Descended from among the oldest families in French ancestry with a history since the Napoleonic Era of wide-ranging influences in French government, theology, the sciences and medicine, banking and the arts; his father, Pierre Monod was a noted surgeon. His cousins include the naturalist Théodore Monod; the industrialist-politician Jérôme Monod; Jacques Lucien Monod, the Nobel Prize-winning biologist; the pharmacologist Daniel Bovet, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine; and the French New Wave film director Jean-Luc Godard.
A decisive turning point for Monod occurred in 1944 and at age 17, when he took private lessons in composition and theory for five years under the French composer and conductor René Leibowitz, a Webern disciple and émigré from Warsaw, Poland (rumor has it that during the German occupation of France, which lasted until December 1944, the young Monod surreptitiously brought food to Leibowitz, a member of the French Resistance). Leibowitz, who was an outsider among the French musical establishment, and a major catalyst in the promotion of Schoenberg's music and in the subsequent development of serial music in Paris after WWII, became Monod’s principal teacher and mentor within a circle of devoted pupils, including Jean Prodromidès, Antoine Duhamel, Pierre Chan, Michel Philippot, Serge Nigg, André Casanova, Claude Helffer, and for a brief period, Pierre Boulez.
Monod's oeuvre is historically significant among the early cadre of post-WWII proponents of the New Modernism in Paris (ca. 1945-51), promoting initially the music of Schoenberg and later, the serial music of Webern. Schoenberg's music - considered "radical" for a brief period in France after WWII - was soon regarded as outmoded and superseded by that of his pupil, Webern. Yet it would be Schoenberg - an autodidact from humble origins, possessing an extraordinary combination of sharp intellect with creative energy and the self-proclaimed leader from fin-de-siècle Vienna of the New Music - who conveyed a mesmerizing, almost overpowering persona to those who were smitten by his music and teachings, and who would ultimately alter the course of twentieth-century music through his particular invention of the "method of twelve-tone composition" and promotion by his many disciples, such as R. Leibowitz, J. Rufer, T.W. Adorno, E. Stein and J. Cage; and earlier, A. Webern and A. Berg. And during the course of new music developments from France, Monod would not abandon Schoenberg's music throughout his long career - as many in the French avant-garde had under Boulez's direction, as exemplified in his polemical 1951 article, "Schoenberg is Dead" and in his subsequent influence upon the development of "experimental" serialist and related music at Darmstadt. Monod's debut (1949) as a pianist took place in Paris at a concert organized by Leibowitz for Schoenberg's 75th birthday. His performance of Schoenberg's Phantasy for Violin and Piano Accompaniment, Op. 47, missed being the world premiere by only a few hours (the world premiere took place in Los Angeles on September 13, 1949 with Leonard Stein on piano and Adolf Koldofsky on violin).
Soon after Leibowitz’s earliest travels to the United States (first in 1947 to visit Schoenberg in Los Angeles), Monod followed, accompanying Leibowitz to New York City in 1950. Leibowitz was to hear the legendary jazz musician and saxophonist Charlie Parker perform in Harlem, while Monod met with Milton Babbitt and undertook graduate studies at Columbia University (conducting under R. Thomas and H. Allendorf) and at the Juilliard School (composition under B. Wagenaar). (Monod also accompanied Leibowitz in 1948 to the earliest composition seminars in Darmstadt at the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik; and later during the early 1950s, Monod attended Boris Blacher's composition seminar and the analysis seminar of Josef Rufer's at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik.)
