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Contemporary Classical Music

Photo: Yarn Wire by Bobby Fisher, orlandoweekly.com
Photo: Yarn Wire by Bobby Fisher, orlandoweekly.com

“Without new music, there is no music.”

That simple maxim is the unofficial motto of Orlando's Accidental Music Festival, and it’s a viewpoint that's shared by a new tribe of classical music fans. The idea of the classical listener as an elderly gray hair is an outdated one; festivals around the country like Big Ears and Bang on a Can draw mostly young crowds. And they showcase mostly young performers playing works by living composers.

Locally, our classical offerings are steadily approaching the vanguard. This month marks the debut of Eric Jacobsen, the Orlando Philharmonic’s new music director, just 33 years old, and his first official concert included a piece by composer Gabriel Kahane, himself just 34. In 2012, the Bach Festival Society presented a concert featuring six 20th-century composers, a great departure from their usual repertoire.

And since 2011, the Accidental Music Festival has brought dozens of contemporary composers and performers to Orlando. On Thursday, October 29th, they launch their fifth season with a concert at the Plaza Live by piano and percussion quartet Yarn/Wire, playing a program of modern classical music all written post-2010, including a new piece by Steve Reich.

Developments like these ensure that classical music continues to find new audiences. And without new fans, eventually, there are no fans.