Hear JoAnn Falletta's Discussion With Robert Siegel
Our country's culture is a vast conglomeration of more than 200 years of influences from all over the world. We have taken what began as an extraordinary European tradition and expanded that legacy on American soil. We have added our essential egalitarianism, our love of experimentation, our inclusiveness and our boldness to the very form of the symphony. Americans have not been bound by one definition of the symphony, and composers have applied that formal name to pieces of varying length, structure and content.
I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. If you were to paint a picture of today's contemporary music styles, it might be saturated with synthesizers and samplers that make up a, well, a very contemporary sound, very 21st-century. But there are a few musicians out there achieving the sound of today, but with the instruments of yesterday.
We taped this Field Recording shortly after Hurricane Sandy devastated communities in and around New York and New Jersey. One of those affected was drummer Nasheet Waits, who had lost his kit in the storm's waters. Luckily, the Steve Maxwell drum store in midtown Manhattan was willing to lend a hand — and one gray morning, we found ourselves in a gem of a space, surrounded by an incredible array of instruments, including Elvin Jones' setup.