At a time when the musics of Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern were least performed in America, Monod was among their earliest champions. He spent much of the 1950s as a pianist, performing works of the Second Viennese School for piano and voice, similar to the careers of pianists, E. Steuermann; P. Stadlen; C. Helffer; Paul Jacobs; the Viennese pianist, Karl Steiner; and the American pianist, L. Stein. Under the direction of Leibowitz, Monod performed and recorded the piano part of Berg's Chamber Concerto and Schoenberg's Ode to Napoleon Bonaparte, Op. 41; and more importantly, Monod also performed on historic recordings of chamber music by Webern for the Dial Records label in the early 1950s (a label founded by Ross Russell, who also produced historic jazz recordings of Charlie Parker, Max Roach and Miles Davis), including the earliest recordings of Webern's Symphony, Op. 21, conducted by Leibowitz with the Paris Chamber Orchestra; the Concerto for Nine Instruments, Op. 24; the Variations for Piano, Op.27, performed by Monod; the Four Songs, Op. 12, performed by the American virtuosic soprano, Bethany Beardslee with Monod on piano; and the Quartet for Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet, Violin, and Piano, Op. 22.
On Dec. 18, 1950, Monod performed in a special concert of Alban Berg's chamber music at Juilliard, featuring the American premiere of Berg's Two Songs (unedited extract from Die Musik 1930) with Ms. Beardslee. The duo also performed Berg's Seven Early Songs (1905–08) and Four Songs, Op. 2 (1908-10).
Monod also promoted other musics in addition to the music of the Second Viennese School: on January 24, 1954, The Three Japanese Lyrics, composed by Igor Stravinsky in 1912–13, received their Carnegie Hall premiere in Carnegie Recital Hall (now Weill Recital Hall) with Ms. Beardslee, soprano; the pianist Russell Sherman; and a chamber ensemble conducted by Monod. Also evident during Monod's residency in the USA was his extraordinary analytical ability: while attending a Columbia graduate 20th-century music seminar taught by the Varèse disciple Chou Wen-chung, Monod's cogent analysis of Varèse's Ionisation led to him teaching the remainder of the course. Monod's studies at Columbia University during the 1950s would eventually lead by the early 1970s to an Associate Professorship position at Columbia's music department, wherein Monod with the former Schoenberg pupil and specialist in medieval music theory, P. Carpenter, were instrumental in establishing the department's undergraduate and graduate core curricula.
Beginning in the early 1950s, Monod directed American premieres of many works of Anton Webern, assisting Richard Franco Goldman (of Goldman Band notoriety) in directing the first all-Webern concert in the USA, which took place in New York City on May 8, 1951 and included the world premiere of Webern’s Five Canons on Latin Texts. Under the direct influence of Webern's American students (e.g. Mark Brunswick, Roland Leich and George Robert) and several of Webern's disciples who emigrated to America (e.g. Ernst Krenek, Arnold Elston, Frederick Deutsch-Dorian and Stefan Wolpe) and the development of American composers who adopted serial techniques in their music, such as Milton Babbitt and Elliot Carter, followed by older American composers, Roger Sessions and Aaron Copland, including the Russian émigré Igor Stravinsky, who attributed his "discovery" of serial music to analyses of Webern's music (under the influence of Robert Craft); Monod's performances of Webern's music in New York City during the early 1950s were a part of the growing movement in America that ultimately recognized Webern as the "Apostle" of the New Music - concurrent to the Webern movement in Darmstadt. On March 16, 1952, Monod gave the world premieres of Webern's Three Traditional Rhymes, Op. 17, and the Three Songs on Poems of Hildegard Jone, Op. 25, all with his then wife, Ms. Beardslee, with whom for years, they gave critically acclaimed concerts of new music with the Camera Concerts under Monod's directorship. Further, Monod was instrumental in promoting in America the music of the relatively unknown composer, Erich Itor Kahn; and a composer whose music is similar to Monod's is the Webern disciple Leopold Spinner, whose Fünf Lieder for voice and piano, op. 8, was premiered by Monod and Ms. Beardslee on March 15, 1954. Also beginning in 1952, Monod took over the editorial position led by the former Webern pupil Kurt List for the publishing firm Boelke-Bomart, founded by W. Boelke.
