Get with the times. When John Kennedy became Spoleto Festival USA's resident conductor last year, we knew, in Sam Cooke's words, change was gonna come. An avid proponent of new music, Kennedy knows who's writing it and who's playing it. Indeed, he's writing and playing much of it himself at Spoleto and at Santa Fe New Music, an organization he founded that performs, supports, and promotes new music. One of the big festival concerts this year will pay homage to the sonic freedom of John Cage, marking his 100th birthday, and it will serve as the U.S. debut of Jonny Greenwood's composition "48 Responses to Polymorphia."
More than Kid A. Jonny Greenwood may be most famous for his role as lead guitarist in Radiohead, a seminal '90s act that morphed from making hits ("Creep") into making layered, nuanced musical compositions that just happened to get played on the radio every once in a while. On the side, he's established himself as an important composer of new music, writing pieces the New York Times describes as having "a meta-aspect" to them: "They're about the idea of the orchestra and the idea of composition, as if he's building the anxiety about composing into the composition process in lieu of getting over it."
Premier American premieres. Not only will this concert feature the American premiere of Greenwood's work, it will also mark the first time Cage's orchestral trilogy — Twenty-Six, Twenty-Eight, and Twenty-Nine — will be heard in the United States.