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June 30, 2005

Ah, The New Music Problem...

Hi Midori,

Of course getting people to be open to contemporary music has been a longtime problem. There really isn't an infrastructure in place anymore to promote and disseminate the best new music. Of course there are many places where new music is performed and encouraged, but what I'm talking about is an eagerness to want to have the best new thing on your program.

Those mechanisms exist in other artforms - it's tough to find an audience for a new book, but if something catches a foothold it gets wide promotion. In theatre, rights to the hottest new plays are fought over by regional theatres. In visual art there's a whole web of gallery owners and curators scouting for something new that can be turned into a hot commodity.

Where is that in music? How are audiences to learn new music vocabulary and follow any sort of new music tradition if they don't hear it regularly? Let's say you found something new that you thought was sensational. You start programming it, but who else is also going to take it up? And who's going to carry the message about this great piece to a wider audience to help build demand for it?

This is a problem, by the way, that I don't think is just confined to classical music. As radio stations have corporatized their playlists and formats have become more rigid, it's more and more difficult for pop music to evolve significantly beyond whee it is.

In this time of exponentially more choice, are we less willing to be adventurous? I greatly admire your efforts to open people's ears...


Posted by mclennan at June 30, 2005 10:23 AM