Hermann Scherchen (with an introduction by Pierre Boulez) premiered Edgard Varèse’s Déserts in Paris on January 20, 1954; while Monod gave its American premiere at Town Hall in December, 1955 with Varèse controlling the Ampex tape recorder (interestingly, both Charlie Parker and the young Frank Zappa made efforts to study under Varèse during the mid-1950s). In 1956, Monod received an Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for his creative work in music.
Many of Schoenberg's and Webern's disciples had relocated to Great Britain during the 1930s as a result of the rise of National Socialism (e.g. E. Wellesz, E. Stein. W. Goehr, R. Gerhard, T.W. Adorno, K. Rankl, L. Spinner, E. Kraus, E. Spira, et al.) - Webern also visited England twice to conduct at the BBC - their influence upon British music did not take full effect until the 1950s and 1960s. Influential proponents of serialism in Great Britain were the composers Humphrey Searle, L. Spinner, Roberto Gerhard and the presence of Luigi Nono at the Dartington summer courses during the 1960s. Also influential was the British journal, The Score with many articles pertaining to serialism, notable were essays written by the one-time Webern pupil, the pianist and musicologist P. Stadlen. During the height of serialism in Great Britain in the 1960s and under the influence of Sir William Glock and Hans Keller, Monod relocated to London and was appointed conductor of contemporary music for the BBC Third Programme from 1960 to 1966-7, directing dozens of premieres, including works by Roberto Gerhard, Peter Maxwell Davies, Ernst Krenek, Luigi Dallapiccola; and L. Nono, whom he befriended during Monod’s London premiere of Nono’s, Polifonica-Monodica-Ritmica. Further, "during his seven years as the conductor for the BBC Third Program, he [i.e. Monod] presented a live concert broadcast of new music every Tuesday throughout the concert season. Each program was different and was broadcast internationally to a wide listening audience...[Monod] has conducted major orchestras and chamber ensembles in Europe, Scandinavia, and North and Central America." (n.b. quotation is from Equinox Music CD 0101 Liner Notes). Included was Monod's 1962 world premiere of Roberto Gerhard's, Concert for Eight with the Melos Ensemble of London and his 1963 performance/recording of Gerhard's film music for Lindsay Anderson's critically acclaimed, This Sporting Life, a British New Wave film.
Monod also directed contemporary music with notable ensembles in London and Zurich during the 1960s to early 1970s: in 1962, Monod directed and recorded for Epic Records, Elliot Carter's Suite from Pocahontus with the Zurich Radio Symphony Orchestra (n.b. it was in Zurich where Monod befriended the Schoenberg disciple and conductor, Erich Schmid). Further, his interpretation of Seymour Shifrin's Three Pieces for Orchestra with the London Sinfonietta received the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation, Inc. Award in 1970 for best recording. Also notable in Monod's career as a conductor was his superior coaching skills: his performance (1962, recording issued in 1966) of Schoenberg's Serenade, Op. 24 with the Melos Ensemble was the first time the pianist and Schoenberg amanuensis-editor Leonard Stein had encountered Monod's masterly interpretations of Schoenberg's music. Monod's work as a conductor follows the line of distinguished directors of the music of Schoenberg and the new music (e.g. A. Webern, H. Scherchen, H. Swarowsky, H. Rosbaud, R. Leibowitz, W. Goehr, E. Schmid, C. Abbado, M. Gielen, et al.).
N.b. More extensive and further research is required for the 1960s in Great Britain, which represent a creative and productive period for Monod and serialism.
In 1975 he founded, and for 20 years served as president of the Guild of Composers, a New York-based group that produced concerts of "uptown" contemporary music. At the Guild of Composers concerts, which often took place at Columbia University's Miller Theater, performances included the music of Elliott Carter, Arthur Berger, Mario Davidovsky, Seymour Shifrin, Earl Kim, Donald Martino, George Edwards, Robert Helps, David Lewin; and Milton Babbitt, who composed an earlier work, Du, dedicated to Monod and Ms. Beardslee. During 1995-2000, concerts of the Guild of Composers were directed by the Monod protégé, Daniel Plante.
