President's MessageWith the declining public funding support for controversial art coupled with the adoption of defensive postures and entrenchment of established institutions things to do not look good for new music in this country. Though there are millions and millions of private money out there, they going for such projects as the expansion of the Chicago Symphony and the Milwaukee Art Museum facilities. At the same time, such modest but significant operations as the Meet the Composer/Arts Midwest shrink from year to year. Now, a sponsoring organization may request assistance only for a single event per year; we are talking about grants of a few hundred dollars.
Our friend Bill Rhoads's articles well summarize theoretical speculations produced primarily by American academia in cultural studies. Although I title one of my graduate courses "Post Modern Music," I do not think Modernism is dead yet--or it will ever die. If the international visual arts markets are a telling weather-vane for all the arts, all the "isms" from the 50's and 60's are recycled again with great commercial success. Last Sunday (10/5/97) an angry "60 Minutes" report attacked the art, artists, and the art market in a manner that would make Senator Helms proud of CBS.
Although we clearly have the technological edge, once again there is a danger that artistic/conceptual leadership will move back to Europe where experimental art is still happening and is supported by an old tradition. And relevant to this point: Helmut Lachenmann, the visionary German composer and his music will be in and around Chicago this November, sponsored by the Goethe-Institut Chicago. Call Gene Coleman (773-227-2215) or look up the sponsor's website.
WAC Newsletter, October 1997
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