I've gotten quite a few hits from this thread in the last couple of days. Also, Scott Spiegelberg and A. C. Douglas have revived an on-going discussion of how best to bring new listeners to the world of concert music, or even if it is worth the effort to do so. Their posts contain numerous links to a variety of conversations on the subject, including recommendations of pieces for newbies to listen to.
What I propose to do is to focus for a while on music of the last 25 years. Why? Because it is my strong belief that composers have always written their works as people living in their times. This seems obvious, but there is still the idea out there that artists are detatched from the world around them. They are often separated in some important ways, but they were/are perceptive, aware people.
Therefore, one way to attract new listeners is to expose people to works written during their lifetimes, in an environment that is not totally foreign to them. What about the past? The past is always with us. Sometimes it's not even past. Listeners capture by our music will often look around for older music that is new to them.
Accordingly, I'm asking you to nominate pieces for a list of 25 Significant Pieces of the Last 25 Years. Anything written between 1981 and now is eligible for inclusion. Please e-mail me your nominations (or post them as comments) along with any criteria you may have used.
I'll compile what I get and, since I'm in Florida, I'll post the results I think we should have. (I kid, I kid.)