Music Of America

Nov 02 2018
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Ulster Hall 34 Bedford Street, Belfast,

What should American music be?

Antonín Dvorák had been hired as Director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York to show American composers how to create a new national style of music for the United States.

It was Dvorák’s belief that a truly national music could only derive from the nation’s folk traditions, so it was here he began his musical research.

As a result, elements of Native and African American traditional music made their way into his Ninth Symphony, From the New World. Bernstein, on the other hand, championed the idea that American music should be eclectic – as you would expect from a composer who wrote jazz for the concert hall and symphonic music for Broadway.  

His Serenade is a perfect example. Inspired by Stravinsky and structured in the style of an Ancient Greek symposium, where each speaker responds to the ideas of the speaker before, each movement evolves out of ideas presented in the previous movement. The Serenade’s moods act almost like a portrait of Bernstein himself and to create this musical likeness we welcome back violinist Baiba Skride.

In association with Belfast International Arts Festival