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Can Music Reweave the Fabric of Our Fragmented Culture?

It has been said that serious composers ignore popular music at their own peril. I've always felt that way. In our still-maturing American culture popular music has been - with the movies - the defining essence of our national style. I say has been because my fear is that, right now, the movies and pop music have become Big Business to such a degree that it all isn't really popular art anymore. Too often they are the result of market research and manipulation; too often they are cynically thrown at a public that has lost the ability to discern because of so many years of nurturance toward a state of pure appetite.