Sunday, December 18, 2011

Classical Composers of the 21st Century, where fore art thou?

Even a casual reader of this blog must certainly know how deeply I'm into video streaming in class. I screen-cast my lessons every day! I play funny math and computer related YouTubes on Wednesdays and informative TEDs on Tuesdays. I also show some documentaries I rescued from old disintegrating VHS tapes on YouTube Wednesdays. My students even make math and computer filks for me!

However, I recently rediscovered audio streaming! In fact, I use on Fridays when giving a test or quiz. A little Classical Music helps the concentration! I try to find an instrumental music playlist to play in the background. Very often, the playlist is related to Classical Music. However, you can only listen to so much Bach, Beethoven and Brahms before you want some variety. So, lately, I've been playing film score music from adventure, sci fi and historical movies. These scores are so colorful and broad in scope so as to sound like grand orchestral music anyway! Discovering all this music used to be prohibitively expensive. However, websites such as and have made it really easy to research composers of all genres and time periods for free! I use the Pandora and TinyShark apps on my DroidX a lot for this. For example, sometimes, I'll think of a nice theme from my childhood. Let's say Lara's Theme from Dr. Zhivago. I'll look up the film on, The Internet Movie Database, to find the composer. Finally, I fire up my Pandora or TinyShark app and look for a playlist related to the composer and I'm all set,

The choice of Pandora vs. GrooveShark is up to you! Pandora, the Music Genome Project, makes playlists for you with a mix of composers similar to the one you select. If you want every track you can get your hands on from only one composer, then GrooveShark is the way to go. When you search on GrooveShark, you get up to 200 CD tracks from the composer you want. You can then pick and choose which tracks you want on your playlist! Here's some of my favorite GrooveShark playlists:
Rodrigo y Gabriela,
Pepe Romero,

It is my contention, therefore, that the film score writers of today are, in fact, the Classical Composers of the 21st Century! Even Copland, Gershwin and Bernstein composed for film and Broadway after all! Some of the modern film score composers are so prolific and so creative that they've become part of our cultural psyche! There are so many great composers of this sort to choose from! Who can forget, for example, John Williams' Star Wars and Harry Potter music or Jerry Goldsmith's Star Trek and Planet of the Apes themes or Bear McCreary's BattleStar Galactica TV scores, just to name a few? Take a listen:
John Williams,
Jerry Goldsmith,
Bear McCreary,

In fact, I've also rediscovered radio - well, internet radio. Many of my favorite radio shows are now archived on the web. So, these shows become audio blogs of sorts:
Howard Margolin's Destinies, The Voice of Science Fiction
Chris DeFilippis's deFlipSide (science fiction and fact)
Suzzane Bona's Sunday Morning Baroque
Fiona Ritchie's The Thistle and Shamrock (celtic music)
John Diliberto's Echoes (new age music)
WQXR Radio (live stream Classical Radio)

Don't forget video blogs! I just found this vblog about the filming in 3D and HD of the LOTR prequel called the Hobbit:

Generally Speaking,

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