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5 American Symphonies You Should Know

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
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.

It's not quite the quest for the Holy Grail, but we're in pursuit this summer of the "Great American Symphony." And in many respects, our journey is just as important as our destination.

In conductor JoAnn Falletta's essay, which introduced our search, she pointed out that we inherited the symphony from the grand European tradition, then "expanded on that legacy on American soil." Still, American symphonies, even by popular composers, are heard less often than you might think.

So in this leg of our exploration, we examine a few fascinating homegrown symphonies with the help of five acclaimed musicians. We asked them to pick their favorite American symphonic works and tell us what makes them great.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Tom Huizenga
Tom Huizenga is a producer for NPR Music. He contributes a wide range of stories about classical music to NPR's news programs and is the classical music reviewer for All Things Considered. He appears regularly on NPR Music podcasts and founded NPR's classical music blog Deceptive Cadence in 2010.