What is the dominant musical style of today and what will be the dominant musical style of tomorrow? Martin Bresnick


Martin Bresnick
Martin Bresnick
Photo courtesy ASCAP

Concert music today is influenced by such a wide and powerful range of sources – audio technology, computers and the Internet, popular, folk and world music, conceptual art, film and theatre, among others – that it is impossible to isolate a single dominant style. Despite, or perhaps because of that pluralism and the associated lack of a recognized, authoritative style, neither the previously dominant academic modernism nor the now aging minimalism and newer rock-based concert music has been able to achieve a stabile, decisive hegemony. And that’s fine with me.

I am quite happy to let a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend, since what I fear most is any concentration of power and influence that might inhibit free and autonomous musical activity. The smothering, centralized influence that has so blighted French music since the 70’s and that tends to grow wherever protected elites are given refuge by governments or the robber barons of commerce is a far greater danger than the disorder and confusion of today’s pluralism. So open the windows – I’m eager to hear both what has been and what’s to come!