American composers

color photo of Derek Bermel holding a pencil and sitting with a musical score
publicity photo / courtesy of Derek Bermel

It was a fateful trip to the art museum.

That trip decades ago, when Derek Bermel was just a kid - long before he became an award-winning composer and clarinetist -  that has landed Bermel on the list of Grammy Award nominees.

color night shot of headlights whizzing by the Arc de Triomphe, Paris
Sheila Sund/Wikimedia Commons /

It’s jarring to hear a honking car horn. But on the streets of Paris, honking horns – like good wine, café au lait and the Gallic shrug – are just a part of life.

So much so that when George Gershwin decided to compose an orchestral piece inspired by the City of Light, he gave the honking horns of the Parisian taxicabs practically top billing. And not long ago those taxi horns claimed the spotlight for a different reason.

color photo of Stephen Caracciolo conducting LancasterChorale
LancasterChorale / Facebook

“I call it real American music.”

That’s how Stephen Caracciolo, artistic director of the LancasterChorale, describes the program for An American Mosaic, the chorale’s upcoming concert of American folk songs, hymns, spirituals, concert works and popular fare. 

publicity photo / http://www.anthonymcgill.com/press/

Long before clarinetist Anthony McGill and flutist Demarre McGill launched coast-to-coast musical careers, as kids the brothers were each other’s musical inspiration.

“I grew up – even before I played an instrument – listening to my brother practice, for a few years actually. And so I learned probably what the sound of a wind instrument was because of him,” said Anthony McGill in a recent phone interview.

Matthew Bonder

Two brand-new musical works – involving cutting-edge technology and offering commentary on subjects as diverse as a brassy night in Vegas and the wild and woolly world of social media – will receive their world premieres in Columbus this weekend, as Capital University’s Conservatory of Music celebrates its 100th anniversary. 

Marion S. Trikosko / Library of Congress / leonardbernstein.com

It's simply too difficult to create a list of recordings made by conductor Leonard Bernstein that could be called "The Best of Lenny" or "The Definitive Bernstein List."

An eagle bone whistle. A sacred rattle. A singing turtle. A “love flute.”

These are just a few of the ancient Native American instruments showcased in Anthem for the Ancestors, a new work for string quartet, Native American instruments, narrator and multimedia visual effects composed by Carpe Diem String Quartet violinist Charles Wetherbee and Native American performer and composer Leon Joseph Littlebird.

artist's webpage / http://katherinehoover.com/KatherineHoover/Photos_files/Media/KH%20c1970-3/KH%20c1970-3.jpg?disposition=download

When the award-winning flutist and composer Katherine Hoover starts writing a new piece of music, she’s never sure where it’s going to go. And she’s okay with that.

“You never know where it’s going to take you,” Hoover said in a recent phone interview. “You just have to work and express it and let it be and let it take you there.”  

As Hoover launches a career as a poet, she says working with words is much the same way. And she's okay with that, too.