Third Stream Music

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John Lewis, 1981
John Lewis, 1981

In 1957 Gunther Schuller invented the term, Third Stream, to describe the phenomenon where aspects of the two mainstreams of musical art, "classical" music and jazz, are combined in a musical composition or performance to create a "third stream" of music. The very first festival included orchestral pieces by classical composers, Stravinsky, Hindemith, Bartók and Milhaud, but in subsequent festivals the orchestra and classical ensembles were devoted only to third stream pieces. It was a risk in the early days of the festival to introduce classical elements rather than program strictly popular jazz groups, but it added to the prestige and uniqueness of Monterey.

Photo courtesy of the Monterey County Herald