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5 Best American Contemporary Classical Albums Of 2010

It's remarkable to watch the evolution of contemporary music through a radio station's music library. Like an entomologist collecting varieties of moths or butterflies, we collect every stylistic trend imaginable, often running out of space and time to listen. Another evolution has taken place in the music business, with more indie labels and self-produced (and high-quality) discs reminding us of the corner mom-and-pop bakery and its hand-crafted delicacies.

Each label represented here has made a commitment to new music, regardless of budget size, and for that we're all the better. So if there's a theme to this list, besides representing contemporary classical music, it's that together, these five discs serve as a snapshot of American music and the healthy environment in which it thrives.

Daniel Gilliam is the program director for Classical Minnesota Public Radio.

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Daniel Gilliam