Barack Obama- Classical Music Lover / Extraordinaire

Ok, I am going to say it loud and proud. I VOTED FOR OBAMA! I have a number of reasons why I supported his campaign and most of which I will not share with you, but on the subject of the Arts, Arts in Education, and Music advocacy I am extremely outspoken!! I think this President and his administration is going to do great things for the Arts and below is just and example… just the start if you will. No matter what your political affiliations are, I think we can all agree that this will be a very cool musical collaboration…

If you read Variety (like I do- daily) you may or may have not seen this story, but at next week's Inauguration, in the main entertainment slot, our incoming president is featuring the music of none other than John Williams! Performed by a quartet made up of Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Anthony McGill (a clarinetist from the Met), and Gabriela Montero (a Venezuelan pianist). The music to be performed will be a new setting and Williams-esque take on Simple Gifts, the same music used thematically throughout Appalachian Spring, written by Aaron Copland (one of Obama's favorite composers).

This is important to me for a few reasons.

  1. This administration IS going to support the Arts! Many other presidents have had Classical music performed at their inauguration, but to my recollection, none have ever commissioned a new work for the occasion.
  2. Aaron Copland and John Williams happen to be two of my Top 5 American composers. This has little relevance on you, the reader, but warms my heart.
  3. As stated in the article, Copland's work was supposed to be performed at another Presidential Inauguration. Dwight D Eisenhower was set to have "Lincoln Portrait" performed at his inauguration, but the performance was cancelled at the last minute as Copland was accused of being a communist by Senator Joe McCarthy. Finally Copland will get his just spotlight at these festivities. Even if it is only a piece paying tribute to him, I think it is a fitting tribute and an important moment for American Classical music.


On a side note, Lincoln Portrait is set to be released on Naxos Records twice in the next 6 months. Once in It's original Orchestral Form performed by the Nashville Symphony under the baton of Leonard Slatkin (released in February 2009 Naxos 8.559373-74) and again as part of my Naxos Wind Band Classics series in it's Concert Band setting performed by the fine University of Missouri Wind Ensemble conducted by Dr. Tom O'Neal and Narrated by Alvin Chea of "Take 6" fame (released in May 2009 Naxos Wind Band Classics 8.572108)