Q: What is American classical music? (Doris Lorraine, Highlands, NC)
A: "I always want to go back to the answer I think that John Adams gave when somebody asked him what's American music. And he said it's music written by an American composer."
"Of course the radically different way of looking at it which I think is also equally valid if not more valid is to start questioning: what is American music. And, if you look at the great gurus of American music, who were they? Gershwin, Copland, Bernstein, just to mention the famous ones, and who were they? They were Russian Jews."
"So that music is, in essence, a kind of Eastern European Yiddish person's take on Black music in the beginning of the century. If one looks at it that way one can see entirely different spectrum of expression that often Americans just don't see - and don't want to see necessarily because there is a very legitimate and very, very strong point to be made that it's a genuine sort of hat off to Black American music, which it is." (Conductor Paavo Järvi)
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