Alex Ross, A. C. Douglas, and Lisa Hirsch are having a spirited discussion of some issues raised by Steve Metcalf on increasing the audience for concert music. The ground has been covered pretty well, so I don't have any big points to add. I do think the iPod/soundtrack-of-my-life model of music consumption/listening does need to be addressed by concert music folks; I'm just not sure how.
On the idea of a need for a superstar composer or a composer as a household name cultural hero, it's not going to happen. If the hype around the user-friendly music of John Adams and Osvaldo Golijov hasn't made it happen for them, it isn't going to happen for anybody. I'm not sure it would be so good if it did.
On the other hand, I'd like to see some performers who excel at a variety of contemporary styles become big name cultural heroes. Dawn Upshaw immediately comes to mind. Are there others?