New York City during the 1960s through the 1980s played host to numerous concerts and "happenings" devoted to contemporary music: the development of a "downtown" contemporary music scene during the 1960s and mid-1970s, for instance, may have been a reaction to and/or caused by "uptown" contemporary music promulgated at the Juilliard School in Lincoln Center - which remains to this day a beacon of European-derived, "high-art" music - and primarily at Columbia University by concerts of the Guild of Composers; and earlier, by The Group for Contemporary Music concerts, directed from 1961 to the 1970s by two former Columbia students, Charles Wuorinen and Harvey Sollberger. Columbia's renown music department, characterized by a tendency to promote modern music from its earliest years under the influence of the Paris Conservatoire-educated American composer Edward MacDowell - and which much later had invited composers as diverse as Bartok and Varèse during the 1940s and 1950s - was dominated during much of the 1970s and 1980s by Columbia- and Princeton-educated composers and theorists who shared a strong bias toward the European-derived, historically deterministic theories of Schoenberg - which composers from the downtown music scene opposed, developing instead a multicultural, improvisatory, and pop-influenced music also influenced by the indeterminate music of John Cage, who paradoxically was a former pupil of Schoenberg's, and by the New York School of American experimental music.
Monod was a major proponent in New York City of "non-experimental" serialism, promoting the music of American composers from the so-called Columbia-Princeton "axis" (and to a lesser degree from Harvard) at the Guild of Composers concerts. The music performed for 25 years at the Guild of Composers concerts exemplified the ideological view that contemporary American music remains very much a part of the Western polyphonic tradition. Further, Boulez's provocative work as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center during 1971-77 also contributed to the public's increased awareness of concerts devoted to contemporary music, albeit with a much wider palette of works.
Throughout much of the 1970s and 1980s, Monod also continued to perform the music of Schoenberg in New York City, leading the music critic Allan Kozinn to write an article published in the New York Times (March, 1985) acknowledging Monod as the "Guardian of the Schoenberg Flame." His promotion of Schoenberg include a notable performance in the early 1980s of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire, Op. 21, with commentary by George Perle.
Monod’s music is based upon historical precedents of Webern’s music and represents the French school of post-WWII serialism, combined with subtle lyricism. Among his early works, only the Chamber Aria (or the Passacaglia) from 1952 has been published. His doctoral dissertation, completed with distinction at Columbia in 1975, consists of a detailed exposition on the compositional premise of his seminal work, Cantus Contra Cantum II for Violin and Cello; music which represents a tour de force in rhythmic and serial complexity. A central tenet of Monod's compositional system consists of "prioritized" pitch classes within derived sets or series, that have hierarchical properties and relations for contrapuntal treatment and harmonic development. However, unlike diatonic tonality with major and minor scalar functions - wherein tertial harmony is based upon resolutions of chordal relationships - Monod's harmonic order is combinatorial and uniquely derived from specific hexachords with intervallic relationships to subdivisions of the tritone and the third.
Unlike the music of his compatriots, such as the music of Boulez, which has received international interest and notoriety with frequent performances for its trendsetting agenda, Monod's music is by comparison 'purist' and more accurately described as "modern classicist"; his music has been performed sparingly and has yet to be fully recognized. As in the music of Webern, there are no extraneous musical elements nor is there any degree of fortuitousness in Monod's rigorously composed music, which gives the discerning listener a means to distinguish musical relationships with aesthetically compelling results. The strict formal characteristics of his non-experimental and non-improvisational, highly controlled music requires superior technical abilities on the part of performers. Also noticeable in Monod's music is the apparent avoidance of strictly adhered row permutations, as originally advocated by Schoenberg. And none of the clichéd characteristics of "pointillism" that are prevalent in many representative works of post-WWII serialism is evident in Monod's music. Moreover, the overly-mechanical and superficial aspects exhibited in some earlier works of integral or total serialism are entirely absent and circumvented in Monod's music; which as a result, provides listeners with lyrical attributes. Monod has set many of his works to texts by French poets, such as Eluard, Valéry, Renard and René Char (Michael Steinberg, New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd Ed.).
