The most-acclaimed new classical music of 2015

Barney Sherman’s 2015 classical music mega-meta-list is now up (part 1part 2), pulling together the results of 64 different “best of the 2015” lists from classical music critics.

Most of the selections are new performances of older works. Here, I want to highlight the contemporary classical pieces that were recorded for the first time in 2015 (and usually composed in the last few years), and that were included in 6 or more of the lists in Sherman’s analysis:

  1. Anna Thorvaldsdottir: In the Light of Air
  2. Andrew Norman: Play / Try
  3. Julia Wolfe: Anthracite Fields
  4. Various composers: Render
  5. Various composers: Clockworking
  6. John Luther Adams: The Wind in High Places
  7. John Adams: Absolute Jest

The links go to Spotify. If you’re relatively new to contemporary classical music, my guess is that Absolute Jest is the most widely accessible selection here, followed by Render.


  1. says

    Thank you for the link, I listened only to Absolute Jest and Anthracite Fields (this latter is a truly, complex, masterpiece). Now going through the others of the list 🙂

  2. Roth says

    Thank you for these links. Also, I greatly enjoy your posts on music. I’ve learned more about various styles of music and great musicians from you than anyone else. Thank you.

  3. Martin says

    Never quite gotten into classical music beyond the popular classics – put on Absolute Jest as I was going through my RSS feed, and it captured my attention just playing in the background. Truly marvelous, thank you!

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