Letter: Open your ears, open your mind, and listen to something new

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The Independent Online
FEW COMPOSERS working in Europe and America will dispute Geoffrey Wheatcroft's thesis about the rootless state of music - we all know an audience disconnected from its composers when we meet one in the concert- hall ("Is music dead?", Section 2, 2 August). Yet, as he also says, that is not the whole story: our new music does have its grateful enthusiasts, non-specialists who still go and get it while others debate the crisis in our art.

What he does not address, and what is often overlooked, is that rebuilding the contract between society and music is not solely the responsibility of composers: listeners have to work at it too. The contradictory jumble of likes and dislikes spilling out of any new music concert suggests that there is, in this age of unprecedented diversity, something for everyone with open ears. We should avoid the temptation to pronounce on entire stylistic surfaces, but to sift for those hardy annuals, good and bad.

Piers Hellawell

Isle of Harris, Outer Hebrides