today, but if we can recapture even a fraction of the impact, the excitement, the sheer aliveness that music had for audiences nearly a century ago we'll be serving them well," Botstein said.

You can hear more of Botstein's comments about "New York Avant-Garde" on this American Symphony Orchestra video.

The ASO is presenting this concert in partnership with the New York Historical Society's retrospective on the 1913 New York Armory Show. Here, concert goers can see the works of art that changed everything--works by Duchamp, Picasso, Matisse and other early modernists.

Soloists on the ASO's "New York Avant-Garde" program include Blair McMillen, piano; Randolph Bowman, flute; and Stephen Tharp, organ.

The ASO's Carnegie Hall Vanguard Series continues with "Elliott Carter: An American Original" on November 17; Richard Strauss' opera Feuersnot on December 15; "This England" on January 31; Max Bruch's oratorio Moses on March 27; and "Forged from Fire" on May 30, an exploration of the effect World War I had on music's development 100 years ago.

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TagsLeon Botstein, American Symphony Orchestra, New York Armory Show, Carnegie Hall, Antheil, Varèse, Copland, Ruggles, New-York Historical Society, Duchamp, Picasso, Matisse

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