I can say from personal experience that even musicians in music conservatories shy away from new compositions. What is the biggest barrier that modern day composers face when presenting their works to the public?
Yes. That can happen. In my experience when I was at University of Illinois and then at Stanford, I was able to find musicians willing to play my music. It was good experience getting feedback from these players who were friends of mine. It was only after I left school that it became a challenge.
In my opinion, there is not a single barrier but three that are interrelated. And, in a sense they are not exclusive to music but pertain to almost any new endeavor.
1. Money to create and produce something new
2. A platform to present what you produced and,
3. Using that platform effectively to reach an audience.
Once barriers 1 and 2 are met, number 3 – trying to reach an audience poses a challenge. How to get people excited and interested in coming out to hear live music and taking a chance on something new and different and, perhaps even a little demanding is where the classical music world should put more energy.
Do you find that modern audiences are excited to hear premieres of works? After all, that’s how all the great Classical composers got their start
It all depends on the venue and the vibe. I think it’s vital that audiences meet composers at a concert. Audiences always have an opportunity to see and, or meet a conductor, soloist or orchestra members yet it is ironic that composers are often overlooked. I think audiences would get more excited about new pieces if they were given an opportunity to have some sort of human connection even if it’s only to see the composer take a bow. Question and answer sessions before or after a concert also help foster communication.
So, in answer to your question, I do not really think audiences are generally excited about hearing premieres of new works, but they could be. It’s all about communication, reaching out and saying hey, check this out, it’s something new, meet the composer, hear him talk about his music, we think you might connect with his sound or what inspired him, etc. I think it’s also helpful when the musicians performing the music get a chance to meet the composer
I think the MSO’s Opus One Series is making a great step forward in reaching out to audiences. A smaller, relaxed venue can create a more personal connection for the audience and performers.