Evil Nigger is performed at staid Disney Hall, but its author, Julius Eastman, was no ordinary composer. As an African-American singer, pianist and composer whose controversial but inventive minimalist creations often were infused with homosexual themes, Eastman was a rarity in the classical scene in the 1970s. The New York iconoclast eventually became homeless before dying in relative obscurity in 1990, but his music is finally receiving belated critical appreciation. Minimalist icon John Adams conducts four adventurous pianists — Joanne Pearce Martin, Vicki Ray, Dynasty Battles and Michelle Cann — through the rolling, cascading melodic waves of Evil Nigger, and L.A. Phil New Music Group ushers in the world premieres of new pieces by similarly bold composers Katherine Young and Andrew McIntosh.
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