The AIDS Memorial Quilt on display at the Washington Monument in October 1992. The AIDS crisis is the subject of John Corigliano's Symphony No. 1, "Of Rage And Remembrance." AFP/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Composer Marc Blitzstein (left) with Leonard Bernstein studying the score of a Blitzstein work during a 1947 recording session. W. Eugene Smith/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image hide caption

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W. Eugene Smith/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image

Charles Ives, better known as an insurance executive in his time, wrote innovative symphonies incorporating American folk and hymn tunes. Corbis hide caption

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Corbis

David Robertson, a passionate champion of new music, conducts the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra on tour in Berlin. Dilip Vishwanat/St. Louis Symphony hide caption

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Dilip Vishwanat/St. Louis Symphony

The American Symphony: Music And Ideas With David Robertson

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George Walker is considered the elder statesman of today's African-American composers. Gregory Walker/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Gregory Walker/Courtesy of the artist

The American Symphonic Legacy: Not Just For White Guys

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Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts is still inspired by the age-old symphonic form. Andrew Shapter hide caption

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Andrew Shapter

Robert Spano, music director of the Aspen Music Festival and School, conducts the Aspen Chamber Symphony. He is a fan of the Third Symphony by Aaron Copland. /Alex Irvin hide caption

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/Alex Irvin

New York-based composer Mohammed Fairouz. Samantha West/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Samantha West/Courtesy of the artist

Hear An Excerpt From Fairouz' 'Poems And Prayers'

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Some of the 200 guitarists who took part in Rhys Chatham's A Crimson Grail at Lincoln Center's Out of Doors Festival in August 2009. YouTube hide caption

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YouTube

Conductor JoAnn Falletta. Cheryl Gorski/courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Cheryl Gorski/courtesy of the artist

Hear JoAnn Falletta's Discussion With Robert Siegel

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Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony have been consistent champions of American music of all shapes and sizes. Are there — or will there be — American symphonies that stand with those of Mozart and Beethoven, Mahler and Shostakovich? Bill Swerbenski/San Francisco Symphony hide caption

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Bill Swerbenski/San Francisco Symphony