The only way that any music created on our own soil will ever be able to compete with the standard repertoire—both in terms of audience devotion to it and the high level at which it is regularly performed—is for our own music to be programmed more frequently. Luckily that seems to be starting to happen!
Aside from its inherent interest due to the broad range of music that composer Heather Schmidt has fashioned out of one of the more traditional chamber music duo configurations, a new Centrediscs recording of her music for cello and piano duo is a wonderful documentation of an ongoing collaboration between an interpreter (cellist Shauna Rolston) and a composer who is also featured herein as the pianist.
The current working model for orchestras does not allow musicians to spend a great deal of time on anything, and the accepted wisdom for getting music in front of an orchestra—and getting the players to do an effective job with it—is to streamline what you write: make it relatively easy to sight-read, avoid pitch and metrical things that are out of the ordinary, etc.
Should more orchestral performances feature video, some kind of technological enhancement, or opportunities for the audience to share in performing the music? I’m not sure on any of those fronts, although “coLABoratory: Playing It Unsafe” was one of the most exciting ACO concerts I have attended in quite some time in large part because of the added layers of vulnerability.