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Rocking Your Proverbial Amadeus

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's Assistant Conductor Laura Jackson

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Recordings featuring the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra are nominated for seven Grammys in four categories this year, including three of the five nominations for Best Classical Contemporary Composition. ASO Assistant Conductor Laura Jackson rocks five (living!) classical contemporary composers everyone can love.

1) Osvaldo Golijov -- "Golijov's music will totally blow your mind because so much of it is improvised. He's a total melting pot of all different kinds of music. He definitely pulls in Klezmer stuff from his Jewish background. A lot of it is Latin influenced ... but also more popular stuff. I think he's one of the 20th and 21st century's great melodic writers."

2) Christopher Theofanidis -- "Theofanidis really tugs on your heart. [His The Here and Now is] so completely beautiful. It's an interpretation of Rumi poetry that is so direct, so visceral ... there's such contrast in it."

3) David Del Tredici -- "[His Paul Revere's Ride] is this zany, crazy, almost humorous, fast-moving piece. It really captures the sense of the Paul Revere ride, and captures the sound of wind rushing by and the horse galloping. It's a lot of fun, and very gripping. Totally listenable."

4) Michael Gandolfi -- "He was an electric guitarist in a rock band. He actually went from playing jazz and rock to then liking contemporary music and then learning about Bach and Schubert and all those folks in between. He's coming at it from a very different perspective, and his music reflects that."

5) Jennifer Higdon -- "Everyone wants a piece of her. She's like Michael Gandolfi: When she was growing up, her musical world was not one of sitting in a practice room. It was more of popular music. There's a lot of percussion. It's very exhilarating music. It has both a depth and also a sensationalism. ... Her Concerto for Orchestra ... gives big solos to everybody in the orchestra. It's like a big jam session, like a big jazz jam session. It's absolutely thrilling to watch."

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