Guide to contemporary music

Contemporary music is often reputedly difficult. But anyone who approaches it with an open-mind is immediately struck by the incredible richness of sound, colours and impressions that contemporary composers have explored. If you're still a bit confused and need some guidance for your first steps in this vast territory, you will find here An Introduction to contemporary music, as well as interviews with specialist performers and composers to witness the vitality of contemporary music today.
An introduction to contemporary music...

Introduction to Contemporary Music 1: The Young Generation

In the first of a four-part series, Peter Reynolds looks at different strands in contemporary music with a focus on composers in the immediate here and now. This week he writes about five composers now in their 30s and 40s, all writing very different kinds of music.

Introduction to Contemporary Music 3: Cutting-Edge Heavyweights

In the third of a four-part series, Peter Reynolds looks at different strands in contemporary music with a focus on composers in the immediate here and now. This week he looks at five composers whose music occupies the challenging end of the spectrum.

Introduction to Contemporary Music 2: The Minimalists

In the second of a four-part series, Peter Reynolds looks at different strands in contemporary music with a focus on composers in the immediate here and now. This week he writes about five composers who have, in different ways, attracted the label “minimalist”.

Introduction to Contemporary Music 4: Rugged Individuals

In the last of a four-part series, Peter Reynolds looks at different strands in contemporary music with a focus on composers in the immediate here and now. This week he looks at five composers whose approach to music is utterly individual.
Articles and interviews

“Not a political composer": John Adams

Taking time out from working on his new opera, Girls of the Golden West, which premières in San Francisco later this year, we spoke to John Adams about politics, Scheherazade.2 and where he sees the future for classical music.

Remembering the legacy of Pauline Oliveros

“Music is a multi-dimensional, dynamic process unfolding as a relationship between an individual or a group of individuals, and sound vibrations.

Challenges of contemporary composition: Amos Elkana

Amos Elkana is at the crossroad of many genres and styles. We ask him about the challenges faced today by contemporary composers, and his reflections about his own technique.

Keeping the Boulez spirit alive

Daniel Barenboim inaugurated last month the Barenboim-Said Academy in Berlin. The most interesting feature of the hall lies not in its flowing architecture, but rather in its name: the Pierre Boulez Saal. One year after the French composer death, what is his legacy?

A guide to contemporary music festivals

There are plenty of occasions to hear Beethoven's symphonies or Mozart's operas throughout the year. But what about the 21st century repertoire? Contemporary music lovers often find it hard to quench their thirst for new music. Thankfully, some festivals specialise in contemporary music, giving to everyone the opportunity to drink their fill.

Top 10 Living Women Composers

According to online showcase/podcast Listening to Ladies, during the 2015–2016 season, the top 89 symphony orchestras in the US dedicated only 2% of their programs to music composed by women. 

John Constable, London Sinfonietta: interview

We kick off our interviews series with John Constable, London Sinfonietta Emeritus Principal Piano.

Enno Senft, London Sinfonietta: interview

We continue our interviews series with Enno Senft, the London Sinfonietta's Principal Double Bass.

Jagdish Mistry, Ensemble Modern: interview

We continue our interviews series with Jagdish Mistry, violinist at the Ensemble Modern.
Want to read more? Check out Bachtrack Composer Project for interviews with established leading figures and emerging voices.
Upcoming eventsSee more...

BerlinThe Town Musicians of Bremen | Bremen MızıkacılarıNew Production

Şendil: The Town Musicians of Bremen | Bremen Mızıkacıları
Ivo Hentschel; Tobias Ribitzki; Komische Oper Berlin; Alfred Peter; Kathrin-Susann Brose

SingaporeVCH Presents Cellisso

Wilson, Pärt, Sollima, Vine, Villa-Lobos
Members of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra

GothenburgThe Phantom of the Opera

Lloyd Webber: The Phantom of the Opera
Göteborg Opera; Sofie Asplund; Frida Engström; Liina Vosa; Göteborg Opera Orchestra
Latest reviewsSee more...

“Or not to be”: Hamlet revived for Glyndebourne’s tour

A restless score, a stylish modern setting and gripping central performances from David Butt Philip (trading Laertes at the festival for the title role here) and Jennifer France (Ophelia) do much to commend this new work
***11
Read more

Veronika Eberle wows in Mendelssohn

This was the second of Bernard Haitink’s Barbican appearances with the London Symphony Orchestra mostly drawing on the Austro-German orchestral tradition in electric and efficient perfromances. 
****1
Read more

Rabinovich sugar-coats Chopin, Haydn and Rachmaninov

The pianist performed a motley plethora of pieces that included his own recent work. Every interpretation was hand-dipped in a particular aesthetic; oftentimes to perfect taste, and oftentimes a little too much.
***11
Read more