Before there was Bang On A Can, before the annual 12-hour music marathons, before there was a band of world-class musicians touring around the globe, before the summer festival for young composers and performers, before all the concerts, the commissions, the cd releases, the operas, and the radio broadcasts, there was a coffee shop in lower Manhattan and a series of conversations among three friends — Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe — about where music was and where it was going.

Michael, David and Julia arrived in New York City in the early 1980s only to discover that the music world had been fractured into tiny, isolated communities, each with its own style and subgenre and venue and audience. There were a lot of separate little scenes. The academics, the minimalists, the rockers, the improvisers, the eggheads, the folklorists, the meditaters, the symphonists — musicians in each category had some place to go. The problem was, if you didn’t fit squarely into one of the categories you were out of luck.

Michael, David and Julia decided to create a scene of their own.

Their first idea was to change the nature of the categories themselves. Most of the young composers they knew, and most of the music they liked, didn’t fit neatly into any of the established boxes. They saw that among young composers all around the world there were powerful musical ideas just starting to flow freely between categories: between minimalism and rock, between written and improvised music, between world music and noise, between live performance and electronica. Restlessly inventive musicians everywhere were pulling the barriers down.

Red Poppy Music was founded in 1993 as the publishing company for the music of Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe. The music of these three American composers represents some of the most adventurous, breathtaking, passionate, and powerful music of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Encompassing all areas of classical music, from works for solos through works for orchestra and operas, Red Poppy Music is an indelible source of unique and influential music that is a testament to the vibrant state of classical music today.