4/19/99: Donít you think that contemporary conductors and orchestras should incorporate more 20th century music in their repertoires (including recent compositions)?
There have always been conductors who have cared passionately about and dedicated themselves to contemporary music. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries concerts were predominantly of new music. In this century (especially in the last 50 years), symphonies have taken on the role, more and more, of musical museums. The reasons for this are several, but perhaps greatest is the economic constraints put on symphonies and opera companies. There is a fine line to be observed however, and our music institutions are seeing that, over long term, they need new music as well as the classics to keep the audiences coming in.
Some conductors, like Salonen or Slatkin, care more for new music than others do. Like a soloist, writer, or any other creative person, the conductor is influenced by his or her own taste, abilities, and predilections. Occasionally, the only way to change the orientation of the orchestra is to change the conductor.
©1999 by Joseph Rescigno. The text here may be freely reproduced for non-commercial purposes as long as credit is given.
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