Performed live at Bryant Park on September 7, 2023, American Expressions highlights the different forms of expression and musical languages that emerged in the 1920s, including new elements of dance, theater and jazz. A full livestream of the concert is available to watch on-demand on ASO Online through October 20, 2023.
In the years immediately following World War I, the American artistic scene experienced an extraordinary burst of creativity. Responding to the horror and brutality of that war, artists, writers and composers rejected the exalted ideals of the previous century, focusing instead on creating new means of expression, ones that would accurately reflect the realities this new age required. With jazz, many American composers found a new source of inspiration, one distinctly American, as well as thoroughly fresh, modern and exciting. Some of the works offered on this program reflect a fascination in the Roaring Twenties with this language, with its irresistible rhythmic energy and catchy melodies. Other composers sought to push the boundaries of musical expression with radical, ‘ultra-modern’ languages. Whether by polytonality, jagged counterpoint and asymmetric ostinatos, or brash atonality—in which melody, harmony and rhythm are harshly distorted and deconstructed—the experimental impulses of this generation are presented here in its arguably finest exponents.
This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
The ASO’s Vanguard Series is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
George Antheil (1900-1959)
A Jazz Symphony, 1925, rev. 1955
Ruth Crawford Seeger (1901-1953)
Music for Small Orchestra, 1926
Aaron Copland (1900-1990)
Music for the Theatre, 1925
Florence Price (1887-1953)
Andante moderato for string orchestra, 1929
John Alden Carpenter (1876-1951)
Krazy Kat, 1921