The title for his extensive cycle of serial compositions, composed during the course of the past forty years, namely "Cantus Contra Cantum", refers to the late-medieval concept of "line against line" as a progression beyond "punctus contra punctum", i.e., creating advanced music that is correlated to the development of modern Western polyphony: "music-synergy", wherein the interaction of two or more parts or voices in each work creates a combined effect that is greater than the sum of their individual effects. However fitting Monod's music appears congruent to his extensive training and erudition: his music is far from being described as purely academic, nor is his music overly-intellectual. Whereas in much avant-garde musics, which often contain a measure of novelty or exaggeration to entice the listener with ephemeral results - Monod's music on the other hand, is subtle but sophisticated, with an artistry that eschews fashionable trends of experimentation by the avant-garde, and remains understated with the singular focus of achieving the sublime - analogous to refined works of the European artists and writer, Giorgio Morandi, Balthus and Giuseppe di Lampedusa. In 1979, the ISCM in New York City performed his Cantus Contra Cantum I for Soprano and Chamber Orchestra, the first of a series of works that realizes Monod's advancement of a polyphonic "langue". More recent performances took place in New York City during February of 1987 and in March of 1989 of his provocative, "Tränen des Vaterlandes - Anno 1636" (Cantus Contra Cantum IV), a four-minute choral work accompanied by "sackbuts", based upon "a gruesome poetic depiction of carnage and devastation by Andreas Gryphius...[the music is] stark but appropriate for the horrors described" (John Rockwell, NYT: 3-30-89); and his two a capella works, Elergies, evoking "the ghost of Anton Webern...music as exquisitely beautiful as any this listener has heard in some time" (Tim Page, music critic, NYT: 2-5-87).
Monod's music is published by Jerona Music Corp.
In addition, Monod has edited numerous works for publication at Mobart Music Publications/Boelke-Bomart, Inc. (now part of Jerona Music Corp.), where he was editor-in-chief for thirty years between 1952-1982. These scores include Charles Ives' Central Park in the Dark, Hallowe'en and The Pond; and Schoenberg's Kol nidre, Op. 39 and the Three Songs, Op. 48; and two works that are arguably among Schoenberg's greatest works from his late period, namely the String Trio, Op. 45, and A Survivor from Warsaw, Op. 46; and Webern's Quintet for Strings and Piano. Monod has also edited works for the Association for the Promotion of New Music (APNM), including Godfrey Winham's Composition for Orchestra and Stephen Peles' Intermezzo for solo piano.
The musicologist and composer Ethan Haimo has compared Monod's editions of Schoenberg's music as the standard by which other [editions] are to be judged ("Editing Schoenberg’s Twelve-tone Music," Journal of the A. Schoenberg Institute, 8/2, 1984, pp. 141-57). In 1983, Monod edited and published at Mobart, "René Leibowitz 1913-1972. A Register of His Works and Writings".
Monod is an uncompromising and demanding pedagogue who seeks a level of technical perfection from his students with a nearly obsessive, methodical attention to detail in the service of musical clarity. He was a professor for over 25 years, at the New England Conservatory of Music, Brandeis University, Harvard University, Princeton University, the Sorbonne, the Juilliard School, the Wellesley College Composers' Conference, and for many years at Columbia University.
