Mission: To integrate musical creativity into everyday life through storefront music schools, collaborative events designed to reach new people and commissions that give voice to composers throughout the world.
Vision: a world in which everyone regardless of social status, creed, ethnicity, sexual orientation or placement in the gender spectrum has equal access to high quality contemporary music performances, performers, composers and teachers.
We see two challenges facing contemporary music:
1. The vast majority of people don’t know that composers still exist and their perception of classical music is rooted in the past. They still think of dead European men in wigs when they hear the term “classical music.”
2. Many people who identify as classical music fans have a negative impression of contemporary music and often stay away from contemporary music programming as a result
These are difficult problems to address. How do you encourage major institutions like symphonies, radio stations, etc. to program more contemporary music when they will, rightly, counter that that’s not what their audience wants to hear?
We have to mount a wholesale campaign to change both the idea that contemporary music is separate from the classical tradition and that classical music itself is a dead art form. The good news is that, with composers, women as well as men, writing music from nearly every country on the planet, classical music has never been more global and inclusive than it is now.
We can change the image of classical music and present it as a living tradition. When classical music is seen as thriving and relevant, audiences will grow. ACM, in consultation with the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program, has developed a strategy to address both of these challenges and revitalize classical music.
1. Go where the people are, make contemporary music visible.
2. Raise musical literacy in general. There are many otherwise extremely intelligent individuals who don’t know basic things about music. This has to change.
3. Humanize the composers who create the music. Show off the diverse elements of today’s classical music and change the perception that it’s only dead European men who compose and perform classical music. We have to widen their definition of the term classical music to include the diverse faces of today’s composers.
All of ACM’s programs have been created to serve one or more of these three strategic elements, from our ACM School of Music, to the Thirsty Ears classical music street festival to Sound of Silent Film, Open House and more.