Next week I will be joining a colleague and friend, Carlos Carrillo, to talk about contemporary music. Carlos has put together a Contemporary Music Microfestival, with two concerts of works by Glass, Schnittke, Gorecki, Torke ("key" composers), Carlos himself, and a few student compositions. These concerts sandwich a symposium that Carlos and I will lead. The description of the symposium is "the meanings and importance of the contemporary works performed in the Micro-Festival." I'm thinking that one possible topic is the myths of contemporary music: it is ugly, it is unnatural, it is atonal, it has no connection to music history, it has no connection to audiences. We could talk about why these myths abound, and why they are indeed myths. We can get into discussions of what beauty is, natural vs. artificial, whether contemporary classical music is monolithic, etc.
I could use some help from you dear readers. So, what are some myths of contemporary music? And what are ways of measuring the importance of contemporary works? Is it how often they are performed, or what other works they have inspired, or what critics report, or how much they are studied by theorists and musicologists? And finally, what other issues of contemporary music should be addressed in a microsymposium?
Anyone near Greencastle is encouraged to come to any of the events on Tuesday (7:30, Kresge Auditorium), Wednesday (6:30, Thompson Recital Hall) or Thursday (7:30, Kresge).