Robert Estrin - piano expert

Are New Musical Classics Being Composed Today?

And interesting answer to an interesting question

In this video, Robert tells you if there are any "new classics" created in the modern era.

Released on September 11, 2019

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hi, I'm Robert Estrin. This is your online piano store. The question is, are there new musical classics being composed today? Well, at least all the people I'm involved with, for the most part, have a great appreciation for the classics. The classical repertoire that has endured generations and centuries, and you wonder, "Well, are any classics being written today?" Well, this is a really tough question. Think about this. If you go way back to the time of Bach and Mozart, they didn't necessarily know that they were going to be classics, that they were going to be classical compositions still studied centuries later. In the thick of it, sometimes the composers who are immensely popular don't live on, and they're not particularly important in the realm of history, and conversely, there are some great composers who in their day are relatively not that famous or well known or highly respected.

Styles change. Even Johann Sebastian Bach, the end of his life, writing some of the most magnificent works had fallen out of favor. The new classical era had begun and the flourishing complexity of the Baroque music he was writing was less in vogue than the music his sons were writing. Can you believe it? So it's a tough thing to know. I will say this, absolutely, there are things being composed today that will live on for centuries. Knowing what those pieces are is very tough to do. Who would have predicted, for example, in Beethoven's life that Beethoven would be remembered? Maybe some people would, or that in the 19th Century we had hundreds of composers, who would be the one who would be the classics and who wouldn't be? So we're living through it and it might be in unexpected places where the new classics come from.

Consider the impact of technology on music. In the time of Bach, the piano wasn't even invented, so centuries later when the piano was fully developed or more developed, there was a flourishing of music that couldn't even have been conceived earlier. The symphony orchestra didn't exist back and during Bach and Mozart's time, just smaller ensembles. The concert hall had not developed yet. So we're living through a time now with computer technology, and some of you might not like the whole idea of computer-generated music, but it's just a tool. And what people are going to be doing with these new tools in the coming decades and even centuries, we can't even imagine.

And we're definitely living through some tremendous music that's being written that combines different elements of styles of music written all over the world because, for the time in history, the entire world's music is a click away. So composers can hear each other and develop music that combines elements that were never developed before. Eastern music combined with Celtic music. I mean, anything's possible today. What is going to be the great music that will live on? It's hard to say, and we can talk about that and any of you who has ideas about what music are truly classics that are being written right now would love to hear from all of you. And thanks for keeping the great questions coming in. Again, I'm Robert Estrin here at
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Ben Hundley * VSM MEMBER * on September 11, 2019 @8:26 am PST
I think living composers like Philip Glass and John Luther Adams will become part of the classical repertoire in time. They are writing really exciting music and like you say the technology has heightened this exploration and positive responses to their music among many, many others out there! Thanks for your intriguing videos.
Robert - host, on September 12, 2019 @3:09 pm PST
I believe Philip Glass and John Adams are already staples of post expressionist minimalist music - a significant development in contemporary Classical music.
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