In Sunday’s (3/20) New York Times, Zachary Woolfe writes, “Tourists were streaming through the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on a cold, sunny afternoon recently, and the composer John Zorn was watching them and talking about the city. ‘The one thing that never changes in New York,’ he said, ‘is change.’ Mr. Zorn, the most New York of composers, has likewise remained the same by always changing. Since his rise to downtown stardom in the mid-1970s and ‘80s, he has seemingly moved at liberty through genres and styles: Cageian, rule-driven ‘game’ pieces; postmodern riffs on film scores; klezmer-flavored experimental jazz; elegant works for small choir; and string quartets that are fairly standard, at least by contemporary norms. … In 1998 the New York Philharmonic performed a short piece he wrote in honor of its 150th anniversary. He received a Pulitzer Prize nomination in 2000 for his violin concerto ‘Contes de Fées’ and a MacArthur Foundation grant in 2006. On Friday New York City Opera will give the stage premiere of ‘La Machine de l’Être,’ a volatile, often beautiful work for soprano and orchestra that Mr. Zorn composed in 2000. … Whatever the reasons, Mr. Zorn is now seen as a powerful bridge between uptown and downtown.”

Posted March 22, 2011