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Sounds of Generation Y Part II was commissioned by Theater & Philharmonie Thüringen in 2018. Stylistically the piece is a sequel to a previous orchestral work of mine; I was approached by the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra to compose an orchestral piece for them in 2015. This was when I produced Sounds of Generation Y with the intent to explore whether it is possible to incorporate popular music into classical music the same way Béla Bartók or Zoltán Kodály did so with folk music.
The reason behind this concept is that I am witnessing the audience of contemporary classical music dwindling, and seeing every day how challenging is it to address and engage young people. However, they will be the audience filling concert halls in the future. Literature refers to the population born between 1980 and 1995 as Generation Y, while Generation Z means people born between 1995 and 2010. I am also part of Generation Y, a generation that was born into digital culture. We are the first generation to grow up with the internet as the main source of information, the platform where we take care of our everyday errands and where we communicate with our friends. Digital culture is the watershed between Generation Y and other generations, and they are the youth of today. Therefore, it is increasingly important for me to discover how to address them with classical music and awaken their interest for this genre.
In my composition, I divided the orchestra into two smaller ones – consisting of almost the same instruments – that work as two speakers. Sometimes the sound material comes from the right, sometimes from the left, complementing each other and helping the listener navigate the landscape of the piece. These stereo-like ideas create the strand of the orchestral material in my piece, lead by the solo music materials. The cimbalom plays mechanical arpeggio of the chords throughout the whole piece, the chords appear in the orchestra material as well, sometimes in the form of soft horizontal sound blocks and at times as vertically fragmented rhythms. I saw the solo instrument as a digital keyboard that controls the whole orchestra, neglecting its folksy character.
The musical structures used in the composition are characteristic of the American minimalism in many of their aspects, making the piece more comprehensible even for an audience less familiar with contemporary classical music. Swedish pop music had a strong influence on the direction of chords sequences and the rhythmic ideas of my composition. However, it is important to note that my main purpose was not to make the orchestra play popular or dance music but to explore how the musical elements found in popular music can be integrated into the orchestral sounding.
- 18.104.22.168.-22.214.171.124.-timpani, percussions(2), cimbalom, harps(2), strings (10.8.6.4.2)
- Editions Bim