The composers least noticed by writers on music history seem to be the most enduring in the concert hall: the popularity of Rachmaninov or Puccini contrasts strongly with the neglect of modernist icons like Schoenberg or Varèse. This lecture views the gulf between music’s intelligentsia, for whom Schoenberg remains central, and the world’s audiences, for whom he seems more like a costly aberration. What is it about this traditional composer that continues to shock? The lecture ends with an introductory look at a work that confirmed Schoenberg’s lonely path – his Five Orchestral Pieces.
Piers Hellawell is a composer, writer and photographer. He is Professor of Composition at Queen's University in Belfast and was the Gresham Professor of Music between 2000 and 2003. His work has been performed at the Henry Wood Promenade concerts and by the Vanbrugh quartet, Stockholm Chamber Brass and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. He was awarded a Leverhulme fellowship in 2010.
All of Piers Hellawell's previous lectures may be accessed here.