The New Music Calendar is a good indicator of what events are taking place in New York, and this October, the scene according to NMC shows that a large percentage of new music concerts include Bach, Schubert, Liszt, Bartok and the unavoidable Mozart, as well as 20th century staples like Schoenberg, Berio, Davidovsky, Carter, Stravisnky, Ligeti and Webern. Now that Interpretations has turned jazzy, there is even less exposure for post-classic music. The old-new-generation is still well represented with Philip Glass who is doing something every season, and John Adams who seems to be everywhere lately. Meanwhile, newcomer Corey Dargel seems to have earned his place on the scene. James Tenney is having two pieces performed at Manhattan School of Music on November 9. Fred Hersch appreared at the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study – curiously, his program title With and Without Words is similar to one of mine from 1995, (With or Without Words). In addition, many new, foreign, unfamiliar names appear on the programs.

There is very little female representation. Women get the less-glamorous school and church gigs – Eve Beglarian and Elizabeth Brown at Manhattan School of Music, Laura Kaminsky and Mary Jane Leach at Fifth Ave Presbyterian (Oct 28), Augusta Reade Thomas at Madison Ave Prebyterian (Oct 30 afternoon), Tina Davidson at the Society for Ethical Culture, in a festival of spiritual music offsetting Halloween on October 29-30. As usual, Roulette has the best female-to-male ratio, with Zeena Parkins, Nicole Zaray, Monika Heidemann. The Composers’ Ensemble at Princeton presents no work by women whatsoever.

Generally, concerts are fewer than in the past. The scene seems to be unfocused. It is good to present music from all over the world, in addition, but not instead of music by local composers and by women. Also there is way too much straight old classical music being performed. How are we supposed to evolve?

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