Opinion: great living composers are all around us

Posted on: July 25, 2016

“Last week, the English music critic Philip Clark took to the pages of the Guardian newspaper to bemoan the state of contemporary music in his native land,” writes Joshua Kosman in Monday’s (7/25) San Francisco Chronicle. “Clark itemized the swift recent decline of musical civilization…. In place of the titans of yesteryear, [Clark asserts that BBC Proms] audiences now have to settle for nonentities like Thomas Adès, Wolfgang Rihm, Anna Clyne, Hans Abrahamsen and Georg Friedrich Haas—in short, some of the most innovative and exciting creative figures in the musical world. They all share one flaw, though: They’re alive…. We’re living in a time, after all, when composers such as Adès and Abrahamsen … are creating vivid and eloquent new works on a regular basis. We’re watching the great Finnish triumvirate of Esa-Pekka Salonen, Magnus Lindberg and Kaija Saariaho move into a confident period of middle-aged maturity, while a younger generation of Americans including Mason Bates, Andrew Norman, Christopher Cerrone, Caroline Shaw and Nico Muhly reinvents the traditional vehicles of opera, symphony, cantata and tone poem. For lovers of contemporary classical music, this is a glorious time to be alive.… If you’re outraged, you’re not paying attention.”

Posted July 25, 2016