During the summer of 1977, when Paris was all the rage for the newly designed Centre Georges Pompidou and IRCAM, Monod returned to Paris under the sponsorship of the Sterling Currier Fund to direct an advanced music composition seminar at Reid Hall. This was attended primarily by Columbia and Harvard students, and included the guest instructors and Schoenberg disciples Max Deutsch, the Oberlin-based composer Richard Hoffmann (a cousin of Schoenberg's), and a Varèse pupil, Marc Wilkinson. During the remainder of the late 1970s, Monod continued to teach at Columbia. In the early 1980s, Monod returned to France and taught theory and analysis at the Sorbonne, several times returning to New York City to conduct performances of modern music. An interesting anecdote occurred when the renown Orchestre National de France (i.e., the French National Orchestra) offered Monod the position as Music Director; however, negotiations broke down when Monod refused to compromise on the programming of their music. Later during the 1990s, he returned to New York City, devoting the remainder of his years as a pedagogue at the Juilliard School, where he taught advanced theory and analysis, composition, and conducting. Over the years, Monod has also given private lessons to talented musicians, including those influenced by mathematics and the computer sciences: many occupy various professional positions in the USA and abroad in the areas of conducting, composition, and theory.
Although Monod's theoretical work and pedagogy primarily at Columbia have focused on the development of Western polyphony from the earliest examples of plainchant to J. S. Bach to Schoenberg, the music of his many former students (and those who were affiliated with Monod through his editorial work) represents a diverse array of genres, cultures, and styles, from contemporary "classical" music to electronic music and beyond. Among them are Bruce Hobson, Robert Pollock, Martin Matalon, Manuel Sosa, Dariush Dolat-shahi, Eve Beglarian, Eugene Lee, Conrad Pope, Thanassis Rikakis, Maurice Wright, Jeffrey Hall, Pablo Ortiz, Eric B. Chernov, Tod Machover, Joel E. Suben, Mark Hagerty, Daniel Plante, David Winkler, Michael Rothkopf, James Walsh, and Harold Bott, Jr.
Monod has also taught conducting to many who have specialized in this profession, including Peter Schubert, Michael Alexander Willens, Gilbert Levine, Markand Thakar, Peter Frewen, Rachel Worby, David Leibowitz, et al.
With his exacting and rigorously prepared performances, and with a demanding pedagogy focused upon central issues in contemporary Western music and theory, Monod has had a galvanizing effect for many years on the American, British, and French contemporary music scenes. Though retired from academia and performing, and a near recluse who has long been uninterested in the vicissitudes of public recognition or in the popular press, Monod still teaches privately and continues to compose and write on music.
There are three phases of development in Monod's oeuvre: first, his initial education in Paris during the 1930s and 1940s, bearing distinctively French influences and characteristics as to his role in the origins of serialism in France (e.g. extensive training at the Paris Conservatoire, including studies under Messiaen and later, private studies under Leibowitz); followed by his relocation abroad during the 1950s and 1960s to NYC and London as a pianist and conductor of the New Music, with the advancement of music by composers of non-French origins, particularly American music (e.g. C. Ives, E. Carter, M. Babbitt and S. Shifrin) and the music of Schoenberg, Webern and the serial movement (e.g. A. Berg, A. Webern, R. Gerhard, E. I. Kahn, L. Spinner, E. Krenek, L. Nono, et al.), including the music of a fellow émigré, Varèse; and thirdly, his own musical legacy as a composer and pedagogue at music schools in the Northeast during the 1970s and 1980s, primarily at Columbia University and at the Guild of Composers concerts with the advancement of a post-Schoenbergian generation of "non-experimental" music by American composers - many who were directly associated with Monod.
