I CAN CONTINUE DANCING
Peter Ablinger answering the following request from the Czech Music Information Centre (www.hisvoice.cz) in February 2021:
"Have the first two decades of the 21st century brought about anything fundamentally new in music or do we musically still live in the 20th century?"
Yes, we still live in the 20th century.
This was my first thought. But than some relativations are turning up. One of these is, that in the last 2 or better 3 decades the absolute demand of going further was less important than during most time of the 20th century. The later was haunted by the idea of the New. So maybe, the fundamentally new of the beginning 21st century is to leave the new behind.
Another softening of my initial answer is that also the 20th century begun late. Many are considering the iconic 1914 as its begin. And it ended early: with another iconic date: 1989. About the general question here: Let's wait with the final answer until after Corona. It is not unthinkable that it will result also in other than economic changes (in music, in art, and elsewhere). Maybe it will result in the 21st century.
Last thought, that seems at first to prove my opening: The visual art had its "conceptual turn" in the 60ties and 70ties, which basically means, that the until then dominating choice of materials - paint on canvas, marble and bronze - has been exploded to literally every possible material. And allthough there was much talk about concept-music during the last years (at least in Germany), music did not "turn", or not very far. The dominating institutions are still the ones we inherited from the 19th century. (Also I do not consider myself as a conceptual composer.) Insofar we are still living in the 20th century. The other side is more vage, maybe, so I add in a personal mode: I kind of like to work (also) with something like this old-fashioned high-cultivated dinosaurus that a symphony-orchestra is. It gives me options to confront it with settings that it was not made for. We wouldn't have the orchestra any more if we would have had "turned". Without the general turn, I can endlessly continue to make one small turn after another. I can continue dancing.
(text originally written in English; un-edited)