Saturday, March 03, 2007

Where's the audience? Blame the music, composer says

Composer Jeff Harrington, in a comment responding to this Sequenza 21 item about a new CD featured at Starbucks, tackles the vexing question of why there's so few listeners for modern classical music and argues that it's the music's fault.

"It’s us who have to prove our case! Not the audience. Audiences don’t have to prove shit. Music should be adored, obsessed over, manically disputed and acclaimed. It doesn’t need marketing if it really excites people.

"It is our music that is at fault. Not our marketing."

I think Jeff has part of a point here -- no amount of marketing is going to create a mass audience for many modernist composers. But I still think composers such as Arvo Part and William Duckworth and Frederic Rzewski could attract many more listeners if only there was a way for people to be exposed to their music in the first place. How that will happen, I don't know.


Chandler Branch said...

I agree with you and with Jeff Harrington. New music has to speak to people directly, and on its own merits. But clever marketing shouldn't be overlooked as an aid to providing more opportunities for new music to do that.

I was interested to notice that Arvo Part's music was featured in the recent film "The Good Sheperd", directed by Robert DeNiro.

Chandler Branch, Exe. Dir.
Soli Deo Gloria

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