Join Keith Simon Friday evenings at 8pm for Iconoclasts.

You will enjoy, and perhaps be challenged, by the music you hear.

Iconoclast logo

Mr. Webster’s definition of “iconoclast” pretty much sums it up: A person who attacks settled beliefs or institutions. This challenge to established traditions or perceptions, some merely habits begging to be destroyed, has been prevalent in the arts since the beginning of recorded history.

In every genre of music, including classical, the status quo has been challenged by artists who, in their day, were attacked, their music called “diseased,” by the establishment. Within time, though, what was considered avant-garde became mainstream, only to be upended by yet another salvo of new ideas and expressions. The cycle continues to this day.

Even Ludwig van Beethoven, a genius who is now consistently polled as the world’s greatest classical composer, was considered edgy by some in his time. Considering Beethoven’s eccentric and confrontational personality, such attacks on his work only served as entertainment. Austrian musician, conductor and composer Ignaz von Seyfried conducted the premiere of Beethoven’s opera Fidelio.

Seyfried wrote, “When he (Beethoven) came across criticisms accusing him of making blunders in musical grammar he laughed loudly and, rubbing his hands gleefully, exclaimed: “Yes, yes! They put their heads together and open wide their mouths because they have not seen anything like it in the text books on harmony.”

They were celebrated, reviled, ignored, and more – the list of iconoclasts in classical music is quite long. In KCME’s new program, Iconoclasts, announcer Keith Simon endeavor to explore these ground-breaking composers and their music, as well as the challenges they faced for merely being ahead of the curve or just humming their own tune.