American Composer Face-Off

Happy Independence Day! Today, we want to know which classical composer makes you feel the most patriotic.

parade

Photo: C.E. Kent

The U.S. Marine Band on parade in Washington, D.C.

From Broadway musicals to hip-hop, from ragtime to rock and roll—American music comes in many forms, but there’s a quality to each one that is distinctly American.

This Independence Day, we want to know which classical composers speak most to your inner patriot.

Do Copland’s orchestral landscapes remind you of the country’s natural beauty? Do Gershwin’s jazzy melodies bring to mind the nation’s storied musical past? Maybe Sousa marches and the grand ceremonies they evoke have a special meaning for you, or perhaps you are fascinated by the slightly bizarre music of Charles Ives.

Vote for your favorite. If you like, leave a comment explaining what makes that composer’s music so American. Or, if none of the composers got your vote, let us know who you’re listening to this Fourth of July.

You can hear Baltimore Symphony director Marin Alsop’s thoughts on the subject at NPR’s Deceptive Cadence.

Sam Callahan

Sam Callahan graduated from IU in 2013 with degrees in Trumpet Performance and Economics. He is now a student at Harvard Law School.

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  • Davidc6h12o6

    I think one ironic bit of music I always hear and enjoy most for the 4th is from a Russian composer, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, with the 1812 overture.  As a kid, I really liked the whole piece, but especially the cannon reports.   After that, comes Sousa for the catchy tunes that everybody grooves on.    DR

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