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[John Adams] dismisses talk of the so-called “death of classical music” as pretty meaningless. “The world is full of people with creative ideas,” says Adams. “We could, to make things simpler, just forget about the term ‘classical.’ That might make things easier. But I still like to use it, because it reminds me that what I do aims at having a very long shelf-life.”

The composer finds it impossible to generalize about contemporary music right now. “There are composers, very young indeed, who absolutely love atonality and hard-edged “industrial”-strength dissonance, and they have found a significant following,” he observes. “And there are others who are making headlines writing the blandest, most carefully composed ‘audience-friendly’ orchestra pieces. They too have found a serious and grateful following. Some young composers are deeply influenced by rock and indie music, while others are combing the past to find what they construe to be the key to winning back the confidence of a lost public.”

Elena Park
American Composers Orchestra