In writing- You never forget your first

Hello wonderful followers and Facebook ‘likers.’  Hope you had a fantastic break!  I’ve decided to write to you all today instead of a video blog to share some experiences in contemporary music.  If you are new, or inexperienced in contemporary music, this is the post for you.

As usual, there is a question for today’s blog.  The question is this: What is the first piece of contemporary music you remember hearing?  Good or bad?  How was that first piece you listened to?  Was it exciting and moving?  Or was it sloppy and gross leaving you puzzled at the hype it received?  Leave a comment!

What I find so compelling is that to me, it is as memorable as a first kiss.  Well, almost.  I do not remember where I was when I heard my first piece of contemporary music.  What piece was it?  If you knew my history this would not be a surprise, but to those that have known me more recently, it may seem odd what my first introduction was.

The Canyon composed by Philip Glass performed by Santa Clara Vanguard drum and bugle corps in 1999.  I was into drum corps.  Like REALLY into it.  Yet, I went home and found the real orchestral recording online (on and listened to the 30 second sound bytes from the rest of Glass’s Itaipú CD over and over again.  Sometimes I would drum with them imagining a perfect drum corps show that I would write or perform.

We all have our stories about our first anything.  My first contemporary classical music experience was perfect for me.  Rhythmic, driving, intense, and of course, percussive.  Minimalism was love at first sight, and since then, it has acted as a gateway piece to the rest of the contemporary world for me.

Fast-forward to 2:15 to hear the opener which is an (awesome) arrangement of The Canyon. If the crowd is a little distracting, don’t worry, it is for me too.

Now compare that with this excerpt from a random youtube video I found.

Or better yet, listen to the whole thing!  I hope this link works!

Final word:  If you are a music educator and teach band, think of this introduction.  All a student has to do is google Philip Glass or minimalism, and their world could be different.  And the world of contemporary music would have one more potential performer, composer, or just as important, patron.

So comment about what was the first piece of contemporary music you remember hearing.  Want to hear your thoughts!  Good or bad!



Filed under Music

2 responses to “In writing- You never forget your first

  1. Brian Dennig

    The first “Contemporary Piece” that really stuck out to me was ‘Eqqus’ by Eric Whitacre, as performed by the Auburn University Symphonic Band. (Side note – I heard it the first weekend I was ever in Auburn, as my family was preparing to move from Murfreesboro to Auburn.)

    I was immediately hooked to his music and have been ever since. I have also been able to perform one of his many choral works (Lux Aurumque). And he has transcribed many of his choral works for symphonic winds (and they are still beautiful!).
    I could go on and on about his works, but go to and find out for yourself. He has also been working on an opera electronica for about the past 7 years or so, and I think he may be showing it off at Carnegie Hall soon.

    • Yes, Eric Whitacre is an amazing talent! That’s a good person to be a first. I love his compositions and even band arrangements, and wish I could be in New York for the premiere of his opera!


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