It is becoming clear to me that new classical music is doomed upon conception.
Berlin, for me, is a metaphor for cutting-edge arts. A city filled with great writers, artists, intellectuals, and composers.
But the mainstream cultural musical institutions of Europe are an insult and embarrassment to these incredible artists. These institutions recreate and sell European musical history to wealthy tourists while choking the voices of these contemporary artists. Every city I visit seems to have the same repertoire of musical works and operas in their concert halls. The only thing worse is in the USA as we sell not our own musical history but imported history, as if we must lack self-esteem with our own musical arts.
In all areas of the arts, painting, sculpture, literature, film, and architecture, there is a genuine inquisitive thirst for what is going on now. Classical music is the only genre I know that refuses to join the present with the rest of the world. What if we asked modern painters in the world to copy 16th-century masters all day? How creative would that be for them? But commerce dictates, and that is how wealthy patrons want the classical world to stay. Good or bad orchestras are now just only aural museums.
It's absurd for any critic that is truly a person of arts and letters to partake in writing and perpetuating the status quo. The institutions will kill off the very thing that any business, art, or genre needs to survive—innovation
After spending the last few days with a large orchestra I could not think of a worse environment to make music.
Looking at the faces of the orchestra you can tell they don't want to be there. You can bet that 50 percent or more don’t like it and resent playing the music. So how can they make art out of it?
You have to deal with the giant corporate bureaucracy, don't touch this, or do that, or go there. Not the least bit welcoming or relaxed. The symphony has an elitist social club aspect to it, and it alienates many music lovers.
Then there is the issue of the orchestra musician hating new music. Much of it is difficultand not what they learned 20 years ago in school. Then if all goes well they might book your work three years out so there is no immediate gratification like we have in jazz. In jazz everyone on the bandstand wants to be there, enjoys what they are doing, and the entire experience is fun, not some punch the clock factory job.
And in the rare event where they will let you record it, you’ll have to make 1000 edits to fix wrong notes to get it in shape for release. So find a great engineer editing team.
As virtual instruments get better composers will no longer have to deal with any of this. They will fine tune their creations like sculptures, without the interface and headaches of dealing with 100 people. The future for new music will be on electronic devices in your home and on the go. People will use the web as we now use a program in a concert hall.
One hundred years down the line if a piece of music enters the mainstream repertoire things might be different for the composer...