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They're mostly better educated, but they're quite unlucky to be born so late, after so much developmental history. What's to be done today? There's so many pitfalls.
I think the realities of life now are against composers. Unless you are wealthy enough to support you and yours, and also to put plenty of money into support of your career, even your chances of getting to the starting line are poor. I'm amazed that some people find it possible to be a composer, but they do.
 

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If it's "classical" music we're speaking of, the difficulty now is less the realities of life than the realities of music itself and the composer's relationship with his audience, if he can find one. Most of those who would have been his public in past eras are now probably listening to music of quite another sort.
Fair enough, you've raised an important point. Possibly I should also have included issues other than economic ones. I'm now in my seventh decade. The issue of the gap between composers and audiences has been around for my whole life. It's been discussed intensively on TalkClassical and I don't have anything to add.
 

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I mention all this because I believe that it is in the interest of those who love CPT period music and those who love modern, even avant-garde, works to recognize the relative division between the CPT era and what occurred after. These are 2 distinct periods. Much of the music that is now being called classical music is very different, some of it unrecognizable as anything composed before 1900.

So, (to bring this back to the OP), it occurs to me that contemporary composers will have to rise and fall based on however successful they can be with contemporary-music audiences. The challenges are different than the 19th century. The ways one might make a living from it are different. Many will have to be content with smaller venues, limited recording with perhaps the occasional performances by major orchestras where there is the money for commissions.
I think that's a reasonable way of looking at it from your point of view and probably that of many others, at least as listeners. However, to have such a split put into effect institutionally would cause a lot of problems. A lot of composers and performers don't want that kind of split, don't see the need of it, and would suffer greatly from it because they see their whole m.o. being undermined -- one that encompasses both the classical tradition and innovations of recent times. Like, if I as a composer know a violinist who plays classical music, but have to find a different violinist to play new music - why? A while ago one of my pieces was played by a group that mainly plays 18th- and 19th-century music, and they gave a beautiful performance. To accept this split just plays into the hands of the more extreme parties who want nothing to do with pre-1900, or pre-1950 music, or even anything for traditional western classical instruments.
 
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