Over two weeks, and a mile or so from the Surfing Museum in Santa Cruz, California, Marin Alsop brought a dozen living composers and their music to the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. Famous composers—people like John Adams, Jennifer Higdon, Philip Glass, and Mark Anthony Turnage. A bevy of critics were in attendance to opine on one or more of the several concerts, including yours truly.
The result was one of the better of the 19 series I’ve been attending, starting with the first one Alsop directed in 1992. Impressive, but not surprisingly so, given my experience with what Alsop does and does so well. Except for one event that forcefully reminded me of the negligible critical attention paid to a most significant part of the process of making music: audience reception.