The age-old myth of a clear dichotomy between French and German composers still lives on in many people’s minds, as do even quainter notions such as the idea that all Italian composers write operas or at least are always lyrical. A closer look reveals a landscape in which it has always been impossible to make generalizations. (Music history is littered with composers like the “Italian” Francesco Antonio Rosetti, an 18th-century composer who briefly worked in France and was later a Kapellmeister in Northern Germany, but was actually born František Antonín Rosety in Bohemia.)
Here in the United States we continue to talk about East Coast vs. West Coast composers, and then there’s “Minnesota nice.” But a composer such as Ann Millikan, who grew up in California and is now based in East St. Paul, writes music that completely defies such one-dimensional geographical typecasting.
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