Jikan wrote:Even if we are limited only to the tradition referred to as "classical," the Serious Tradition of composers and orchestral arrangements, we have significant contributions made by persons who identify as Buddhists or who are influenced by Buddhist practices (or by Buddhists).
Case one: John Cage. Taught at Naropa Institute (his poor reception there in 1974 is documented in the book ). I've not read this book, but I understand it discusses his music in the light of his Zen practice: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1594203407
Case Two: Philip Glass. Practicing Buddhist since 1966. Interesting interview: http://www.tricycle.com/interview/first ... n?page=0,0
I bring this up to point out the obvious, that Richard Wagner is neither the most recent nor the most unproblematic example of a composer who espoused some kind of commitment to Dharma. Surely there are others. For myself, if I had several consecutive hours to set aside for music, I would surely choose Einstein on the Beach or the Qatsi films (I've seen all three) over the Ring cycle.
There are other Buddhist or Buddhist-influenced composers in the modern art music (aka "serious" or "classical") tradition of Cage and Glass, though I can't remember off-hand who they are. Partch may be one. Ron George was definitely one.
As for Wagner vs Glass, I really can't think of anything which could induce me to listen to the whole of the Ring cycle. In fact, someone would have to pay me lots of money to get me to listen to more than five minutes of it. On the other hand, Glass's soundtrack to Kundun is one of my favourite soundtracks (followed by the 'qatsi soundtracks and (non-Buddhist) Tous les matins du monde).