Karl Miller asks:
>A new Symphony by Vaughan Williams would be a great event. How we
>longed for, but never got that Third Symphony from Walton...
>Is there any composer today who, at the age of 40 or so, is considered
>a master, with each new work of his or hers being eagerly awaited by
>the concert going public?
Based on personal experience, at least in the Chicago area, the
vast "concert-going public" prefers to hear old warhorses and treats
almost any living composer's latest work with disdain. Based on Chicago
audiences who subscribe to regular symphony concerts (over 30,000 per
season) compared to the number who seriously attend concerts of new music
by living composers (in Chicago, something like 750 people) the previous
generalization accounts for 97.5% of the audience.
Having said that, and being firmly entrenched in the minority 2.5%
of the audience, I always "eagerly await" any new work of one of my
favorite composers, Augusta Read Thomas. In the ten years she has been
the Composer in Residence of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra
has commissioned (7) new major works from Ms. Thomas, who incidentally
is only 42 years old. Sadly, her tenure in Chicago ends in a month and
she will be sorely missed.
Norton Building Concert Series