A Modern Music Playlist to Inspire You


Composer Tan Dun | Photo by Nana Watanabe

Voting is open for our first ever Classical California Ultimate Playlist, and since we know many of our listeners are passionate about new music, Alan Chapman, host of KUSC’s Modern Times, put together this playlist to inspire your voting. If you think any of these pieces should be on the Classical California Ultimate Playlist click here to vote or let us know in the comments below.

Ruth Crawford: Preludes (1924-1928)

The Preludes are a compelling example of Crawford’s stature as an ultra-modernist composer who defied the stereotype of women composers.

Arvo Pärt: Spiegel im Spiegel (1978)

Spiegel im Spiegel (Mirror in the Mirror) by the “mystic minimalist” Arvo Pärt is one of the early works in his “tintinnabular” style, a style inspired by the ringing of bells. The music is spare, but it has profound emotional power.

Tan Dun: Bitter Love from Peony Pavilion (1998)

Bitter Love is a collection of wonderfully lyrical and exotically orchestrated songs from Tan Dun’s opera based on a Chinese play from 400 years earlier.

Osvaldo Golijov: St. Mark Passion (2000)

In a piece commissioned for the Bach year of 2000, Argentine composer Golijov infuses the Passion story with Latin American rhythm to create a work that’s been called the first masterpiece of the new millennium.

Jennifer Higdon: Violin Concerto (2009)

Higdon is one of my favorite contemporary American composers, a true natural who, despite a late start in music, won the Pulitzer Prize for her Violin Concerto, a tour de force written for Hilary Hahn.


Vote Now in the Classical California Ultimate Playlist