Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Some famous Mavericks

Mavericks--I'm saturated with'em! A few weeks ago the San Fran Symphony blew into town wit h a pot pourri of programs featuring so called American mavericks. I've always thought of myself as a kind of maverick, if that meant being outside the main stream, wandering off among the outskirts into some uncharted wilderness, generally being outside the norm--although I dont think anyone else, certainly not the SF Symphony, has officially designated me a Mav. (Indeed they conspicuously left me outside the outside back in the '96 when they had their first American Maverick festival; in fact they have managed to avoid playing my music since Fog Tropes in Davies Hall way back in '81)
But let bygones be... back to the present. Both Carnegie Hall and WQXR bombarded us with constant reminder of their moveable feast, but weren't some of the alleged Mavericks quite the opposite now? I mean, come on, John Adams, Aaron Copland, David del Tredici and Steve Reich are hardly "outside" the mainstream; they are now leaders of the pack, among the most frequently performed composers. Back in the day (say the late 70's) sure they were Mavericks, but how long did that last?
A few years ago when he was appointed a composer in residence at Carnegie Hall with curatorial and conducting duties, John Adams was heard to chortle--"The inmates have taken oven the asylum."
It strikes me that if major cultural institutions such as the SF Symphony and Carnegie Hall team up to put on a festival of "Mavericks" they are, by this very action of mainstreaming, de-mavericking them!
This makes we wish that I too were to be officially designated an American Maverick so that I too could be dragged, (not kicking or screaming) into the main stream. That's where we all want to be, in the end.

Addendum: Not to disparage the actual concerts--Adams' piece for St Lawrence Quartet and Orhestra "Absolute Jest" was absolutely wonderful and full of charm and good humour, but not without its somber moments,
The stage poduction of the Cage Song Books was quite fun with diva Jesse Norman, flutter tonged angel Meredith Monk, and vocal magician Joan La Barbara, flitting around the set with Maesro MTT operating the cuisinart blender--brilliant if a civilized sort of chaos one could expeience as theater or as 45 mins of glorified boredom--take your pick