Hey, we’re famous! (Kidding.) Here’s the link to our comment in the composer David Lang’s article in the Times comparing the different experiences of audiences in a baseball park and audiences in a concert hall. Readers had plenty to say about the success of his comparison, which he says has its limits, but what was striking about the comments was how many people just throw up their hands about “modern” music (i.e., Stravinsky and later). The thing is, this is just the stuff that newcomers to classical music get excited about, and a more realistic way of introducing them to the field.
Do we learn to read by starting with Shakespeare? No, we read modern literature and work backwards, appreciating how our language has changed and developed. Don’t sit someone down to Mozart and expect them to understand that language. Play Xenakis or Cowell or Partch. Trust me: a roomful of fifth graders was bored when I played them a lively excerpt from the tame Pulcinella suite, but transfixed by the opening song of Tehillim.