The Year In Music: Indie Classical Blossoms On Small Labels : Deceptive Cadence Blurring the borders separating classical, rock, jazz and more, an assortment of young, smart musicians feels equally at home playing in trendy nightclubs or swanky concert halls.

The Year In Music: Indie Classical Blossoms On Small Labels

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Every year, fans of classical music argue over its future and 2010 was no different. Across the country, orchestras are struggling financially and audiences are aging.

Still, NPR's Tom Huizenga reports that 2010 was a good year for what might be called indie-classical.

THOMAS HUIZENGA: Is this classical music?

(Soundbite of music)

HUIZENGA: Is this classical music?

(Soundbite of music)

HUIZENGA: Well then, how about this?

(Soundbite of music)

HUIZENGA: Labels like classical, post-rock, chamber music, jazz, they seem to mean less and less, thanks in part to an emerging assortment of young, smart musicians who feel equally at home playing in night clubs or concert halls.

Like keyboardist and composer Missy Mazzoli, leader of the all-female quintet called Victoire.

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. MISSY MAZZOLI (Keyboardist; Composer; Band leader, Victoire): I am coming for my friends. I'm (unintelligible).

HUIZENGA: Mazzoli studied in Amsterdam with composer Louis Andriessen, but she also plays in the rock band Mohair Time Warp. As for record labels, the Internet has reduced the distance between the big classical companies and the small go-getters.

Sarah Kirkland Snider wrote and released this song cycle called "Penelope."

(Soundbite of song, Penelope)

Ms. SARAH KIRKLAND SNIDER (Composer): (Singing) ...America, across the sea.

HUIZENGA: With two other composers, Kirkland Snider runs the small Brooklyn-based New Amsterdam label. This year alone, New Amsterdam released 10 albums. And there are many more indie labels, like Canteloupe, Bedroom Community and Non Classical, launched by Gabriel Prokofiev, and they're proving to be fertile homes for indie classicalists. Prokofiev, by the way, is the grandson of Sergei Prokofiev, the composer who gave us "Peter and the Wolf." He's also an electronica DJ, completely comfortable releasing solo piano music.

(Soundbite of music)

HUIZENGA: Or concertos for turntables.

(Soundbite of music)

HUIZENGA: For Gabriel Prokofiev and dozens of other indie classicalists, classical music isn't dying - it's doing just fine.

Tom Huizenga, NPR News.

MONTAGNE: And you could hear full songs at our classical music blog, Deceptive Cadence at

(Soundbite of music)


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