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Herb Levy

I have a couple of thoughts in response to this post.

The first & most general is that for art auction houses, the main issue revolves around sales rather than any kind of critical analysis. The idea of a shifting cutoff (whether it's 35 years or some other number) for what constitutes "contemporary" may make sense in some ways (& not simply as a market niche), but for me there's no getting around the fact that some time in the mid-20th century, there was a big change in how "serious music" worked.

A chronological cutoff that forces you to consider, say, "In C" as a modernist work solely because it was composed before some arbitrary date doesn't seem to me to be a very strong analytic model. Riley's work has more in common with any of the pieces it has influenced in the last 40 years than it does with most any composition from the early 20th century.

Further, while there are certainly many younger composers worth checking out (at least some of whom you've mentioned previously) I'm somewhat bemused by your discussion of boomers vs gen-x in music. Not that there may not be some useful distinctions between composers of these two loose generations, but because the three composers you cite as elders are neither boomers or gen-x. Glass, Reich, and Riley were all born in the 1930s.

Beatles Chords

Herb makes a great point regarding sales being the priority in art auction houses. Atthe end of the day, like any form of art, the classification or what not, is in the eye of the beholder.

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