A correspondent notes (after reading the review and seeing the photo that accompanies it):
Call me a grump, but 5 old white guys playing old/dead white guys’ music doesn’t thrill me so much. (Quoted with permission)
This is an interesting observation, and brings up an important issue in opening up our music to broader audiences. I do think that it is more a matter of presentation than of substance, and I think my correspondent would agree:
On the flip side, a woman’s presence doesn’t make it automatically better.
I don't think I've been to a concert recently where the faces on the stage were as old and as white and as male as this one. In fact, the only pictures like this one I've seen recently were a George Bush bill-signing and a GOP presidential debate, but at least Neidich and the Juilliards had musical instruments in their hands.
It's a complicated issue. Elliott Carter is quite old, but he wasn't at the time he wrote his Second Quartet, and the Juilliard Quartet was present at its creation, so there is a connection to youth in their performance. Ralph Shapey was old when he wrote 2 for 5, but the piece itself is young. Mozart never was old, but he was white and he is long dead. Brahms was near the end of his life when he wrote the Clarinet Quintet, but it is precisely that work's autumnal glow that we cherish.
The point is not about eliminating DWMs from the culture, or even old ones (pop would thin out pretty damn fast, no?), or about criticizing the Juilliard Quartet; it's about providing as many ways into concert music for people without experience in it. People notice the make-up of ensembles and programs, and it's not limited to "PC"-types and liberals: My correspondent is a political and social conservative.