Monday, October 8, 2012

Lowell Liebermann Wakes Up the Ear

This is an entirely unsolicited post praising the work of Lowell Liebermann.  I first knew of him after stumbling on his Album for the Young, a collection of piano pieces that has proved a surprising hit with my students of all ages, and with me. The pieces cover a considerable range of genre and difficulty; but most important, they stimulate instrumental sensitivity, and they relate to the soundscape of our time. 

The other evening he conducted MACE, a new ensemble at Mannes, dedicated to the performance of living American composers.  Like the pieces in the piano album, his selection of works covered a considerable range, peaking in one that required minutest attention to tuning by the ensemble's individual winds and strings.  The students were so obviously really into it that I didn't want to miss an  instant of their attentiveness.  Afterward some of them said they had had a wonderful time playing that piece.

How unlike the standard fare of everyone sounding like everyone else.  Here was music that wouldn't allow the players for a moment to get away with that.  Though not a piece of Liebermann's own composition it was clear from his programming that he understands the needs of today's audience and of today's players.