Hey all,

I don’t know how many of you have read Alex Ross’ new piece in the Guardian. It is a candid and, to my eyes, successful exploration of why Americans dislike new music when they otherwise accept contemporary art forms with pleasure.

Check out the article here.

I found it comforting, in a way, to have such a well-established and trusted music writer advocate unpretentiously the worth of new music.

I hope others enjoy.

- Garrett

One Response to “The New Alex Ross Piece”
  1. Paul Muller says:

    Alex Ross gives his usual thoughtful observations on the state of new music in the major performing institutions. But new music today exists largely outside of the concert hall and it may be the case that the symphony is simply on the wrong side of the natural evolutionary trends in music. The size and disposition of the orchestral musical forces, the lack of performance opportunities in the symphonic season and most importantly – the lack of freedom to fail – all contribute to an environment in the concert hall that is inhospitable to new music. Since Glass and Reich in the 70s the performance platform of choice for new music has been the small ensemble with operas and large scale works more the exception than the rule.

    I admit I don’t travel in the highest musical circles, but those musicians I know who are performing their new music are doing it in a small ensemble. The chances of getting a commission for a larger group is close to zero for the average composer out here. When I write for performance it is for our small church choir – people I know.

    Many of us are writing new music for delivery via the Internet and ear buds because we can reach a knowledgeable audience – even if thinly scattered around the world – in the manner in which they presently receive their music. And new music can much evolve faster when created and delivered electronically – it must be months, if not a year or two, between commission and performance even for someone as accomplished as say, John Adams.

    It may be that the success and advancement of new music in the wider world will ultimately have nothing to do with the practices of the major performing organizations or the attitude of their patrons.

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