• SOUNDING STRATEGY: COMPOSERS’ USES OF SOCIAL JUSTICE AND POLITICAL THEMES IN CONTEMPORARY CLASSICAL CONCERT MUSIC

      Goldin-Perschbacher, Shana; Wright, Maurice, 1949-; Manabe, Noriko, 1960-; Klein, Michael Leslie (Temple University. Libraries, 2019)
      Contemporary classical concert music could be part of the solution to build a just and sustainable future. My research demonstrates that such music, despite its niche, elitist positioning in contemporary American society, can contribute to social movements and change the world in meaningful, tangible ways when attention is paid to social movement strategy and structures of power. To reconsider the potential power of this music, I apply a range of methodologies from ethnography to hermeneutic analysis to nonviolent direct action strategy, drawing on the work of musicologists, ethnomusicologists, and social movement theorists. Given the elitism of the classical concert hall, it is a non-obvious genre in which to convey a social justice or leftist political theme, yet many composers try to do so. I examine five of these composers in depth: Laura Kaminsky, David Lang, Curt Cacioppo, Ludovico Einaudi, and Hannibal (who goes by other names but used the mononym Hannibal in the concert which I discuss). Concurrently with my research, I composed a large-scale experimental work to be used in a protest to demonstrate the potential for contemporary classical music to support nonviolent movements. I organized a pilot performance that brought together music students and community members in the lobby of a large utility headquarters as part of an ongoing campaign for local green jobs in Philadelphia.