Insightful article on the importance of performing new music, like it or not! Searching for tomorrow's classical music.
Where new works are concerned, musicians are beta testers. But they still need listener feedback to know whether a piece speaks to anyone else.
“Most of the music we play,” a musician who specializes in contemporary music told me recently, “is not great. Some of it is very good, but it lacks something. It falls short. But we need to play it — not only because something great may turn up and if we don’t play it we won’t know it, but also because this is the music being composed now, and it ought to be heard.”
More importantly, musicians need listener feedback to know whether a piece speaks to anyone else.
That response may come in the form of post-concert comments and published criticism, but most immediately a musician will have a more visceral sense during the performance of how an audience feels about the work at hand. And the audience, by creating a buzz about the music or the composer and buying tickets to hear the piece the next time it is performed, becomes part of the mechanism that either sends a score into oblivion or finds it a berth in the repertory.