The Performer in the Music of Milton Babbitt

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Like Schoenberg, Babbitt was ambivalent about certain complexities of performance, which were integrally connected to the nature and presentation of his music. The psychological accessibility of his music, the virtuosity required for the ideal realisation of his compositions, and the implications of his notation all related directly to the creative processes of his performers. Upon considering these factors, it is suggested that Babbitt’s ambivalence about and reluctance to address the practical concerns of his interpreters, even those with whom he worked closely and for whom he had considerable regard, may have significant consequences for the dissemination of his oeuvre. Performers whose experiences are examined include Bethany Beardslee, Judith Bettina, Robert Black, Rolf Schulte, and Fred Sherry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)290-299
Number of pages10
JournalContemporary Music Review
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 2021


  • Notation
  • Performance Practice
  • Psychology
  • Schoenberg
  • Virtuosity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Music


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