New Music

How can it be that music, which sees newness as one of its core values, still evolves for the most part in the 19th century concert hall?

The academy, originally the mortal enemy of New Music is now its backbone and most vital support structure. The fact that New Music today evolves mainly in close proximity to academia amplifies the circularity of these tendencies. The conservatory with its auditions and associated competitions acts as a controlling agent and filter for youth development. Only those most eager to please and to meet the required high standards are allowed to study, further encouraging perfect alignment. By populating the funding bodies and competitions juries, the lecturers and professors extend their influence far beyond the class rooms, brokering commissions and jobs. This is of course only for those in greatest synchronicity with the system's workings, ensuring that already established composers yield utmost control over what is to follow them. Given that these mechanisms have been in place for several decades it is no wonder that New Music has turned from a music of revolutionaries into what it is today, a music of apprentices and their masters, mainly already in third generation. ‘Being good’ became the central criterion and only the ones willing to adhere to proper standards and requirements make New Music; everybody else does something else, without entitlement to the estates of the compositional heroes, who quite unfortunately - given that they all died quite some time ago - are unable to comment on the situation.

Quelle: http://www.volkmarklien.com/text/VolkmarKlien_ContemporaryMusicAndTheDefenceOfTheWest.pdf