"At a moment when America’s performing arts institutions are challenged not merely to continue to function, but to function in new ways, PCE undertakes a series of films linked to zoom chats – “PostClassical: More than Music” — exploring the role of music in society.
This initiative comes easily to us, as our programming typically focuses on music as an instrument for mutual understanding and human betterment.
Our two most recent projects, before the virus changed everything, were An Armenian Odyssey, at the Washington National Cathedral, and Furtwangler in Wartime, via WWFM. The former explored the power of music to forge inspirational cultural synergies. The latter explored the power of music to “bear witness” during World War II.
We began our new “More than Music” films with Deep River: The Art of the Spiritual, in which we were joined by PCE Resident Artist Kevin Deas.Future programs in this series will include “Dvorak and America,” for which we will be partnered by Howard University. The topics at hand are “What is the role of culture in a nation’s life?” and “Who is an American?”We look forward to seeing you again. In the meantime, please be well."
Joe and Ángel
PCE’s latest More than Music film is a singular consideration of Aaron Copland’s odyssey as the most famous American composer of his generation – in particular, his immersion in the political left in the 1930s, and his “Red scare” ordeal of the 1950s. The film includes Copland’s recollections of addressing a Communist picnic in Minnesota, and a re-enactment of his 1953 interrogation by Senator Joseph McCarthy and Roy Cohn (with Edward Gero playing McCarthy). PCE’s DVD of “The City” (1939), with Copland’s most remarkable film score, is centrally featured. Historians Michael Kazin and Joseph McCartin consider Copland’s fate in the larger context of American populism – a volatile factor that seemingly looms ever larger in our national experience.
Featuring excerpts from PCE's DVD “The City,” presenting the classic 1939 documentary film with Copland’s score newly recorded by PostClassical Ensemble conducted by Angel Gil-Ordonez with narrator Francis Guinan – and also from the CD of Copland solo piano music performed by Benjamin Pasternack.