By Jeffrey Ouper

Being a young listener, brought up in an age surrounded by the huge availability of compact discs, it is easy to forget how the music on the disc had been originally created. The crucial point must be emphasized that a disc remains the same every time that it is played, and that the real beauty of music lies in live music-that it is never performed the same way twice. Once subscribing, and attending my first set of Chicago Symphony Orchestra subscription concerts, I instantly realized how special live performances truly are. A recording of the music I had just heard (The Rose Lake by Tippett) would not have done the music or the composer any justice at all! There is also a special invisible, subconscious, connection that exists between audience and performer in live performances that is otherwise non-existent in recordings. It is doubtful that young listeners realize the importance of this powerful connection. It is ironic that the prize of this contest be CDs-the thing that could eventually be ultimately responsible for the demise of live performances.

The modern culture is always looking for new appeals. Traditional concert formats need to be less traditional. It is no wonder that PDQ Bach, the music of Peter Schickele is always popular. PDQ Bach is amusing and anything but traditional. The premieres of new works always capture interest, not only with new sonorities, or construction, but different instrumentation. I can recall a memorable concert from my subscription listening to the lush sounds of deep sonorities of four wagner tubas, along with an enormous array of instruments in the American premiere performance by the Chicago Symphony of Esa-Pekka Salonen's Insomnia, which he conducted himself. It is always interesting to hear how far music has come and to compare our works of today.

Other new ways of presenting music need to be found, as well as the creation and support of new works. It is that combination of music with technology and other forms that could prove interesting and more appealing to audiences. If presented correctly, like in the Disney Fantasias, music can be produced in novel ways effectively. Visual effects, such as the use of lasers, special light displays, fog, fire, and pyrotechnics could greatly add to the presentation-even emotional heights and lusts-for symphony concerts. Symphonies could also play along live with Fantasia itself, or other various animated features/movies. Animated features could even be commissioned for the sole purpose of showings with live specific works. To some, this may sound as a gimmick, but was Fantasia a gimmick? It was quite popular, and there still lies a demand for more. If venues expect audiences to come, they must give them what they desire: something new, innovative, and always revolutionary. That is the way history has always been.

"I was meant to be a composer and will be I'm sure...Don't ask me to try to forget this unpleasant thing and go play football-please."
~Samuel Osmond Barber

"If you don't internalize difficult, new concepts, it seems to me you're not really musicians at all; you're machines ... "
~Unknown Music Theory Teacher

"Stand up before this fine strong music and use your ears like a man!"
~Charles Ives