9 September 2009

Contemporary classical music is in the throes of a "golden era" with more young composers worldwide writing than ever before, according to pre-eminent American composer John Corigliano, who is visiting Australia.

And the internet is mainly responsible for the resurgence, providing as it does, easy and complete access to music scores, recordings and notes of compositions down the ages, says the winner of three Grammy Awards, an Academy Award and the Pulitzer Prize for his music.

"Young composers no longer have to rely on an LP record or CD as their entrée to information on compositions of all genres of music - they can now get bucket loads of details online on every aspect of their recordings of choice," comments Corigliano, who is the inaugural international marquee composer for the Sydney Conservatorium of Music's />101 Compositions for 100 Years project.

"They can draw on reams of data for their inspiration and guidance, giving many of them a big step-up on the way to their own writing…and helping them gain confidence that they can be productive.

"People who say Opera is dead, Symphony is dead when it comes to younger generations, are out of step with reality - music of all music tastes is flowering simply because young people are conversing with young people.

"Modern music is no longer the enemy; it's fully accessible on the internet in the same way classical music is."

Corigliano, who will be on hand for the world premiere of a new score of his globally renowned Mr Tambourine Man at The Con on Friday night, comments that increased music education is also "helping the cause."

"There are still a lot of young people in America who think Beethoven is the name of a dog. But access to information online, and with more and more conductors talking to their audiences; explaining what they're hearing, knowledge is spreading.

"I thought my masterclasses at The Con would attract a dozen or so students, but I'm extremely impressed to learn that 50 to 60 young composers have booked in.

"One of the very good things about the 101 Compositions project is that all the scores will be available in the library; all recordings of the 101 performances will be archived for public consumption. That will be a godsend, and something that never happened in my era."

Dean and Principal of The Con, Professor Kim Walker said: "As Australia's premier music educator, we are bursting with excitement to present John Corigliano's Mr Tambourine Man and launch this series of 101 commissions.

"The students and faculty have been very involved in opportunities to meet and speak with him. Nothing can replace such educational opportunities."

Contact: Scott Saunders

Phone: 02 9351 1298

Email: 05743a18342132034a3b3507442b0e5c50321d485747