Music: Moderns in Manhattan

In Manhattan's concert halls last week the intermission air was filled with overcordial "hellos," frequently followed by apologies: "Sorry I didn't hear your new work, but I—uh—was having rehearsals for my own, you know . . ."

The meetings of composers were brought about by the fullest fortnight of modern music Manhattan has ever heard. Chief instigators were the Juilliard School of Music, which commissioned 32 U.S. composers for its 50th anniversary celebration, and New York City's highbrow station WNYC, which stages an annual American Music Festival between Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays. With...