How To Hold A Composer Accountable

One of the frequent charges leveled against composers over the last few decades has been that they are increasingly distant from, and even uninterested in, their audience. A special interactive concert made an effort to reconnect the two this weekend in New England: three composers each presented new works to the audience, and spoke briefly about their inspirations and objectives in composition. Then, the audience got a crack at questioning the composer, speaking up about what did and didn’t make a connection, and even asking for segments of some works to be repeated. “It sounds like the very thing that composers dread,” says Keith Powers, and yet it seems to have made everyone involved a little wiser, and a lot happier.