Alt-Classical Music

This coming year is bound to see the continuing development of classical musical forms melding with various contemporary and pop musical idioms.  I am particularly fond of some of the experiments happening within what many are calling the “post-minimal” movement.  Some of you might be familiar with a few of the composers that populate this landscape. Figures like Steve Reich, Philip Glass, and Arvo Part come to mind as the godfathers of minimalism, or my personal favorite…Morton Feldman (check out his piece entitled Rothko Chapel).  Post-minimalism is expanding upon the instrumentation experiments of minimalism, while pushing through some of the “over-repetitiveness” of the movement.  Often pleasing harmonic structures move the listener on a journey that I can only describe as more cinematic than its minimalist predecessors.  Things get interesting when these sounds are combined with popular forms of alternative, rock, and folk music.  A fine example of this hailing from the West Coast is the Magik Magik Orchestra.  This revolving group of musicians based out of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music is headed by Minna Choi and can be found adding to a diverse cross-section of popular artists.  Check out the video below for a great example of what they are up too.
If you are a fan of popular music and film scores and looking to expand your reach into contemporary classical music, the post-minimal movement might be a good place to start. Here are five fine examples that you can stream in their entirety on the NPR music blog.  My suggestion is to start with the concert by the New York based group Alarm Will Sound.  Happy listening!
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