Throughout his distinguished career as a conductor, pianist, composer, theorist/editor and pedagogue, there appears to be a deliberate effort by Monod to avoid the transient nature in much of contemporary music, evidently propelled by the post-WWII avant-garde credo of experimentation to create and promote music that tended to over-emphasized 'novelty', often accompanied by media hype. Notwithstanding, Monod's performances of world premieres of works by European and American composers for forty years during the 1950s - 1990s demonstrate his commitment exclusively to promoting and advancing contemporary music. Although Monod was keenly aware of the speculative excessiveness in contemporary music trends during the 1950s - 1980s, he has remained strategically opposed to many of his former colleagues from France for instance, who embraced avant-gardism in Paris and at Darmstadt under the influence of Boulez, et al. Further, the music at Darmstadt can be directly attributed to the legacy of Schoenberg (and more so to Webern) - since many of their disciples taught at Darmstadt; whereas, Monod has promoted the musics of Schoenberg, Webern and many others from a purely musical and more specialized "plateau"; demonstrating instead, a critical perspective with an agenda emphasizing 'pitch-centric' or polyphonic implications in modern music. Ironically, Monod has become an increasingly solitary figure in advancing the cause of contemporary music, based upon the seemingly anachronistic, Western ideological premise of "progress". Nonetheless and unswerving throughout the passage of time, Monod has remained steadfast in his views regarding the significance of Western polyphony and its central role in the grand debate on the future of contemporary music; i.e. whether the new music will emphasize the "emancipation of sound" or the "primacy" of pitch-relations.
It remains to be determined whether the influence of Monod will have long-standing ramifications in the development of contemporary American music in the new millennium. The situation today is pessimistic. The current ebbs and flows of American music for example, seem mired in a mixture of appealing to mass consumer interests as well as to the comparatively few who are aware or interested in the contemporary music promoted by Monod, et al. during the past 50+ years. As more orchestras and ensembles are finding it difficult to economically sustain their contemporary music objectives, the future also appears uncertain as to whether modern music will survive in America as an artistic genre without having the financial resources of an interested public. Another difficult assessment pertains to whether the specific "non-experimental" music promoted by Babbitt, Monod, et al. will have lasting significance in supporting the cause for contemporary music performance practice in America, without sacrificing artistic standards in lieu of artistic compromise, which presumably is the premise of the above-mentioned artists and their work. Monod's own music has yet to be fully assessed in view of the avant-garde and modernist music of his contemporaries, such as the works of Boulez and Babbitt, respectively. Certainly, the complexity of his music as well as our times make the task all the more difficult, given the challenge of what it means to attribute Monod's uncompromising persona and exemplary musical legacy as specifically being that of a "modern classicist". Nonetheless, the "non-experimental" music promoted by Monod in America following Schoenberg's death could be viewed as part of a "post-Schoenbergian" generation of music by modern polyphonists. Further, the various conflicting forces and/or 'differences' in contemporary American music today represent a 'crossroads' for Western music that may be better understood from a dialectical perspective.
If on the other hand, popular music and related popular culture in America continue to grow among the general public, the effects of the economic system would render the appeal toward contemporary "serious" music for limited tastes only, and within more limited budgets and more elite conditions for performance practice, thereby alienating further the general public from acquiring access, and from having any understanding and appreciation for contemporary "serious" music. Their interest and support if any, for serious music-making would be doubtful. The current socio-economic conditions in America for instance, indicate that contemporary "serious" music persists to a limited extent through isolated instances of independent recordings made and issued, and in the few academic institutions that are staffed with qualified instruction, comprised of a diminishing list of uncompromising composers and their few supporters, committed conductors and the few capable performers. There are few indications in American culture today that performances of contemporary "serious" music has had any measurable effect upon improving or educating the public's awareness level.
