It's a given that people in the consensus have no clue that modern 'classical' composers exist. The bridge between 'modern music' makers and audiences (in 21st-century (post)classical era) is simply gone. (Actually, it has been for a long, long time... if you read the diaries of early 20th-century composers, they had the same problem... 100 years ago!) But anyway, NewMusicBox and Sequenza21 bemoan this situation all the time, and their writers often compare their world, with envy, to the world of pop with its massive popularity and distribution machines.
It's been said that classical music is one side of the world, and all other music is on the other. Hell, you even see that on Amazon.com, where Clasical Music is a separate category than simply Music. (what the hell is that?!)
But, I have found something interesting... I recently began to look around at other genres (other than classical and pop), and I'm finding the same story everywhere. Not only is classical music 'dead', but so too are rock (which I wholeheartedly agree with), jazz, and hip-hop. All are being declared dead. Just do a Google search (ie, 'is jazz dead'), and you'll find things being said about the other genres that we've come to accept as reality in the the classical world, along with symptoms and supposed reasons why.
So, what's going on here?! I've often heard, "Is classical music dead?" But I find now that I have to expand that question to "Is music dead?"
I think yes, in a sense, it is. Or I think it is dying as we know it. Our world is going through massive changes right now. Among other things, the record industry is collapsing (and don't tell me it's because of file-sharing--that's just bullsh*t propaganda by the RIAA and the media.) There are many, many changes going on--spiritually, socially, politically, economically, biologically, and more--and society itself is going though massive upheaval (and will even more so in the next 25 years). We're seeing effects of this in music.
The causes of all these changes are too large and complex for me to go into on this blog. But I do believe the world as we know it *is* dying, and from it something entirely new will be born... but I think the trick is, we have to be responsible for creating it. *We* need to birth it. It's ours to create.
I'm proud to say that I think I'm part of a healthy and vibrant community of composers here in Atlanta. And we're getting stronger and more connected. With things like this blog, the ASSG (Atlanta Score Study Group), the upcoming Electronic Music Concert that Adam and I are putting together, I see us giving more and more life to new music. Getting it to audiences is key, so I hope to see us do more in that area--more concerts, events, podcasts, etc. Lots of ideas...
Buy anyway, let me pose the questions now to you.
What are your thoughts? Is music dead? Why or why not? And how are you filling or renewing its life?
I hope this prompts some thinking and discussion and ideas for crafting new realities for music. Please jump in with your take.