In this experimental concert series, conducted by the music director Steven Sloane, the American Composers Orchestra is trying to use technology and improvisation to reinvent the orchestra and break down barriers between composer and listener. If nothing else, Mr. Freeman's "Glimmer" certainly does the latter.
The audience was given glimmer sticks and instructed to turn them on and off and wave them. Somehow, video images of this were then transmitted to the orchestra to guide their playing. Tommasini goes on to say it doesn't take much to make New Yorkers happy and during a piece by Carlos Carillo, he wanted to use his glimmer stick to skip past a slow movement.
The composer on his rationale for the piece:
Glimmer is not a protest against current orchestral performance conventions. It is not a vision for the symphony hall of the future. It is not a marketing gimmick to draw younger audiences to classical music. It is merely an experiment in reshuffling the roles of composer, performer, and listener a little bit, so that they can have something more to do with each other, so that they can all be a part of the same moment. We are sitting in a room — together — so why not?
I see via a referrer that aworks is at the top for the search "new classical music wanted." While I recognize newness is not necessarily the premiere aesthetic organizing principle, and I expect innovation in music to take a breather for awhile, I am enjoying it while I can.