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The constant dilemma: classic vs. modern


by Jerome Weeks 27 Mar 2008

Florida Orchestra music director Stefan Sanderling likes contemporary music. So do many of his musicians. Sadly, the orchestra’s core audience appears to hate it, to the extent that angry letters are received whenever Sanderling programs something new or complex. What’s a forward-thinking orchestra to do?

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Florida Orchestra music director Stefan Sanderling likes contemporary music. So do many of his musicians. Sadly, the orchestra’s core audience appears to hate it, to the extent that angry letters are received whenever Sanderling programs something new or complex.

What’s a forward-thinking orchestra to do?

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  • Most orchestras equate new classical style music with that cacophonous atonal stuff. Well in Dallas, I and other composers are doing contemporary works in the classical mode that are highly melodic. It seems the trend now. Unfortunately the classical community here doesn’t seem to be aware of what its got in its own backyard.
    The city owns WRR a wonderful classical radio station, but all my attempts as a local composer and advocate for other local composers, to get them to play local classical music have been blocked. I gave up. They tried something on ‘dead air’ Sunday evenings. And to sabotage it they played the worst of what was new. Then dropped the show cause no one was listening.
    What a shock. They were playing work by those classically trained, but not gifted. They put credentials ahead of their own ears!
    Good composing is here right under your nose. Dallas wake up – just a little.
    Does this town know that its reputation is such that artists flee this place in disgust?