I just had a chat with a composer colleague, someone who has sent in all his boxtops and made something of a career, with a teaching job, regular commissions and a good number of performances. After making some snide remarks about sneaking out of concerts to avoid music from across some — to me obscure — new music-partisan divide, he went on with the ritual mantra complaint about lack of an audience for new music. After calling the guy on his lack of consistency, I probed a bit deeper and was able to establish that although he was exclusively a composer of concert music, he didn't, actually, like concerts. I stopped my questioning before I could figure out if he actually liked music, as that would have been too depressing even for a cynic like me, but I did suggest that concert music might not really be an optimal line of work for him.
This encounter immediately made me recall the counter-example John Cage, who, in later years with all the seniority, fame, notoriety and certainly a full desk of his own work at home, made a point of attending as many concerts as possible whenever he was at home in town and took pride, when attending festivals or conferences in skipping some discussions but attending every concert. I remember him once saying during a festival that "I want to be one-hundred percent" and, I believe, unless he was physically unable due to illness, he usually succeeded, even in uncomfortable environments like Darmstadt. Here was someone with well-known preferences and associations who had fought and suffered through some horrible — especially when petty — turf wars in Newmusicland, who nevertheless went out of his way to hear music that he had good reason to expect to be outside his own taste range, challenging his own habits and preferences, and he — the self-identified anarchist, thus with some honest skepticism about communities and a disdain for most institutions — managed to provide a model for participating and contributing to the community.