[NOTE: This entry has been updated (1) as of 6:52 AM Eastern on 14 Dec. See below.]
Frank J. Oteri, Senior Editor of NewMusicBox, an online publication "dedicated to the music of [living] American composers and improvisers and their champions", has written an article for that publication bemoaning America's trailing position in the matter of "gender parity" in our "cultural sector", especially in the domain of new music, when compared with other nations. Bypassing the non-importance, even irrelevance, of this "issue" in the domain of new music (after all, we no longer discriminate against living composers on account of their gender), one of the explanations put forward by Mr. Oteri runs thusly:
The biggest part of the problem is the Great Man myth that still permeates classical music and which has also found its way into the new music claiming its lineage from that tradition. Until we rid ourselves of the notion that the best music of all time was created by a handful of men who lived an ocean away from us and who all died more than a century before any of us were born, we will never have programming that truly reflects the vast array of musical creativity all around us. It’s the same myth that locks American repertoire out of most programming at opera houses and symphony orchestras as well as music by anyone from anywhere who is currently alive. When a work by someone who is alive, American, or female (or a combination of those attributes) is played, it’s inevitably a single work wedged in between the obligatory performances of works by Great Men. Heaven forbid a major opera company or symphony orchestra would most [sic] a season that included a broad range of works that were not penned by Great Men!If "the biggest part of the problem" is truly the Great Man Myth (and we don't for an instant imagine that it truly is) that has it that "the best music of all time was created by a handful of men who lived an ocean away from us and who all died more than a century before any of us were born," then we've news for Mr. Oteri: the "problem" is indissoluble and will remain so for even the most remotely foreseeable future. For the "Great Man Myth" as above defined (except for the "more than a century" part which more accurately should have read "more than a half-century or so") is in large part no myth but a demonstrable truth that no amount of wishful, PC, or delusional thinking can make disappear or cease to exist and it's time living composers (and incidentally, their champions and cheerleaders as well) accepted and got over that demonstrable truth and their destructive "anxiety of influence" response to it, to borrow Harold Bloom's neatly and aptly named formulation, and instead got on with the business of composing new music as best their native gift will allow without the need to attempt to demythologize or pooh-pooh a phantom myth that's no myth at all and never was. Yes, we understand your pain. But instead of railing at us for the above as you may be wont to do, you would do better to consider it our sincere if modest contribution to the furtherance of new music worldwide.
Update (6:52 AM Eastern on 14 Dec): We've been informed that our calling new music "so-called New Music" and our style of capitalizing the words new music and enclosing them in quotes is deeply offensive to the new music community. We apologize for that as it was not our intention to make commentary by it. We simply thought it proper form. We now know better and have accordingly made the necessary corrections to this entry.