Arts Blog

American Music for Independence Day

This Independence Day, All Classical Portland is commemorating the 246th anniversary of the passage of the Declaration of Independence, by celebrating American composers and musicians on the air.

Read on for some of the highlights you’ll hear when you tune in at 89.9 FM in Portland or anywhere in the world via the live player on our website.

Programming Highlights & More

  • ON AIR – Throughout the day on July 4th, All Classical Portland’s programming will include works written and performed by American composers, soloists, orchestras, conductors, and musicians.
  • FRIDAY HAPPY HOUR – On Friday, July 1, 2022 at 5:00 PM PT, hosts Warren Black and Christa Wessel featured new takes on classics by George Frideric Handel, including his Music for the Royal Fireworks Suite. Listen to the episode on demand until July 15, 2022.
  • SATURDAY MATINEE – On Saturday, July 2, 2022, host Warren Black shared music by American composers, and musicians, including a selection from William Grant Still’s The American Scene. Originally composed in 1957 for the NBC Radio Network, Still’s set of orchestral suites depict different regions of the United States.
  • THE SCORE – Host Edmund Stone celebrated the birth of the United States of America on The Score on Saturday, July 2, 2022, with music from Lincoln, Born on the Fourth of July, Remember the Titans, and more. Listen to the episode on demand until July 16, 2022.
  • ARTS BLOGCelebrating Composers Who Emigrated to America by Emma Riggle.

Five “Can’t Miss” American Pieces for Independence Day

Leonard Bernstein
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Leonard Bernstein’s Overture to Candide

Bernstein‘s exuberant Overture to Candide was originally written in 1956 to accompany a then-unsuccessful Broadway musical. After countless revivals without the composer’s involvement, Bernstein decided to revisit the work in 1988 to produce his ultimate version based on a revival by the Scottish Opera.

The Overture features a dazzling display of musical sparks and fanfare.

Florence Price’s Symphony No. 1

Price‘s iconic work was the first symphony by a Black woman to be performed by a major American orchestra. Completed in 1932, her piece was premiered by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Frederick Stock in June 1933.

The symphony reflects Price’s experience as a woman of color in the post-Civil War South, and incorporates elements of African-American spirituals, church hymns, and American folk music.

Florence Price
Portrait of Florence Price by G. Nelidoff, courtesy of Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries.

Photo of composer Aaron Copland from the CBS television/New York Philharmonic "Young Peoples' Concerts" series.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Aaron Copland’s El Salón México

Copland‘s symphonic El Salón México was written during 1932 and completed in 1933. The work was inspired by the composer’s first trip to Mexico, and its melodies drew on those found on sheet music Copland purchased during the trip.

While visting Mexico, Copland’s friend Carlos Chávez took him to a nightclub called “El Salón México.” The outing inspired Copland to incorporate elements of dance hall and the country’s complexities into his new piece.

Jeffrey Tyzik’s Fantasy on American Themes

GRAMMY Award winner Jeff Tyzik is one of America’s most innovative and sought-after pops conductors. This Independence Day, you’ll hear the Oregon Symphony Pops conductor’s Fantasy on American Themes.

Featuring cascading strings and rhythmic brass and woodwinds, the piece incorporates music from classics such as Yankee Doodle, America the Beautiful, and When Johnny Comes Marching Home.

Conductor Jeffrey Tyzik
Image courtesy of Jeff Tyzik’s website.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

John Philip Sousa’s The Stars and Stripes Forever

It would not be the Fourth of July without Sousa‘s patriotic march! Written in 1896, The Stars and Stripes Forever was named the official National March of the United States of America by Congress in 1987.

Sousa wrote the memorable march on Christmas Day while vacationing in Europe with his wife, when he became homesick for the USA.

How To Listen

Join us at 89.9 FM in Portland or listen online from anywhere via the live player on our website.

Read other posts by


Our Sponsors

Portland Fireplace and Chminey
Plank and Coil logo

Meet all of our sponsors  |  Become a sponsor

  • KQAC 89.9 Portland/Vancouver
  • KQOC 88.1 Newport/Lincoln City
  • KQHR 88.1 Hood River/The Dalles
  • KQHR 96.3 Columbia Gorge East
  • KQMI 88.9 Manzanita
  • KSLC 90.3 McMinnville
  • 95.7 FM Corvallis/Flynn