Copland with Nadia Boulanger's class of 1923 (Copland is behind her left shoulder).
  • Copland with Nadia Boulanger's class of 1923 (Copland is behind her left shoulder).
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What does it mean to be an American composer? This is the question that the San Diego Symphony will be answering all month.

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The Virtual Orchestra

Powerful Connections: Esa-Pekka Salonen on the Art of Conducting

Powerful Connections: Esa-Pekka Salonen on the Art of Conducting

January is dedicated to the American composer and the symphony is kicking it off with a free event on Thursday, January 5, at 7:30 p.m. Even though this is a free night at symphony hall, it is ticketed. There is a free concert on Saturday night as well, but it is “sold out.”

The Thursday night goings-on features a discussion with working composers including internationally renowned conductor/composer Esa-Pekka Salonen. Symphony CEO, Martha Gilmore, and the programing advisor to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Gerard McBurney, will also be part of the panel discussion.

What about Friday and Sunday? I’m glad you asked.

A concert of American masters such as Copland and Gershwin that focuses on the Paris influence on early 20th-century music of the U.S. will be presented on Friday, January 6, at 8 p.m. and Sunday January 8, at 2 p.m.

Both Gershwin and Copland spent time studying with Nadia Boulanger in Paris in the early part of their careers. Of Gershwin, Boulanger claimed she could not teach him anything. Whether she meant that as a compliment or not is up to interpretation. Gershwin retold the story with pride. So far as he was concerned it cemented his genius.

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