Other important issues relate to the overriding concerns of Monod's legacy, namely the future of the Western polyphonic tradition in America, since demographic shifts in America with the development of non-Western musical forms influencing the public, have generated a considerable amount of interest and support today for a multi-cultural agenda with multi-cultural perspectives toward creating music, creating new art and in teaching. Notwithstanding, the Western polyphonic tradition constitutes a specific musical repertory and substantial theoretical discourse, that entails hundreds of years of musical development in integrating linear and vertical pitch relationships - the relatively recent advent of non-Western musical influences in 20th century Western music and performance practice with mutually exclusive compositional criteria, will undoubtedly effect Western music's continual development in America - presumably inhibitive. That there are "cross-over" effects and relations in contemporary American music with both Western and non-Western compositional elements are at best a musical compromise, since American composers who have advocated and have applied non-Western compositional criteria in their music have yet to contribute to the underlying tenets of advancing polyphony, as this may not have been their aesthetic intentions nor interests. Thus the apparent dichotomy and position taken that "non-experimental" and "experimental" serial music have little in common - other than their common source of origin (i.e. Schoenberg-Webern) - may be tenable, since the avant-garde music of the experimental serialists have generated a multitude of various styles (e.g. chance, aleatoric, minimalism, free-jazz, etc.), each having little to do with the music that has been promulgated by Monod, et al. in the Western polyphonic tradition. Further, the American experimental tradition in music is more likely to develop into two related but distinct movements of indigenous American musical culture - one containing the more academically influenced repertory with various musical and multi-cultural influences; and the other, consisting of music with an iconoclastic "downtown" aesthetic - each development having less in common musically with their European-derived influences (n.b. it may be interesting to note that Monod's editorial work include one of America's earliest 'experimental' and academically trained composers, namely the music of Charles Ives).
Moreover, to state that the development of Western polyphonic music has been the result of a largely "Euro-centric" activity is inaccurate, since the history of modern Western music during the 20th century for example, has been very much a "multi-cultural" creation, if taking into consideration that creating and promoting Western music has been a widely-practiced activity and international in scope; and is therefore by definition a multi-cultural phenomenon, albeit derived from European sources. To a certain extent, the advanced polyphonic music and legacy of Schoenberg has left an indelible mark in the history of mid- to late 20th century contemporary music in America and abroad, as a result of major promoters, such as the work by Monod, et al. Well-endowed orchestras and ensembles in America will also continue to include the music of Schoenberg and the Second Viennese School in their repertory. However, if the over-arching concern is whether there would be a role and future for 'new' American "serious" music (e.g. music that is polyphonic and European-derived) promoted by the likes of Monod and others, their influence may appear less over time, as this genre of music may be relegated to the larger category of non-correlated musical genres, including non-Western musical forms and practices in contemporary American music; while the influence of a solely Western and more specifically, a European-derived, American "polyphonic" music, appear either gradually assimilated or ultimately ignored for the time being by the forces of American popular culture, the masses and of modern society. Contemporary American music may evolve into its own indigenous 'identity' or it may take generations before a renewal of interest occurs in America for serious contemporary music with European influences.
Whether representative music of modern polyphony persists outside of America in various parts of the Western world today remains to be seen. Though there has been interest during the latter part of the twentieth century in exploring sound with the development of electronic music studios, there are several developments abroad that would indicate a continuing interest in the advancement of modern Western polyphony, particularly in musical activities that are currently taking place in Vienna, primarily under the direction and influence of the Austrian composer and pedagogue, Helmut Neumann and his "Third" Vienna School. However, unlike the music of Schoenberg and the development of twelve-tone music and serialism, the followers of Neumann have taken an almost reactionary departure from the polyphonic ramifications of compositional form and development in the music of Schoenberg and Webern, developing instead, an alternative system of composition from ideas originating in theories of the Austrian composer and compatriot of Schoenberg, Josef Matthias Hauer, although several early members of this movement were directly influenced by the teachings of Schoenberg and Webern, such as the composer Othmar Steinbauer.
Further developments include music from Italy since the 1970s of the so-called, New Venice School, exhibited in works by the composers, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Geoffrey King, Claudio Ambrosini, and Marino Baratello, under the influence of the Venetian composer and pedagogue, Ernesto Rubin de Cervin. Other examples of modern polyphony include music from Great Britain by the British composer, Michael Finnissy and in examples from the New Complexity composers.
Recent interest in the above movements have generated a series of concerts and lectures beginning in 2009.