What will music sound like in 50 years?

What will your music sound like in 5 years?

Back in 1994, these composers weighed in on what music would be like in 150 years: Milton Babbitt Pierre Boulez Harrison Birtwistle Brian Ferneyhough Steve Reich Franco Donatoni Louis Andriessen

11 Responses to “The Future of Music in 5 & 50:”
  1. Lev says:

    In a video interview in 1950s one of the greatest conductors of all times, Bruno Walter (Otto Schlesinger) was asked by the Los Angeles Times journalist: “Maestro, what do you think about modern music?” The answer from Maestro Bruno Walter followed with the speed of a lightening: “I am not aware of such a thing!” A keen observation. All depends on the definition of the word “MUSIC”. If we manage to agree on that first then we can talk about so called “modern music” and “contemporary composers”. Unlike ‘davidcall” who might not be aware of the reality, I know that composers in Europe are NOT getting any more money than in the USA. This is not an issue, but what IS? There are other priorities where public money should go first: medical care and medical research, hunger, poverty and other social ills. “Modern composers” should go to private sources to support their artistic aspirations.

  2. David says:

    I agree that so many interesting composers are left out of this list. However, it does depend on who is playing the music. I just attended a dynamite recital at Bargemusic in New York City by Japanese pianist, Nami Ejiri. After playing Scarlatti, Schumann’s Carnaval, and 2 pices of Liszt, she ended the concert with “Islamey: an Oriental Fantasy by M.A. Balakirew (1837-1910). It sounded a little Bartokian in places and was a real gem of a piece. But the real star the evening was this phenomenally gifted interpreter, Nami Ejiri, who is one of the most outstanding students of the great Russian-born pianist and piano pedagogue, Lev Natochenny (www.natochenny.com or http://www.natochenny.de). I do not know if Nami Ejiri could make all the modern composers in your list sound captivating. But it is a distinct possibility!

  3. Graham Rieper says:

    “Like asking a bunch of rocks about geology.”

    Or asking a bunch of rocks anything.

  4. Steve Layton says:

    Lisa’s actually got a good point, CB. Even Kyle’s valiant station attempt doesn’t begin to paint a complete picture. And I think we’re stuck with equal temperament for a long while yet, in the culture-at-large at least. While I’ll agree that “at-will” microtones will be all around, none of the systematic versions are likely to dominate. But if you can posit the scenario you see coming (minus the bombs), I’d like to hear it.

  5. CB says:

    But on topic, even temperment is going out the window in 50 years or less.

    Unless the bombs start dropping…

  6. CB says:

    I pity Lisa. Check out Kyle Gann’s radio station:


    you’ll have to bear through the ads, but it’s worth it.

  7. Lisa says:

    I would just like to know what music sounds like now. Silly question and a silly group to ask. Like asking a bunch of rocks about geology.

  8. Tim Risher says:

    And Brian Ferneyhough’s little dig at modern trends; nice. Don’t worry, I won’t listen to his music in my next life, either.

  9. davidcoll says:

    curious why this question is answered in such an american-centric tone for some of the composers. Just to add in my two-cents, i hope that one thing we get rid of in the next 150 years is the recurring pedestal-placing of european composers over american composers, as the biggest difference is they usually have more money and time related directly to their composing activities- and who knows, maybe if this country(usa) does start moving towards more social programs (first health care, then new-music subsidizing right!) then there wouldn’t be as much to envy across the pond.

  10. Woops, sorry for the typo: Andriessen. I don’t think I can go back and fix it.

  11. My first reaction:
    Holy crap, Milton can just go on and on.

    I’m laughing at Andreissen’s Uptown/Downtown assesment. Uptown composers have good salaries? Wives AND mistresses? Horses? Second Houses? (For the second horse and mistress, I presume?)

    Steve is dead-on, at least looking a segment of the current scene.