“The piece is somewhat inspired by the evolving ways we communicate with each other, as well as the conversational aspect of music, and a sense of dialogue,” he said. “It has a traditional classical form of four contrasting movements.”
For Dessner, there’s nothing odd or incompatible in rock and classical music appreciation.
“I think that at some point in the 20th century, classical music got a bad reputation for being elitist or academic or perhaps the realm of a privileged and aging audience,” he said. “Classical music is a poetic form where artists are given license to express themselves and to undertake important creative journeys. Maybe these are paths that don’t fit easily into marketing materials or easily commercialized packaging, and perhaps that is why so much of this music remains underground.”
At any rate, part of the point of MusicNow will be, as ever, to expose new, risk-taking work to a wider audience.
“For the past four years we’ve been involved in a collaborative relationship with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra,” he said. “The 2017 festival is our most ambitious program for the orchestra yet, featuring only new works for orchestra, with the exception of one masterpiece by (Gyorgy) Ligeti, written in 1990. While it may seem commonplace for MusicNow, this type of ambitious orchestra programming is really quite rare in America.”
How to go
What: MusicNow Festival
When: Jan. 12-14; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday
Where: Jan. 12 at the Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., Cincinnati; Jan. 13-14 at the Taft Theatre, 317 E. Fifth St., Cincinnati
Cost: $58.50-$78.50 (Thursday), $12-$70 (Friday and Saturday), $50-$70 (Friday-Saturday pass)
More info: www.musicnowfestival.org