The more I work with ACM and see the success we are having in reaching new audiences, the more convinced I am that focusing on contemporary music is the way to revitalize the Classical, (for lack of a better term,) tradition as a whole. This is only the beginning. If the ideas we've started catch on, we can build an audience for new music. We can recreate a global community of people who care, who attend concerts and debate and talk about contemporary music, breathlessly wait for the next World Premiere, and even compose their own music.
I love to see this kind of spirit enter the Classical/Contemporary/New Music World. Instead of waiting to be asked by the well-known performance organizations or academia for music, Seth Boustead and his group ACM (Accesible Contemporary Music) decided to take matters into their own hands and not just produce concerts for themselves, but also offer classes in theory and composition, as well as a place where new composers can have their work presented.
Seth's article on NewMusicBox describes what sounds like a very effective blend of the use of the internet, community outreach, and traditional performance and education.
This type of organization appears to be a viable option for many. Here in Los Angeles we have also seen similar organizations such as the Improvising Composers United who have produced concerts at schools and libraries featuring contemporary composed and improvised music.
As colleges and traditional performance organizations grapple with the problems of the current economy I believe that we will need more organizations that provide lesser known and maturing musicians and composers with new avenues to have their works publicly heard. This is nothing new, with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Music (also of Chicago) being one of the oldest and best known examples of an organization that provides both education and performance opportunities. I would encourage all composers and performers who identify a need like this in their own communities to use some of these organizations as an example and create something. Unfortunately, there will be no bailouts for the arts.
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