It is not only that we composers lack a place at the cultural and political conversational table, but that most of those at said table hardly know we’re there. Composers of this genre (variously labeled “concert” or “classical” music for lack of better terms) seem to have less of a public platform than ever before, even for addressing matters musical. This was not always true. Hector Berlioz, Robert Schumann, Claude Debussy, Ferruccio Busoni, Richard Wagner, Aaron Copland, Charles Ives, John Cage, Morton Feldman, Milton Babbitt, to name only a few—each exercised a prose voice as well as a musical one. Wagner, through his music and prose, even effected acts of political upheaval, including the burning of an opera house (not recommended). Among contemporaries, composers like Louis Andriessen, Steve Reich and especially the prolific Ned Rorem, have distinguished themselves as thinkers and writers in the public sphere. But on the whole, the lack of the composer’s voice in our discourse is near deafening.

Daniel Felsenfeld, “The Composer’s Other Voice”