Who's Afraid of Modern Music?

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Quiz time again. I want you to name a few classical or serious music composers. Okay, hands off the buzzers. What have you got? We see Beethoven and Bach, Tchaikovsky and Mozart. No one on the list from this century, no one on the list from the last century.

Yes? A question? Oh, you don’t like the music of modern composers. All drony or squawky, not easy to listen to? Fair comment. And it’s true that some of those composers don’t care if you listen to them or not. But there are young composers who are hearkening back to the classics, ignoring claims that their work is derivative, and producing music that is pleasing to play and to hear.

We are talking about the future of serious music this hour, asking whether modern music offers something the classics can’t.


Lowell Liebermann, composer

Gil Rose, artistic director, Boston Modern Orchestra Project

Christos Koulendros, composer