American violinist Hilary Hahn has taken a big step in promoting new music (http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20131105-grand-finales-the-encore-revived) . She started a project called In 27 Pieces over ten years ago. Back then, she realized that there was a lack of short and exciting works, something to use as an encore, by living composers. The violinist ordered 27 under five-minute pieces written for violin and piano by contemporary composers. Most of the beloved encores are made classics by the preceding virtuosos of the 1900’s, and she felt as if there needed to be “continuity in the timeline” of these dazzling works.
Hahn went about starting the project by listening to new music daily for months. This way she found the composers she fancied, and suggested to them to write the miniature works. Some of the composers that contributed to the project were David Lang and Mark-Anthony Turnage. She has now for the past two years been premiering these pieces as encores while touring around the world. Last week, a recording of the works by Hahn from the Deutsche Grammophon came out, as well as sheet music publications.
In these financially insecure days, the incorporation of new music into concert programs is extremely hesitant. The encores are an easy way of introducing new music to the audiences. For the people who are not accustomed to listening contemporary music, the nature of the pieces is possibly more approachable than, for example, a symphony. I agree with the thought of Hahn, that there needs to be a balance in the timeline of the golden repertoire of any genre. As she puts it, “we need music to describe every era and a multitude of ever-evolving ideas.”