Michael Gordon - DystopiaDystopia - front coverDystopia - inside panelDystopia - full panel spread

Combining two of Michael Gordon’s most daring large-scale orchestral works, the long-awaited release of Dystopia documents Gordon’s dream of not only stretching the capabilities of the modern symphony, but in his words, of “exploring the gray areas between harmony and dissonance.” On its own, the music of Dystopia paints a picture of one city’s future — in this case, the city of Los Angeles — that is frenzied, chaotic, dazzling, electric, and ultimately...loud.

Gordon had discovered similar sensibilities in composing Rewriting Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony. “Beethoven’s brutish and loud music has always inspired me,” he explains. “At the time it was written, it was probably the loudest music on the planet.” Using one element from each of the original movements as a starting point, Gordon crafts a post-modern take on the master’s classical forms that managed both to mesmerize and scandalize the audience at Beethovenfest Bonn, who commissioned the work’s premiere in 2006. “I had tread on hallowed ground — no, I was leading the way into the future. Well, all in a day’s work,” he wrote of the crowd’s reaction in a blog post for the New York Times.

Taken together, both works reimagine the 21st-century symphony as equally reverent of the past (if not also a bit irreverent), while envisioning, as an L.A. Times review of the Dystopia premiere put it, “a drunken fugue of the future.”

performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic 
David Robertson, conductor 

Rewriting Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony 
performed by the Bamberger Symphoniker 
Jonathan Nott, conductor


Michael Gordon
CD / Digital
Release Date: 

Dystopia (excerpt) by Bill Morrison, with music by Michael Gordon

Dystopia excerpt1

Dystopia excerpt2

Dystopia excerpt3